Former Director of Iraqi National Museum to Give Lecture

Posted on September 8th, 2008 by

Dr. Donny George Youkhanna is the former director general of the National Museum in Baghdad.

Dr. Donny George Youkhanna is the former director general of the National Museum in Baghdad.

Dr. Donny George Youkhanna, former director general of the National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq, will present a public lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22. The lecture is free for all attendees and will take place in Alumni Hall, located in the O.J. Johnson Student Union.

Dr. George’s lecture is titled “Looting the Iraq Museums: Loss of Nation’s Memory” and will tell the story about how George and his colleagues worked to preserve their nation’s cultural heritage by attempting to secure thousands of historic Mesopotamian artworks and artifacts during the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although unable to prevent massive looting of the museum, George earned international respect for working toward recovering the stolen art and to halt the rampant looting of Iraq’s 12,500 archaeological sites. After receiving numerous death threats, George was forced to flee Iraq in 2006.

“We feel privileged to bring Dr. George to Gustavus,” said Linnea Wren, professor of art and art history at Gustavus. “His story is a compelling and courageous perspective on the tragedies of war.”

In addition to his duties with the National Museum, Dr. George also served as Chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, and the president of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. He has authored two books and spent time as a visiting professor in the anthropology department at Stony Brook University in New York.

Dr. George’s visit to Gustavus is being sponsored by the Gustavus Lecture Series, the Edgar F. and Ethel Johnson Endowment for the Arts, and the Trunnell Endowment in Art History. If you have any questions regarding this event, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at or 507-933-7520.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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