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Venus Suleiman Akef

The University of Technology (Baghdad
Weinberg Fellow in Architectural History and Preservation

Preservation for peace: the role of cultural and architectural preservation in building positive peace


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). She is the first female winner of the Architect Prize of the Arab World, organized by the Arab League in 2009. She is 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.

She also serves as the Editor of the Preservation Section at the Iraqi Journal of Architectural Engineering and Planning (IQJAP), 2019- present.
In addition, she is currently working as research assistant at the Iraq Hub for the international project led by University of Leeds, United Kingdom: (Re) Contextualizing Contested Heritage: Building Capacity & Designing Participatory Approaches to Preserve Cultural Heritage by the Youth (Iraq- Lebanon- Kosovo), 2020.