Former Iraq Museum Director Donny George Youkhanna to Speak at UH Feb. 14

Veteran archaeologist to discuss museum’s loss and recovery of valued artifacts during Iraq war

Donny George Youkhanna (pronounced yoo-kah-nah) has devoted his career to linking the present with the ancient past. As director of the National Iraq Museum in Baghdad, he was instrumental to the preservation and display of thousands of ancient artifacts. At the onset of the Iraq War, however, Youkhanna's efforts became redirected to recovering many culturally significant pieces stolen during rampant looting.

Youkhanna will recount his experiences in tracing these valuable relics during the lecture "The Looting of the Baghdad Museum, A Nation's Loss of Memory" at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14 in the Conrad Hilton Ballroom of the Hilton University of Houston Hotel.

This event is co-sponsored by the UH School of Art and the Archaeological Institute of America - Houston Society (AIA). Tickets are $20, $10 for AIA members and free for students. For ticket details, call 281-497-7382 or visit

Youkhanna was raised in Iraq's An-Anbar province and attended the University of Baghdad. As an archaeologist, he has worked in historically rich sites such as Babylon and Nineveh. As a result of violence and threats to himself and his family, Youkhanna departed Iraq for the United States. He now serves as a visiting professor of archaeology at State University of New York - Stony Brook.

"Donny George Youkhanna has become an important spokesperson on the subject of the restitution of cultural property, an issue that directly affects museums and collectors in this and other countries," said Sarah Kielt Costello, UH instructional assistant professor of art history. "As the art history program at UH prepares many students for vital careers in the museum world, we are thrilled for the opportunity to learn from his experience."

WHAT: Donny George Youkhanna:
"The Looting of the Baghdad Museum, A Nation's Loss of Memory"
WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14
WHERE: University of Houston
Hilton University of Houston Hotel
Conrad N. Hilton Ballroom
Entrance 1 off of Calhoun Road
WHO: UH School of Art, Archaeological Institute of America - Houston Society