Dr Hassan Al-Alak paid a fact-finding visit exploring the possibilities of a training partnership in forensic science

THE Iraqi government is determined to bolster its judicial system with expertise in forensic science and one of its most prominent representatives in Britain has paid a fact-finding to the University of Huddersfield to explore the possibilities of a training partnership.

Dr Hassan Al-Alak is the Iraqi Cultural Attaché in the UK and on his visit to Huddersfield he was welcomed by the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Andrew Ball.

He was taken on a tour of the School of Applied Sciences by its Associate Dean, Dr Paul Elliott, and the International Director of the School of Computing and Engineering, Julie Wilkinson, introduced him to its facilities and Iraqi scientists based at Huddersfield.

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Dr Hassan Al-Alak with students Dr Hassan Al-Alak (front centre) with the University’s International Student Experience Manager Alan Tobi (front left), President of Iraqi Student Society Samar Mubarak and students

Although Iraq is advanced in many fields of science, forensics are a major gap.  They are a significant area of study and research at the University of Huddersfield, and Dr Al-Alak met Senior Lecturer Dr Anna Williams, a leading forensic anthropologist, and editor-in-chief of the new text book Forensic Science Education and Training.

Dr Al-Alak also met a group of some 15 Iraqis currently conducting postgraduate study at the University of Huddersfield, many of them specialising in engineering.

The Cultural Attaché is a chemist by training, and he reminisced on an earlier visit to Huddersfield, in the early 1980s, when he carried out research work at the town’s giant ICI plant.

Biology and chemistry are among the vital building blocks for forensics, and a possibility to be explored is that Iraqis qualified in those subjects could study forensic science at Huddersfield and then return to establish a training programme in their home country.

One of the students who met Dr Al-Alak on his visit to the University was Samar Mubarak, President of its Iraqi Student Society.  “It was a great opportunity,” he said.

The meeting began with the Iraqi National Anthem, which made all the students proud to be representing their country, said Samar, and then a special presentation showed Dr Al-Alak the activities of the Iraqi Society.  There was more pride when the Cultural Attaché expressed his admiration, followed by discussions on how he could provide support for future activities.