On 12 February 2013 a ceremony was held in the Burlington House, home of the Geological Society in London, to commemorate Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi who was kidnapped, tortured and brutally killed by terrorists in August 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq.
Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi was Vice-President of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) from 1996-2002. In addition, he was the President of the Geological Society of Iraq and the Secretary-General of the Arab Geological Association (AGA) since 1993. Dr Al-Hashimi was an engineering geologist by profession with significant experience in underground construction. So that others could learn from his expertise, he was invited to contribute to the First International Conference on Sustainable Development and Management of the Subsurface, held in Utrecht, The Netherlands in 2003. His written contribution about the underground city of Al-Najaf in Iraq was presented in a recently published book: Sustainable Development and Management of the shallow Subsurface. This book was dedicated to Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi and to his legacy for the global geoscientific community.
At the ceremony, first copies of the book were presented to his widow Mrs. Muatabar Hasan and to his daughters Farah and Balsam Wissam-Al-Hashimi, who attended the ceremony in person together with other family members and friends, the President of the Geological Society of London, David Shilston, the President of the International Union of Geological Sciences represented by Dr Eduardo de Mulder, the authors of the book, the cultural attaché of the Iraqi Embassy in the UK and the Editor of Geoscientist magazine, Ted Nield.
Through a family member another first copy of the book was presented to Wissam’s daughter Mrs Tara Wissam Al-Hashimi, who was unable to attend.
Words of welcome were expressed by David Shilston, President of the Geological Society of London, and some highlights of the book were presented by co-author Dr Robert Hack. Based on his personal observations the significance of Dr. Al-Hashimi for the global geoscience community was expressed by Dr Eduardo de Mulder, co-author of the book and former President of the IUGS, whose term partly overlapped with that of Dr Al-Hashimi as Vice-President of this organisation. At the end of the ceremony some words of thanks were given on behalf of the Al-Hashimi by Mrs Muatabar Hasan.
The ceremony was recorded for broadcast on Iraqi National TV. The event was organised by the Geological Society of London, IUGS, the Earth Matters Foundation and by the authors of the book.