US State Department announces $670,000 donation for Erbil Citadel
ERBIL (Kurdistan Region) – Jennifer Gavito, Deputy Assistant Secretary of US State Department, announced on Thursday the donation of $300,000 to fund the creation of a Children’s Interpretation Center in the Erbil Citadel and another $370,000 for the historical sites’ preservation.
"On behalf of the United States, I'm proud to announce a new donation of $300,000 to fund the creation of the Children's Interpretation Center," Gavito said. "The Children's Interpretation Center will educate young visitors about the citadel's traditional way of life."
"We also just found out a short time ago that an additional $370,000 in funding was approved for the conservation and restoration of the historical Hamam," she added.
Gavito described the citadel as a "central landmark for the city of Erbil that will revitalize tourism” for the Kurdistan Region capital.
The $300,000 in funding brings the total contribution the US has provided for the restoration of the citadel to $1.5 million.
"The United States is proud to fund $11 million dollars to preserve and restore cultural heritage sites in Erbil, Sulaimani, Dohuk, Babylon, and Mosul," Gavito said.
"We are also proud to support the efforts of the Sulaimani Museum, Syriac heritage museum, and the Kurdish heritage institute," she added. "These efforts will digitize and preserve cultural artifacts and train archeologists in excavation."
These efforts, she said, are part of the United States' commitment "to preserving the unique and diverse cultural heritage of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and Iraq."
"We deeply respect your rich culture and want it to be enjoyed by all for generations to come," she added.
Gavito has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and Iraq since August 2021. She spent the majority of her Foreign Service career working in and on the Middle East.
"This is my first time in Erbil, and it is my honor to be at Erbil Citadel today, to visit this amazing 6,000-year-old archeological treasure," she said.
Gavito made these remarks at a press conference held with Omed Khoshnaw, Erbil's governor, at the top of the citadel. They also posed for a photo with a giant cheque for $670,000.