March 8, 2005
The Near East Section of the African and Middle East Division, Library
of Congress, and the Iraq Memory Foundation co-sponsored a symposium:"The
New Iraq - Memory and National Identity". The keynote speaker
was the Mayor of Baghdad: the Honorable `Ala' al-Tamimi.
The symposium focused on the importance and the preservation of millions
of documents from the Baathist archives of Iraq, uncovered after the
war in 2003. Kanan Makiya, the Iraqi born President of the Iraq Memory
Foundation who is in charge of preserving these documents in Baghdad,
discussed the role and significance of memory. The Mayor of Baghdad talked
about the importance in the life of Iraqis of the "The Museum of
Remembrance" that will house those documents, while Dianne van der
Reyden, the LC Director for Preservation, made a presentation on different
threats to those documents and ways to preserve them for future generations.
Other speakers included Deanna Marcum, who made the opening remarks,
Roger Owen, the Director of the Middle East Center, Harvard University,
Peter Sluglett, Professor of History, University of Utah, Falih Jabar,
Director of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Hassan
Mneimneh, Director of the Documentation Project of the Iraq Memory Foundation,
and Carole Basri, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania. Mary-Jane
Deeb, the Head of the Near East Section, moderated the symposium panels.