Creativity flourishes as Mosul’s Fine Arts College officially opens

The newly-rehabilitated College of Fine Arts at Mosul University has been officially opened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Iraq.

The College, rehabilitated by UNDP with financial support from the United States Government through USAID, offers third-level art courses ranging from music, theatre, painting, and sculpture, and will benefit 600 students from across Iraq.

The renovation work included plastering and repainting the classroom walls, repairing doors and windows, replacing the roof and restoring electrical systems.

During ISIL’s occupation of Mosul between 2014 and 2017, the College suffered extensive damage and subsequently closed. Artworks were destroyed and strewn across the campus, as art-making was believed to contradict Islamic State ideology.

“Mosul once sat at the epicentre of Iraq’s cultural identity, so the reopening of this college is a significant milestone for local communities,” says Head of UNDP Stabilization, Dr Mohammedsiddig Mudawi.

“Art as a form of expression has allowed people of Mosul – many of them students who have been born into years of conflict – heal from the atrocities faced under ISIL.  It’s wonderful to see a rejuvenation of this artistic talent here at the College,” adds Dr. Mudawi.

Joey Hood, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission in Iraq, says: “Through the United Nations Development Program Funding Facility for Stabilization, the United States is rehabilitating 14 buildings here at Mosul University, including the College of Fine Arts, where1 I am proud to see that students are once again in class.”

The ceremony included a theatrical performance by art students as well as an art exhibition in the College’s refurbished courtyard.

The College rehabilitation project is also supported by the Government of Canada, which funded the rehabilitation of water pump station on campus. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has funded the supply of furniture and equipment for the College.

(Source: UNDP)

Iraq Britain Business Council completes productive trade mission to Baghdad

IBBC recently completed a productive mission to Baghdad, meeting with high-level government officials and British authorities in Iraq. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq led the delegation alongside Mr Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC, Mr Christophe Michels, Managing Director of IBBC and Mr Vikas Handa, IBBC representative in the GCC.

IBBC was joined by numerous member representatives, including from Al Bilal Group, Al Burhan Group, Al-Nukhba OFS, ARCHS, Constellis, Dar Group, EY, Gulftainer, G4S, Khudairi Group, International Islamic Bank, Kuwait Energy, Management Partners, Menzies Aviation, Mosul University, National Bank of Iraq, Ratba’a Contracting, Serco, Shell, Standard Chartered Bank and Turnkey LLC.

The delegation visited soon after the election of President Dr Barham Salih, who took time out of his busy schedule to meet Baroness Nicholson and the IBBC leadership who were joined by HMA Jon Wilks. Dr Salih has been a close friend of the IBBC for many years and recently spoke at the IBBC Cumberland Lodge Conference in July.

On Sunday 7 October the delegation held meetings with the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, Mr Ali Mohsen Ismael Al Alaq, H.E. Mr Adbuallah Luabea the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Fayadh Neema, Senior Deputy Minister of Oil and Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission. The delegation were hosted by the Iraqi Federation of Chambers of Commerce in the evening for dinner.

On Monday the delegation met with Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Dr Hameed Ahmed Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Dr Sabah Mushatat, Economic & Investment Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr Mudher Mohammed Saleh, Finance Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq and with Ján Kubiš Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.  In the evening Ambassador Jon Wilks hosted a reception for the delegation and Iraqi dignitaries at his residency.

Before leaving Iraq, Christophe Michels visited Serco, who are working with the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority at Baghdad International Airport. Serco supports the Iraqi authorities in managing the entire spectrum of air traffic control in Iraq including the increasing number of international overflights.

(Source: IBBC)

Iraq Britain Business Council and Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research sign Memorandum of Understanding

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research at the IBBC Cumberland Lodge Retreat on 7 July.

The memorandum was signed by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and H.E. Dr Abdul Razzaq Al-Issa, Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The singing was supported and witnessed by Ambassador Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s A mbassador to the Republic of Iraq and Dr Nahi Al-Rikabi, the Iraqi Cultural Attaché to London.

The memorandum details the commitment of both parties to work together in a constructive and progressive way to further enhance links between Iraqi and UK institutions of higher education.

The partnership is a further boost to the IBBC’s efforts to support initiatives between UK universities and Iraqi institutions of higher education.

IBBC has three British Universities within the council; Bath Spa University, University of Northampton and University of Leicester, who are all active within Iraq and aiming to increase their activities in the country. Mosul University has also recently joined the Council as IBBC continue to expand its Education & Heritage Sector Table.

(Source: IBBC)

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Visiting Mosul University, a Symbol of Hope for a City in Ruins

Iraq’s second largest university was under the control of anti-education extremists for three years. Recently reopened, both students and teachers see the possibilities for a better Iraq on campus.

Just a few short months ago, the students and teachers at what had been one of Iraq’s largest universities, who were lucky enough to be able to, were sharing a strange picture: It showed a donkey roaming the deserted campus that was once a serious centre of learning.

The picture was a metaphor: For months, the extremist group known as the Islamic State, or IS, had been using the university buildings for their own ends. The group, which had controlled the city since the middle of 2014, were moving from hall to classroom stealthily during fighting for the city and had used other buildings for administration previously.

They had started grazing donkeys and other livestock in the university grounds and the picture of the strolling donkey was a symbol of how the extremists had shut down the university and were trying to reinvent local culture and religion according to their own fantastical rules.

Things have changed a lot since then. Just three months after the fighting ended on the eastern side of Mosul, life started to return to Mosul university, which boasts facilities such as teaching hospitals, science centres, museums and over 20 different schools of learning. By June, the institution’s gates were wide open for students again.

Although the signs of war are still visible on both the buildings and the faces of the students, that has not stopped an estimated 35,000 students from starting class. The university formerly taught around 40,000 students.

One student, Omar Habib, brings his wife to university every morning. The couple have to work hard to get there: They must wait in the queues to cross one of the temporary floating bridges set on the Tigris river, which runs through the city, to cross over to the east. All five of the bridges in Mosul were destroyed during fighting.

By the end of the second quarter of 2017, the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) expanded its work with over 1,000 projects underway that support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to stabilize 23 newly liberated areas.

This report outlines the progress made from 1 April to 30 June 2017 by FFS in the governorates of Ninewah, Salah al-Din, Anbar, Diyala and Kirkuk.

The quarterly report focuses on Mosul, where significant progress was made in upscaling activities in the biggest stabilization effort to date. Almost 300 projects are underway in the city, including rehabilitating critical water and health infrastructure, delivering and installing key electrical supplies, supporting the revival of Mosul University, and providing work opportunities to thousands of residents.

A special feature of this report focuses on women’s participation in stabilization, where important gains have been made throughout FFS project areas. The report also updates the Government of Iraq and the 23 FFS donors on ongoing progress in liberated areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, and Kirkuk. Continued support to these areas ensures that stabilization gains are maintained and returnees feel they can remain in their homes.

The work of FFS has helped create the conditions for the return of almost 2 million Iraqis to their homes. At present, over 3 million Iraqis are internally displaced and the continuance of FFS activities remains an essential component to stabilization in Iraq.

Highlights

  • Over 1,000 stabilization projects are underway across newly liberated areas of Iraq
  • FFS is implementing almost 300 projects in Mosul
  • Thousands of residents of Mosul are working to revive their city through cash-for-work projects
  • Rehabilitation of critical water infrastructure serving hundreds of thousands of people in Mosul is underway
  • More than 40 projects are underway to support Mosul’s health sector
  • FFS is supporting the revival of Mosul University
  • FFS is supporting vulnerable minority communities
  • FFS is scaling up successful housing and cash-grant programmes in Anbar

Click here to download the full 76-page report.

(Source: UNDP)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi forces retook Mosul’s university from the Islamic State jihadist group, the latest key advance in efforts to recapture the eastern side of the city, officers said.