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Former director of Baghdad museum to speak

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009, 5:30 p.m. · 101 McCormick

Donny George Youkhanna, the former director general of the National Museum in Baghdad, will speak about looting of the museum following the U.S. invasion of Iraq at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, in 101 McCormick.

George, who also served as chairman of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, will present an illustrated talk about the looting of the Baghdad museum and efforts to recover the stolen artifacts. The lecture is part of a monthly series sponsored by the University Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and the Princeton Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. A reception will follow the talk.

As American troops entered Baghdad on April 10, 2003, thieves emptied the National Museum of artifacts, some of which dated back before recorded history. George and his colleagues led efforts to recover almost half of the stolen 15,000 Mesopotamian artworks and artifacts that date back to as much as 6,000 years. A significant number of artifacts are still missing.

George's recovery efforts brought death threats to him and his family from people who did not want the artifacts recovered. George and his family eventually fled Iraq, and he now teaches at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

For more information contact Alan Stahl, curator of numistmatics in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, at astahl@princeton.edu.

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