Venus Suleiman Akef

The University of Technology (Baghdad, Iraq)

Weinberg Fellow in Architectural History and Preservation

Preserving cultural and architectural heritage in Iraq for positive peace

2021-2022: Spring

Dr. Venus Suleiman Akef is an award-winning architect and scholar. She received her PhD in Architecture in 2019 and graduated with a Certificate in Historic Preservation in 2018, both from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her BSc and MSc in Architecture from the University of Technology in Baghdad, Iraq, where she currently works as an academic and faculty member.

Dr. Akef is the first Iraqi architect and scholar to speak at the General Assembly of the United Nations, introducing the concept of her PhD dissertation, Architecture for Positive Peace: The Role of Architecture in the Process of rebuilding Peace within conflict and postwar contexts. She is the first female winner of the Architect Prize of the Arab World, organized by the Arab League in 2009. She has been on the list of creative academics and scholars by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq since 2010. She is the first female winner of Tamayouz, the Excellence Award in Architecture, for the Rising Star Category of Women in Architecture and Construction, 2014. She is also the winner of the Many Languages One World (MLOW) international competition, organized by ELS Educational Services, Inc., and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), 2016. In 2020, She worked as the research assistant at the Iraq Hub for the international project led by the University of Leeds, United Kingdom: (Re) Contextualizing Contested Heritage: Building Capacity & Designing Participatory Approaches to Preserve Cultural Heritage by the Youth (United Kingdom, Iraq- Lebanon- Kosovo), 2020. She also serves as the Editor of the Preservation Section at the Iraqi Journal of Architectural Engineering and Planning (IQJAP), 2019- present.

Her research is currently focused on the role of architecture in postwar contexts, architecture as a platform for rebuilding a sustainable peace, preservation as a sustainable development strategy, cultural and architectural conservation, and building the discourse of the local architecture in the modern history of Iraq since 1900 (architecture and the sociopolitical transformations in Iraq since 1900).