The extensive journey of the ICCROM-UNESCO Capacity Building for Holistic, Sustainable, and Resilient Recovery of Mosul recently concluded after nearly three years of preparation and conducting various capacity-building activities in Mosul. This unique programme emerged under UNESCO’s broader initiative, "Revive the Spirit of Mosul," forming a successful partnership involving national and international entities, including ICCROM, UNESCO, the Iraqi Government and the University of Mosul. The programme was funded by the United Arab Emirates; and the European Union. This collaboration underscores the significance of collective efforts in recovering heritage in post-conflict zones.

“The training component has always been at the core of the UNESCO project in Mosul since its very beginning. Therefore, when we initiated discussions with ICCROM, we decided to seize this programme as an opportunity to innovate, approaching training in a different way.”

Maria Rita Acetoso, UNESCO Senior Project Manager 

Throughout this journey, the efforts of national and international resource persons, the programme team and other stakeholders resulted in numerous achievements. These efforts empowered the young people of Mosul to engage in recovering their city’s heritage, which was severely impacted by a devastating conflict, fostering hope for a brighter future. Additionally, the programme successfully advocated for the cause of heritage recovery and its broader role in peacebuilding and socio-economic recovery in post-conflict settings.

“The perception we've had about the importance of our heritage has increased, both as citizens and engineers.”

Mohammed Alaa-alden, Participant 

The programme achieved its objective of enhancing the skills of local heritage professionals and from Mosul through two distinct tracks. Track 1, focusing on professional development, was executed in two cycles, resulting in 25 graduates from the first cycle and 23 from the second. In total, 48 young   professionals graduated from the professional development track, acquiring comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge encompassing situation analysis, value assessment, documentation, damage and risk assessment, recovery planning and implementation. Mosul’s heritage served as a case study for these capacity-building activities. Track 2 concentrated on crafts revival and upgrading, specifically targeting four building crafts in Mosul: stone, alabaster, carpentry and blacksmithing workshops. This track produced 69 graduates across these four workshops after a detailed needs assessment study was conducted by ICCROM in Mosul.

“ICCROM’s Heritage Recovery programme is unique as it's the first time architects and engineers are being trained in post-conflict heritage recovery, particularly in the area affected by the conflict. This becomes a live learning environment where all the necessary tools and skills for risk assessment, recovery planning, and implementation are taught.” 

Rohit Jigyasu, ICCROM Project Manager

The programme significantly impacted its graduates by transforming their perspective on heritage and its role in society, fostering entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit and leading to the establishment of new businesses and startups inspired by the programme's experience. Notably, the establishment of an NGO, "Iraq Heritage Foundation," aims to leverage cultural heritage for sustainable development, crisis prevention and post-crisis recovery. 

The programme experiences have sparked a dialogue regarding the necessity of heritage recovery, especially in post-conflict contexts, both in Mosul and internationally. These experiences were shared during the Post-conflict recovery summer school, where 25 international participants discussed heritage recovery in post-conflict context with Mosul as a case study.

The video below compiles several testimonies about the programme from resource people, graduates, the programme team and UNESCO partners.