08.11.2012 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

UNESCO and the First Lady of Iraq sign an Agreement to create the “Encyclopedia of Sulaymaniyah”

UNESCO Iraq Director Mohamed Djelid and First Lady of Iraq Hero Ibrahim Ahmed during the ceremony in Sulaymaniyah © UNESCO Iraq 2012

UNESCO and the First Lady of Iraq signed an agreement to start work on creating an encyclopedia for the Sulaymaniyah region. One of the most distinguishable northern provinces of Iraq, Sulaymaniyah reflects the historical and cultural aspects of the Kurdish civilization.

During an official ceremony that took place on 7 November 2012, The Director of UNESCO Iraq, Mohamed Djelid, met with the First Lady of Iraq H.E. Hero Ibrahim Ahmed to finalize the agreement. Taking place at the historical building of the Saraya, the ceremony featured Kurdish folklore dancing and several cultural activities.

Representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government, local officials and the Governor of the city of Sulaymaniyah, Behroz Mohammed Salih, in addition to more than 300 residents of the town and surrounding villages.

Speaking on this occasion, the First Lady thanked UNESCO for its participation in this project, praising the organization's dedication to promote cultural diversity and contribute in building peace by raising awareness on the different cultures of Iraq.

During his speech, Mohamed Djelid, praised the First Lady of Iraq for her continuous support for UNESCO in the area of the preservation of cultural heritage. He also alluded to the projects dimensions and its importance in relation to other UNESCO initiatives, particularly the Modernization of the Sulaymaniyah Museum project. Djelid stated that “through capitalizing on the achievements of UNESCO’s previous and current initiatives in the Kurdistan region and Iraq as a whole, this pilot project contributes to the protection of the cultural heritage in Kurdistan, now and in the future”, adding that “as a result of concentrated efforts, school students and the youth in Kurdistan will be offered the chance to understand thoroughly their past and entitle them to build the best possible future.”

Financed by the First Lady of Iraq, The Encyclopedia of Sulaymaniyah will extend for three years. Information about the Sulaymaniyah region will be collected from Kurdish and Arabic sources in Iraq, in addition to several references from abroad. A committee of local and international experts will take on the task of sifting through the information, organizing it and publishing the information in Kurdish.

In order to expand the availability of the encyclopedia to people from all around the world, 1000 copies will be printed and the use of different media and information sources, such as Wikipedia, will be utilized. This project will build the capacity of Kurdish writers, editors, historians and researchers to complete the encyclopedia and develop their skills in ensuring continuity for the future, in the hope that the Encyclopedia of Sulaymaniyah will be updated to include other regions in Iraq.

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