ISAW donates hundreds of books to the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

By David Ratzan

Last week the ISAW Library shipped 19 boxes of duplicate and out-of-scope books to the American University in Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). The one-time capital of the 18th- and 19th-century Kurdish Baban principality, Sulaimani (or Sulaymaniyah) lies just west of the Kurdish cities of Erbil and Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

The AUIS is a non-profit institution for public benefit founded in 2007 to provide a student-centered American-style education that embodies the philosophy, standards, and teaching practices of the American higher education model. In 2007 it opened its doors to 45 students and today over 1,400 are enrolled. The main academic focus at AUIS is on the sort of professional training its students will need to help Iraq rebuild, e.g., Business Administration, Journalism, Engineering, Information Technology, etc. Yet AUIS and its students have also demonstrated a strong interest in the cultural heritage of Iraq, including its ancient cultures, and antiquity more widely, with offerings in ancient history, religion, philosophy, politics, and archaeology. It also supports modern archaeological research in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region whose recorded history stretches back to 2,300 BCE and which later played an important role in the Assyrian, Neo-Assyrian, Achaemenid, and Sasanian empires.

The AUIS library was established in 2009, and its present growth is due primarily to donated material. According to AUIS Library Director Gilbert Lopez:

We rarely have the opportunity to make selections, nor do we receive many books on the ancient world, and, in particular, the Ancient Near East. ISAW provided AUIS with a list of books from which the faculty and I made selections, and the social sciences faculty are particularly excited to see such a large number of books on ancient studies added to the library shelves. With the coming donation, the Ancient Near East collection will grow tremendously and provide students with an opportunity for further study, enhancing our ability to provide them with visual representations of ancient sites. Indeed, the social sciences curriculum will be well supported by the incoming books. AUIS extends its thanks and gratitude to ISAW for this generous gift.

The ISAW library has accumulated a large number of duplicate and out-of-scope books during the last seven years of active collection building, usually by acquiring or receiving as a gift whole libraries. In light of ISAW's academic mission to support the study of the ancient world, the Library has committed itself to placing as many such volumes as possible at institutions where they are likely to have a profound and lasting scholarly or pedagogical impact. In doing so, we make a special effort to place books with institutions like the AUIS, which teach future generations to interpret, value, and preserve their ancient cultural heritage. ISAW is therefore especially pleased to have been able to make this donation to the students and faculty of the American University in Iraq in Sulaimani.