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Arts and Minds: Healing Post-Conflict Trauma in Iraq

Arts and Minds: Healing Post-Conflict Trauma in Iraq

George Richards, Director Community Jameel and a representative of the WHO, 6 July 2022

From our series Culture, Conflict and Recovery in Asia

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A growing body of evidence suggests that engagement of the arts and culture can be effective in improving healthcare outcomes in a wide range of settings: from end-of-life care to psychiatric wards and prisons, to tackling trauma among refugees and in post-conflict contexts. How can we strengthen the evidence-base to build a compelling argument for integrating the arts and culture in healthcare planning? And what are the specific opportunities and challenges to use these tools post-conflict?

George Richards is the Director of Community Jameel, an independent, global organisation advancing science to help communities thrive in a rapidly changing world. Prior to becoming Director in 2020, George led strategy for the organisation from 2015, and was head of heritage programmes at Art Jameel, the arts and culture organisation, with responsibility for initiatives in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and beyond, sustaining traditional cultural practices, supporting architectural preservation, and digitally recording heritage.

An Arabist specialising in the archaeoastronomy of pre-Islamic Arabia, George has undertaken field expeditions to document cultural heritage on behalf of the British Library and the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, and has served as the special rapporteur for cultural heritage to the Kurdistan Regional Government; a specialist assessor to the British government’s Cultural Protection Fund; and a senior fellow at the Iraqi government’s cultural heritage commission, Iraq Heritage.

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