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Invitation to Join "Renewal Resources" Tour to Iraqi Kurdistan
November 18 - December 9, 2004
Departing from Houston and Washington, DC

If you are interested in the role technology can play in community cultural development in Iraq, you are invited to join "Renewal Resources for Iraq," a unique humanitarian tour through Northern Iraq, scheduled for November 18 through December 9, 2004, organized by the Iraq Association (www.IraqAssociation.org) and hosted by local Iraqi government and community leaders. The tour brings together partners from both the medical community and the cultural community who have discovered ways to share technology resources to create innovative social programs. ABC-TV will be joining the tour to produce a documentary special.

The cost of sponsorship is $10,000 - $25,000 per person accepted for the tour. Corporate members of the Iraq reconstruction community are encouraged to apply.

John Simmons, Chairman of the Baghdad Museum Project, which hosts the Iraq Museum International site, will serve as Chief Technology Officer for the Iraq Association tour and for a continuing medical humanities initiative to combine community-based medical assistance with cultural preservation programs.

Central to the project is the belief that restoring the human condition in Iraq goes hand-in-hand with reactivating Iraq's cultural heritage, and this can only be accomplished by (a) understanding how a repressive regime and continuing civil strife can incapacitate a people over successive generations, (b) engaging the people of Iraq as the lead stakeholders at every level of rehabilitation and reconstruction, and (c) providing technologies to more Iraqis in order to accelerate a national healing process.

Dr. Joseph Agris, whose recent treatment of a group of Iraqi victims has been frequently referenced by President Bush (see Wall Street Journal article), will serve as Lead Surgeon on this tour, and will bring a team of surgeons and other healthcare professionals to perform free surgery on as many needy persons as possible throughout the stay. They will also interact with local physicians and medical students to demonstrate vital surgical procedures and establish lines of communication with medical experts around the world.

In addition, Mr. Simmons and his technology team will be introducing and testing a high performance healthcare information system that can be extended to conduct community surveys, manage environmental data and cultural resources, and support forensic archaeology programs in Northern Iraq.

By simultaneously addressing issues concerning Iraq's healthcare sector and its cultural infrastructure, the initiative hopes to broaden the perspectives of leaders in both areas, share technology resources, and expand the need for technology support provided by the emerging IT and Internet community in Iraq. At this time, only Northern Iraq offers the relative security necessary to attempt a mission with such far-reaching goals.

Specific technologies to be introduced in connection with the tour include:

  1. The Access Grid -- an interactive video teleconferencing system bringing together researchers from over 200 centers around the world, including major medical colleges as well as universities with Middle Eastern studies programs -- all linked through a broadband network.

  2. Groove Networks -- an instant intranet system from the creator of Lotus Notes, that can be used on any personal computer with an Internet connection, permitting individuals to form workgroups, and groups to coordinate their efforts.

  3. VistA -- a comprehensive integrated healthcare information system that can be extended to include support for community development programs. The system software has been made available at no charge for this effort by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Resources and Services Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Indian Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, the Spark M. Matsunaga Medical Center, the Tripler Army Medical Center, and technology companies including WorldVistA, Sanchez Computer Associates, and ESI Technology Corporation.

  4. HAVEN -- a transportation system, currently in development, that can be used as a mobile clinic or for cultural resource management. The HAVEN fleet can be managed through VistA.

  5. 3D Modeling and Human Animation -- for visualizing healthcare settings and medical procedures, as well as archaeological sites and human interaction in public and private spaces.

  6. GIS -- online mapping tools provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with high-resolution imagery and sample archaeological data.

Nominations are being accepted for experts in Forensic Archaeology to support studies of the long-term effects of the Anfal Campaign in Northern Iraq.

Interested parties can obtain more information about sponsoring and/or joining the tour by contacting John Simmons (JohnSimmons@BaghdadMuseum.org).

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