Diane Siebrandt— 2010 Outstanding Public Service Award
Since 2006, Diane Siebrandt has served as the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to that, she served as a forensic archaeologist for the Department of Justice’s Iraq Mass Grave Project. In all her work, Siebrandt has succeeded in bringing together Iraqi and American civilians, academics, military personnel, and government officials in the effort to preserve Iraq’s archaeological resources for future generations.
Siebrandt has spearheaded a wide range of initiatives in Iraq. She worked to bring American museums and the U.S. National Park Service into partnership with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage to establish a conservation center that will provide training to Iraqi museum professionals. She has helped procure State Department funding for the World Monuments Fund to develop a sustainable management plan for the site of ancient Babylon. At the Assyrian imperial capital of Ashur, she directly participated in the efforts of the U.S. military and Iraqi archaeologists to document ongoing threats to this important site. She has escorted many American and other foreign archaeologists on surveys to document the looting of Iraqi sites and to highlight the efforts of local archaeologists and private citizens to protect the resources of their own country. And she has made introductions that allow university researchers to assist the U.S. military in reducing damage to Iraq’s many thousands of small but nonetheless invaluable ancient settlements. Hers is a diplomacy of personal contact that has achieved remarkable and very visible results.
In recognition of her tireless efforts to preserve the archaeology of Iraq, the Archaeological Institute of America honors Diane Siebrandt with its 2010 Outstanding Public Service Award.