Empowering Tomorrow -Bridging Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development

7 February

Baghdad’s Global Summit: Uncovering a Harmony of Ideas and Unity

In the heart of the Middle East, where the Tigris River whispers ancient tales, Baghdad emerged as a sign of intellectual brilliance in October 2023.

The International Intellectual Property Rights Conference, hosted by the Iraqi Cultural Ministry under the theme "The National Strategy for Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development in Al-Amarah," transformed the city into a vibrant hub, drawing participants from twenty-two countries.

A Gathering of Minds: Iraqi Visionaries at the Helm

This unique global assembly was orchestrated by the Iraqi Minister of Culture — Prof. Ahmed Fakak Al-Badrani — in concert with the distinguished Conference President — Prof. Alaa Abo Al-Hassan Al-Alaak, who serve as the Director General of the Department of Cultural Relations.

The success of the event owes much to the dedicated organizers, including the Chairman and Members of the Conference Committee: Faik Al-Aboudi, Lubna Yaseen, and Hind Ismail Khaleel. Their efforts were instrumental in seamlessly weaving together researchers from diverse corners of the world – from the towering skyscrapers of America to the serene landscapes of Canada, the bustling streets of Singapore, the historical wonders of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine, the captivating corners of Europe, and the vibrant landscapes of Africa.

This collaboration was far from an ordinary gathering; it stood as a true melting pot of distinct minds representing various artistic and scholarly disciplines, evolving into a harmonious blend of diverse perspectives.

The grand opening at the Al-Rashid Theater was a captivating introduction, setting the stage for an intellectual vision. Aref Al-Saadi, Cultural Advisor in the Iraqi Government, stood among the distinguished leaders and luminaries who graced the occasion.

Adding to the cultural richness of the event, Iraqi-Canadian filmmaker and producer Saaib Ghazi captivated the audience with his remarkable documentary, "Our Beloved". Through the lens of his craft, Ghazi skillfully transported attendees into a visual journey that deepened the collective connection to Baghdad’s cultural narrative.

Another remarkable performance, the national folkloric troupe, Tru Alaa Majeed, played a pivotal role in creating an atmosphere charged with celebration and cultural vibrancy. Their performance contributed significantly to the overall ambiance, transforming the event into not just an intellectual assembly but also a vibrant celebration of creativity and cultural diversity.

The overarching mission of this gathering was crystal clear — it sought to put forth ideas that would form the very essence of encouraging and supporting creative thoughts.

In doing so, it intended to rise above bureaucratic boundaries, serving as a catalyst for innovative thinking in the realms of intellectual property and sustainable development.

Intellectual Exploration Unveiled: The Conference Highlights

Each day unfolded as a rich intellectual exploration at the distinguished Al-Mansour Hotel, where scholars presented research on diverse topics.

This gathering aimed to be a platform for exchanging ideas, knowledge, and innovative insights, fostering a global environment where creativity thrives.

Guiding Stars: A Roadmap for the Future

The conference yielded seven guiding stars, representing a roadmap for developing and defending creative thoughts globally.

These stars advocate for centralized guardianship, illuminating minds through education, safeguarding cultural heritage, global harmony in laws, expertise enhancement, digital fortifications, and viewing intellectual property as valuable assets.

Guiding Stars Illuminating the Path:
1. Centralized Guardianship: Advocating for delegating the responsibility for intellectual property and sustainable development to a single institution, aiming to streamline efforts and ensure a more cohesive strategy for protecting creative ideas.

2. Illuminating Minds: Focusing on spreading awareness about intellectual property through education, creating a beacon of knowledge accessible to everyone.

3. Custodians of Heritage: Emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the treasures of cultural heritage and historical artifacts, acknowledging the significance of preserving diverse cultural expressions and historical legacies.

4. Global Harmony Laws: Advocating for updating and standardizing intellectual property laws globally to create a level playing field for creators worldwide, ensuring fairness and consistency in legal frameworks.

5. Expertise at the Helm: Highlighting the importance of equipping judges and intellectual property experts with enhanced skills in the rapidly evolving digital era, considered essential for effective protection.

6. Digital Fortifications: Encouraging the use of advanced technology to shield digital creations, recognizing the challenges posed by the digital landscape, and aiming to fortify intellectual property in the digital realm.

7. Investing in Ideas: Encouraging the world to view intellectual property not merely as ideas but as valuable assets worthy of investment, promoting the economic value of intellectual property.

Unity as a Catalyst: A Diplomatic Overture

The conference emphasized collaboration among people from different countries to ensure everyone has a fair chance to share their creative ideas. Participants championed unity as a catalyst for positive change, envisioning a global environment where innovation thrives on mutual understanding and respect.
Furthermore, the conference host proposed the idea of making this gathering an annual event. The proposal aims to ensure that the conference remains a dynamic platform, staying updated on the latest developments in both local and international sustainable development.

This commitment to an annual gathering reflects the ongoing dedication to advancing collaboration, sharing insights, and collectively contributing to the progress of intellectual property and sustainable development on a global scale.

Exploring Baghdad: Diary of a Journey Filled with Joy, Flavor, and Culture

Our voyage through Baghdad was more than a gathering of minds; it unfolded as a delightful tale of happiness and discovery.

Imagine this – each evening, as we hopped on buses, the vibrant streets of Baghdad magically transformed into a moving celebration on wheels – Yes, you read that right!

Music filled the air, passengers sang along, clapped hands, and some couldn’t resist the rhythm, breaking into spontaneous dance moves. Yes! On a bus!
This unexpected musical journey added an extra layer of joy to our exploration, turning bus rides into delightful experiences filled with shared moments of music and high spirits.

First Evening: Al-Beiruti Café and Tahrir Square

Our adventure began along the peaceful banks of the Tigris River at the welcoming Al-Beiruti Café. Beyond an ordinary café, it unfolded as a storyteller, sharing Baghdad’s rich heritage through each sip of delightful drinks and the cozy atmosphere. Al-Beiruti served as the gateway that introduced the city’s history.
Continuing through the bustling heart of Baghdad, Tahrir Square emerged as a living, breathing stage of the city’s history. More than just a public space, it pulsated with captivating stories, turning our every step into a stroll through the archives of time. Every corner seemed to tell tales of resilience, revolutions, and the spirit of liberation.

As the night hit its peak, we stopped at Sway Restaurant, a culinary haven with not just incredible cuisine but also a panoramic view of Baghdad.

Second Evening: One Thousand and One Nights and River Tour

The second evening unfolded at 1001 Nights Park, a magical land that brought us into the legendary tales of One Thousand and One Nights. Within this captivating park, a unique blend of restaurants and shops emerged, each seated within the grounds of one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces. Every step we took seemed to unravel a new chapter with the park’s design and elements reflecting the richness of the classic tales.

The magic continued with a river tour, offering another mesmerizing perspective on Baghdad’s rich history. Cruising along the river, the city unveiled its stories, and the gentle flow seemed to carry whispers of time, once again echoing tales of ancient civilizations.

Our adventure persisted at Rest 1001 Nights — a place exceeding the label of a mere restaurant. It became a sensory journey, captivating us with an exquisite blend of flavors, music, and the warmth of newfound friendships. The ambiance resonated with joy as we indulged in culinary delights mirroring the richness of Baghdad’s cultural heritage.

Third Evening: Cultural Treasures

Our third adventure began midday with a delightful lunch buffet at the esteemed Al Mansour Hotel, setting the stage for a culinary journey that teased our taste buds, leaving us eager for the cultural treasures ahead.

Although the initial plan to visit the Iraqi National Museum faced a setback as it was closed on a Saturday, fate, however, had a surprise for us — a private tour with the museum director. This unexpected turn transformed potential disappointment into an extraordinary adventure. The museum, a repository of ancient wonders, became our private gallery, unraveling chapters of civilizations and the enduring spirit of the Iraqi people.

The journey through time then resumed at the Qishla Building, an ancient structure silently echoing stories of triumphs and struggles, and continued at Mutanabbi Street, aptly named the street of books. The street unfolded as a literary paradise, a sanctuary for book enthusiasts; each bookshop became a portal to diverse realms of storytelling, where knowledge and imagination effortlessly intertwined. Navigating this literary haven felt like unlocking the mysteries of the written words.

As the evening unfolded, we found ourselves in the inviting setting of the Syrian Restaurant Beit Halab on Yarmouk Street. More than a dining spot, it was a culinary journey. The restaurant was not just about food; it captured the warmth of Iraqi hospitality, providing not only a delightful taste of local culture but also a feast for our senses.

The restaurant’s atmosphere was brightened by beautiful music that gracefully filled the air, adding an extra layer of delight to the overall dining experience. This harmonious blend of exquisite flavors, warm hospitality, and musical accompaniment created a memorable evening that went beyond the ordinary, becoming a celebration of Baghdad’s unique charm.

Culminating in Culinary Bliss: The Grand Finale

As the curtains drew close on the enlightening conference, the grand finale unfolded, leaving participants with a lasting imprint of Baghdad’s rich culture and flavors. Following the conclusion of the research presentations, Prof. Ahmed Al-Fakak Al-Badrani — Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq — took center stage to share his reflections on the conference.
With eloquent words, he expressed gratitude to all the participants, infusing the moment with warmth and appreciation. As a gesture of thanks, exquisite gifts were bestowed upon the attendees, creating a sense of camaraderie and appreciation for the collective efforts.

The festivities continued once again with a delightful lunch buffet at the charming Al-Mansour Hotel. Amidst the welcoming atmosphere, participants enjoyed a diverse selection of culinary delights, adding a flavorful touch to the post-conference celebrations. The hotel, known for its hospitality, provided the perfect setting for participants to unwind and relax.

When the evening was upon us, the grand finale reached its zenith at the Iraqi Hunting Club, where the spotlight was on the local delicacy, Masgouf fish. This seafood extravaganza symbolized the culmination of our culinary journey through Baghdad, showcasing the city’s rich culinary heritage. The unique flavors and preparation of Masgouf fish became a savory memory, etching itself into the taste buds of all those present. The ambiance and the shared moments captured the essence of Baghdad’s unique charm.

The grand finale was not just an end to the conference; it was a celebration of the rich experiences that Baghdad had unfolded for its guests creating a lasting impression.

Gratitude: A Heartfelt Thank You to Baghdad

Our journey was not just a series of events; it was a joyous adventure, a tale of laughter, discovery, and the incredible flavors that make Baghdad unique. Each moment was like a chapter in a storybook, leaving us with delightful memories etched in our hearts. Baghdad, with its rich history, warm hospitality, and gastronomic wonders became more than a destination – it became a cherished story waiting to be shared.

Expressing gratitude to Baghdad and the Ministry of Culture is not a mere formality but a sincere acknowledgment. Baghdad’s rich history and vibrant culture, combined with the Ministry’s meticulous planning, left a lifelong mark on our hearts.
This genuine thank you extends to the people of Baghdad for their kindness, making our visit transformative and memorable.

In essence, Baghdad’s global gathering and our journey beyond conference halls became a mosaic of ideas, unity, and joy.

A modern-day tale of unity, creativity, and shared visions unfolded against the ancient charm of Baghdad, echoing across the pages of international diplomacy.
Here’s to Baghdad – a city that knows how to blend intellectual discourse with the joyous dance of flavors and culture!

By Marianne Rothmann
Cultural Communicator