By John Lee.
The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI) and the Friends of Basrah Museum (FOBM) have announced that they are to merge.
This follows the successful culmination of a decade-long project, championed by FOBM, to open a new museum in Basra to celebrate and conserve the heritage of southern Iraq.
Under the terms of the merger, overall management of activities previously undertaken by FOBM will transfer to BISI, which will also assume responsibility for FOBM's remaining funds. BISI will form a new sub-committee to build on FOBM's achievements to date and which will support the staff of the museum, offer assistance and advice and act as ambassadors for the museum outside Iraq.
FOBM Chairman Dr John Curtis and Trustee Sir Terence Clark are respectively President and Patron of BISI already and FOBM Trustees Hugo Clarke and Clare Bebbington will serve on the new sub-committee, along with BISI Council members, including BISI Vice Chair, Joan Porter MacIver.
'The new museum in Basrah is an extraordinary achievement and testimony to the leadership and endorsement of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the energy and expertise of the Museum team in Basra and the dedication and determination of the Trustees and project leaders of the Friends of Basrah Museum,' said BISI Chair of Council Dr Paul Collins. 'We believe this merger is the best way of ensuring continuing support for what is universally acknowledged as a flagship project.'
FOBM Chairman Dr John Curtis says: 'It is widely recognised that to have created a new museum of international quality in Iraq in the ten tumultuous years since 2010 has been a remarkable achievement. 'We're very proud of what Friends of Basrah Museum has accomplished and it is the right time to merge with an organisation which shares our objectives and commitment to protecting the heritage of Iraq.'