By Maarja Seire
This summer I visited the 63rd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI). This conference is closely connected to the work of the International Association for Assyriology (IAA) and is organised by a host institution, which this year was the Philipps-Universität Marburg. In fact, RAI takes place at different institutions every year. In the majority of cases, it is held at one of the European universities, but RAIs have also taken place in North America, Asia, and Africa.
RAI typically lasts five days, this summer from July 24–28. The topic for this RAI was “Dealing with Antiquity: Past, Present & Future”. It attracted about 450 participants — a record number, demonstrating the necessity of such an event and the debate about the ancient Near East. But what exactly happens during a Rencontre?