In tribute

Baghdad commemorates late Iraqi scholar Basim Hammoudi

BAGHDAD — The Al-Mada Foundation for Culture and Arts held a tribute event Friday to honor the late Basim Abdul Hamid Hammoudi, a revered writer and scholar of heritage.

The gathering drew Iraqi intellectuals who celebrated Hammoudi’s extensive contributions to journalism and literature, particularly his lifelong dedication to studying Iraqi folk heritage.

Researcher Rifaat Abdul Razzaq, who moderated the session, shared insights into Hammoudi’s life. Hammoudi passed away at age 87 on May 10 in Baghdad.

Born in 1937 in Baghdad, Hammoudi was a pivotal figure in Iraq’s literary circles and an influential journalist throughout the 20th century. He started his publishing career in 1954 and graduated from the College of Education’s history department in 1960.

Over his illustrious career, Hammoudi served as editor-in-chief of Folk Heritage magazine, issued by the General Directorate of Cultural Affairs, and held leading editorial roles at Aqlaam and Foreign Culture. He was also secretary of Al-Ruwad Magazine and head of the publishing department at the General Directorate of Cultural Affairs. Additionally, Hammoudi was elected Secretary-General of the Arab Writers’ Folk Heritage Association.

His literary legacy includes numerous books on folk literature such as “The Popular Biography and Arab Subject,” “Customary Law Among Arabs: A Glossary of Terms,” and “Customs and Traditions of Iraqi Popular Life.”

Ali Hassan Al-Fawaz, a literary critic, told 964media, “Basim Abdul Hamid Hammoudi’s dedication to folk heritage marked a significant turning point in his life and in Iraqi intellectual circles.”

“He brought a creative flair to every role he filled, becoming a dependable figure we often relied upon,” Al-Fawaz added.

Zaid Al-Hilli, a journalist and writer, also spoke with 964media, noting, “Hammoudi’s works will continue to serve as crucial references for future generations, enriching cultural knowledge and correcting misconceptions.”

Sadiq Al-Zamli, editor-in-chief of Popular Heritage Magazine, reflected on Hammoudi’s advisory role and his tenure as editor. “The concept of folk heritage formally began in Iraq in 1963 with the founding of a magazine by the same name. Hammoudi took the helm as editor-in-chief in 1985, a position he held until 2003.”

Hammoudi’s work earned him several accolades, including the Creativity in Literary Criticism Award from Iraq and the Folk Heritage Medal from Lebanon. He was also honored by Mansoura University in Egypt and served as a judge for the Jordan State Award in folk heritage in 1990.

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