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Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our cooperation activities are guided by a partnership agreement on cultural, scientific and technical cooperation and development, signed during the state visit of President Talabani in November 2009. The new partnership supersedes two cooperation agreements dating from 1969.

Support for the rule of law
France is the leading contributor to the European Union’s integrated rule of law mission for Iraq - EUJUST LEX Iraq - and has already hosted more than 300 Iraqi civil servants (police officers, magistrates and prison staff) at its specialised schools. France has also developed active and growing cooperation in internal security, parliamentary cooperation and institutional cooperation, in particular with the Iraqi State Council and Supreme Court.

University, scientific and technical cooperation
In higher education, France supports developing shared-cost scholarship programmes with the Federal Ministry of Higher Education and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Ministry of Higher Education. More than 150 scholarship holders of the Iraqi federal government and Iraqi Kurdistan regional government are currently studying in France.

At the same time, France continues to provide support for inter-university partnerships in priority disciplines (including mathematics, information technology, medicine and law) and encourages the signing of agreements, mainly to provide a legal framework for the scholarship programmes. Delegations from the main Iraqi universities were invited to France in 2010 to break their isolation and attempt to restore or develop ties between Iraqi and French institutions. Although the country has a general need to train its elites, our cooperation focuses on management, law and engineering.

This is also true of research, where we support projects related to the country’s most urgent needs, with a special emphasis on the social sciences and archaeology, especially through the activities of a branch of the French Institute of the Middle East in Arbil, which opened in October 2010.

Cultural and linguistic cooperation
Unlike other countries’ cultural centres, the French Cultural Centre in Baghdad did not close in recent years. The centre’s main activities are language classes (at the centre and outside) and the multimedia library. However, with the improvement in the security situation, the cultural centre in Baghdad has started to expand activities open to the public (exhibitions, talks, etc.) and to develop an external cultural programme in partnership with Iraqi institutions.

Another French cultural centre opened in Arbil in autumn 2009. The new centre, a branch of the centre in Baghdad, runs both language and cultural activities (such as a music festival and screenings of French films).

French, an optional subject for the baccalaureate, is taught as a second foreign language after English at around 100 public secondary schools, 40 of them in Baghdad. Approximately 300 teachers teach French to more than 28,000 secondary students. French is also taught at some private primary schools, and at the French departments of the Universities of Baghdad, Mustansiriya and Mosul. In the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, French is taught at five secondary schools run by the regional government in Arbil (five teachers and 1,240 students) and at one private school in Dohuk (four teachers and 300 students). Arbil and Koya Universities have opened French departments. Two French schools run by the French lay mission opened in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2009.

Humanitarian aid
The French NGO La chaîne de l’espoir, with funding from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, is running a project with Ibn al-Bitar hospital in Baghdad, specialised in heart surgery, to set up a paediatric heart surgery wing. La Chaîne de l’Espoir also transfers Iraqi children with heart defects to France for surgery and organises three- to six-month training courses for surgeons and nurses at teaching hospitals in France.

Updated on : 09.02.11

Archaeology

Drawing on the expertise of the Commission consultative des recherches archéologiques à l’étranger (Consultative Commission on Archaeological Research Abroad), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGCID) is subsidizing nearly 160 archaeological missions (from palaeontology to the medieval period) in 65 countries. Among others:

-  Sinjar: A fortified site in southern Cappadocia from the bronze age to the early Roman empire

Updated on 10.15.08

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