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Slain Iraqi’s Role

A senior Iraqi education official who was assassinated this month had been instrumental in crafting his country’s new civics education curriculum and had helped forge education ties abroad.

Kamal Al-Jarrah, 63, was slain by an unidentified gunman at 7:30 a.m. June 13 as he left his home in Baghdad for work. He was gunned down the day after Bassam Salih Kubba, Iraq’s deputy foreign minister, was shot and killed.

Mr. Al-Jarrah was one of 10 directors general of the Iraqi Ministry of Education. He became the head of cultural affairs last fall following the defeat of Saddam Hussein.

After new interim-government leaders were named this month, Mr. Al-Jarrah had continued in his position.

Pamela Riley, the senior consultant to the Ministry of Education for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, said in an e-mail message from Baghdad last week that Mr. Al-Jarrah had been responsible for the ministry’s public affairs and had been its liaison to Iraqi and international organizations.

In the past school year, Mr. Al-Jarrah had helped establish teacher and student exchanges between Iraq and the United States and Britain.

Ms. Riley said that just before Mr. Al-Jarrah was slain, he had returned to Iraq from a monthlong tour of the Middle East in which he renewed ties between Iraq and other countries. He had attended several regional conferences, including one sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.

The civics curriculum that Mr. Al-Jarrah helped devise is expected to be introduced in Iraq’s schools this coming fall, Ms. Riley said, along with interim curricula for history and religion.

The new civics curriculum will replace the "national education" classes in which Iraqi schoolchildren previously learned about Arab culture and the ideology of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party. Such classes were discontinued after the provisional authority took control of the country last spring.

Mr. Al-Jarrah had studied English literature at the University of Baghdad and loved English romantic poets, according to Ms. Riley. He was married, and his son and daughter attend the University of Baghdad, from which his son was expected to graduate this month.

Mary Ann Zehr

Vol. 23, Issue 41, Page 12

Published in Print: June 23, 2004, as International

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