The city of Mosul, meaning “the linking point" in Arabic, is one of the oldest cities in the world. For millennia, it has been a strategic crossing and a bridge between north and south, east and west. Due to its strategic location, it became home to a large number of people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and religious beliefs. However, this unique location also made it a target for ISIL/Daesh. In 2014, the the Islamic State took the city and declared it its capital. Three devastating years (2014-2017) of occupation passed before the shackles of violent extremism could be broken.
During those three years, various battles took place, leaving Mosul in ruins, its heritage sites reduced to rubble, religious monuments and cultural antiquities damaged, and thousands of its inhabitants displaced, leaving them scarred and with immense humanitarian needs.
In February 2018, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, launched the flagship initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” as the Organization’s response for the recovery of one of Iraq’s iconic cities. Reviving Mosul is not only about reconstructing heritage sites, it is about empowering the population as agents of change involved in the process of rebuilding their city through culture and education. It is with a strong message of hope and resistance to Iraq and to the world, a message that an inclusive, cohesive and equitable society is the future that Iraqis deserve, that the “Revive the spirit of Mosul” Flagship Initiative was born.
Reconstruction will succeed and Iraq will regain its influence only if the human dimension is given priority; education and culture are the key elements. They are forces of unity and reconciliation. It is through education and culture that Iraqis, men and women alike, will be able to regain control of their destiny and become actors in the renewal of their country.
3 main strategic areas of action
Contributing to community reconciliation and peace building through the recovery of the living environment and rehabilitation of the city’s heritage sites. The most emblematic project being the reconstruction of the famous Al-Nouri Mosque and its minaret, Al-Hadba. View more
Strengthening the educational system and ensuring quality education for all. Through rebuilding damaged schools, assuring gender equality in access to education and developing curricula and educational capacity in order to tackle the socio-psychological impacts of the devastation on young people.View more
Revitalizing Mosul's cultural and intellectual life by rehabilitating libraries with the conservation of ancient manuscripts and reopening museums and other spaces of expression, creation and dialogue. UNESCO is actively fundraising to revive the city’s cultural institutions attacked by the extremists. View more
Donors contributed over $100M to reconstruct Mosul
UNESCO has vowed to restore the city’s heartbeat, diversity and history, while directing its educational programs towards combat extremism.