Blog Archives

 

Broadcast from November 2010, Al-Qadisiyaah

Broadcast from Marshes Local Media Channel, Thi Qar

IMG Member interviewing Local Iraqi Official

Head of the Thi Qar IMG

Official being interviewed by IF’s IMG in Thi Qar

Screenshot from IF’s training materials, highlighting how inaction can lead to corruption.

During the month of August, IF Staff worked hard to promote transparency and accountability in Iraq. As part of the Provincial Accountability and Transparency Project (PAG), IF formed 15 Integrity Monitoring Groups (IMGs) to promote a dialogue on transparency, identify areas that need improvement, and work with local officials to implement an agreed upon Agenda for Change. To facilitate the IMGs’ work, IF arranged meetings in each of the 15 province to discuss difficulties encountered, work updates, and coordinate with local provincial councils. In addition, the IMGs conducted visits to their local provincial council to discuss the draft Agenda for Change in their provinces. Each IMG also conducted a local radio talk show with provincial council officials. During these programs, IMGs described the steps that need to be taken to fight corruption in their local province.

In addition to this exciting work, IF PAG staff in Baghdad met with new U.S. Embassy anti-corruption officials on August 9th. The next day, IF staff in Baghdad participated in a U.S. Embassy strategy meeting to discuss Iraqis anti-corruption policy.

On October 9, 2012, IF hosted a screening of the film, “Interfaith Dialogue in Mesopotamia,” at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. The screening was held in cooperation with the Global Politics and Religion Initiative and the Middle East Studies Program of SAIS.

Dr. Leila Austin, Co-Director, Global Politics and Religion Initiative, SAIS provided opening comments and welcomed attendees to SAIS. Rend Al-Rahim, Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation provided an introduction of the Iraq Foundation (IF), the film and welcomed Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Mr. Posner discussed the importance of freedom of religion and religious diversity in Iraq and in the Middle East region. His Excellency,Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie commented on the history of religious coexistence in Iraq.

The screening aimed to capture Iraq’s thriving belief cultures and foster understanding among a U.S.-based audience of Iraq’s long history as a country where religious diversity has flourished. To achieve this goal, the event showcased a film, produced in cooperation with AlSumaria, based on documentaries produced by the participants of the Interfaith Cooperation Project (ICP), which aims to deepen public knowledge and promote dialogue about Iraq’s diverse religious heritage and to enhance religious freedom, interfaith cooperation, trust and mutual respect among faith communities. As part of this project, IF sponsored a nationwide documentary film competition and selected teams of young Iraqi men and women from different religious backgrounds and provinces who came together to produce 15 documentaries on significant historic religious sites across Iraq. The 5 best documentaries were edited and broadcast on national television. Documentaries cover historic shrines of all religions and a special emphasis on religious sites that are ‘shared’ by many different faiths and religious sites in close proximity, demonstrating how different faiths can live and worship side by side. Project participants held 63 discussion-based screenings of the documentaries in 15 provinces, reaching an audience of over 8,000 people. Documentaries were broadcasted on five national Iraqi TV stations. It is estimated that one in four Iraqis has seen at least one of the documentaries.

Selected photos of event:

Dr. Leila Austin, Co-Director of SAIS’ Global Politics and Religion Initiative, welcomed audience to SAIS.

Rend Al-Rahim, Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation, provided introductory comments.

Assistant Secretary of State, Michael Posner, discussed religious diversity in Iraq and the region.

His Excellency, Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, Former Ambassador of Iraq to the United States discussed the film’s themes.

The screening aimed to capture Iraq’s thriving belief cultures and foster understanding of Iraq’s long history as a country where religious diversity has flourished.

In July 2012, IF implemented 7 documentary screenings of ICP-teams.  After each screening of these documentaries, an overview about the Iraq Foundation and its projects was presented. Descriptions of each screening can be found below.

Baghdad Team-3 presented 4 of these screenings to showcase their documentary, “Atter Al-Sama’a (Fragrance of the Sky)”. A total of 310 audiences attended the 4 screenings, and 201 of them answered the questionnaires.  Audience members included: university professors, students, engineers, journalists, artists, and civil society activists.  These screenings took place in Baghdad Province at the following locations: Authors Union’s Hall, the Hall of Assyrian National Movement, Al-Bayt Al Thakafi (The Culture House), and at the Hall of the Socialist Party.  These screenings were implemented on July 13, 18, and 28.

On July 7, Kirkuk Team implemented the 4th screening of their documentary, “Hatharatun Tarwyha Judran Samiytah (A civilization narrated by silent walls)”.  About 100 audience members attended, including college students, film-directors, theater experts, members from the Journalists Union, members of the Cultural House, actors, media persons, and community members. The screening was held at Nawrouz Hall in Kirkuk Province. 39 audience members answered the screening questionnaire.  A discussion on the film followed the screening.

On July 18, Baghdad Team-1 implemented a 5th screening of “Hamamaton Hatat Huna (A pigeon landed here)”. 150 audiences attended the screening, including: Mr. Liwa’a Samisem (The Tourism Minister), Mr. Kais Hussein Rasheed (Head of the Archeological Committee), employees, journalists, Contracts-Supervisor of IRD, authors, students, and civil society activists.
All audience members expressed their admiration for the documentary.  They expressed their appreciation towards the Iraq Foundation and the documentaries, which aim to reject sectarianism and spread peaceful coexistence among religions in Iraq. In an expression of gratitude, Mr. Rasheed (the Head of the Archeological Committeepresented a word of praise and thanks to the Iraq Foundation and to Ms. Rend Al-Rahim (The Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation).  As an expression of his gratitude, Mr. Rasheed presented a gift to Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, which is a plaque showing the famous Malwiya Minaret of Samara in addition to four books issued by The Archeological and Heritage Committee.  The Tourism Minister also presented a gift to the coordinator of Baghdad Team 1.

On July, 18, the Salah Al-Deen Team implemented a 4th screening of their documentary, “Afya’a Wtan (In the Country’s Shadow)”.  This screening was held in The Sports and Youth Directory in Salah Al-Deen Province, and was attended by more than 130 audience members, which included members from Salah Al-Deen Province, media experts, writers, and students.  130 audience members answered the screening questionnaire. Q&A Session followed the screening.  The screening was also well-covered by the media, specifically Al-Rasheed Satellite Channel and Salah Al-Deen Satellite Channel.

Selected Photos:

Baghdad Team-3 pictures of screenings:

Kirkuk Team-screenings:

Baghdad 1 Team-screenings:

Salah Al-Deen Team-screenings:

UPDATED APPLICATION DEADLINE: May 25, 2011!

IF is now accepting applications for youth to participate in the newly awarded Interfaith Cooperation Project (ICP) documentary film contest!  Interested youths group teams between the ages of 18 – 25 from throughout Iraq are encouraged to submit video proposals that highlight religious and locations with religious or spiritual significance for more than one faith in their local communities.  IF will select 15 winning teams based on the quality of the proposals submitted by mixed religious and ethnic youth groups comprised of 4 – 5 members.  Winning teams will have the chance to produce their documentaries, screen them throughout Iraq, and the top five entries will be produced and broadcast on Iraqi television!

Announcement

ICP Application Form

ICP Recommendation Form

Contact:

majeed@iraqfoundation.org

hr_if@yahoo.com

07705310640

07805945321

07805945321

Timeline: The History of Iraq

“A Tour of Iraq’s Ancient Sites”

Iraq’s past spans the breadth of history, giving rise to a unique  culture and multiplicity of beliefs.  From ancient Mesopotamia, Iraq is has been a major contributor to world civilization.  It is the starting point of countless prophets, including Abraham, revered by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. From writing, accounting, science, art, culture and myriad religious influences and belief systems, Iraq is not merely the patrimony of one l nation but that of much of the modern world.

Today, Iraq’s religious differences, ethnic tension, and sectarian violence seem to overpower our popular conscience when trying to understand Iraq’s diversity.  Iraq has been an ethnically diverse country for millennia, with Kurds, Assyrians, and Turkmen representing the three largest non-Arab minorities in the country. It is also the home of many religions: while Islam is the religion of the majority, Christianity, Judaism, Mandeanism, found an even earlier home in Iraq.   Each group has a unique heritage and connection to Iraq.  There’s a multitude of religious sites across Iraq that attest to Iraq’s diversity and significance as a center of religious and ethnic diversity.

Iraq is naturally of great importance to the Muslim world and is home to many significant religious sites, such as r the Al ‘Askari and the Al-‘Abbas Mosques in Samarra and the Gailani Mosque in Baghdad. But from its extreme north to its extreme south, every region of Iraq harbors historical sites revered by other religions: Christians, jews, Yezidis, and others. Nenawa province abound in early Christian churches, and a Christian church dating to the 5th century CE has been found near the Shi’a ciry of Kerbala. Some religious are venerated by more than one religious group. For example, Al-Kufl in the province of Babil is both a Jewish and a Muslim historic site. The tomb of the prophet Younes (Jonas) in Mosul is visited by Christians, Muslims, and Jews faiths.  Many of Iraq’s minority faiths can also trace their origins to locations in Iraq. The holiest Yazidi shrine, for example, is that of Sheikh Adi, located at the necropolis of Lalish outside of Mosul.
Sadly, these groups have not enjoyed equal status with the majority Muslim population in recent years. Fanaticism and violence in the name of Islam has often been the causes of oppression of religious minorities in Iraq. Although the Iraqi constitution ensures religious freedom and bans discrimination based on religion, religious minorities have been deprived of their civic and religious rights by extremists.   The Yazidi Bombing on August 14, 2007, for example, was the most deadly car bombing attack in Iraq, killing 796 and wounding 1,562 people, according to the Red Crescent.

To highlight the diverse religious heritage that lives on in modern Iraq and build understanding between Iraq’s diverse religious and ethnic communities, the Iraq Foundation proposes an innovative project to capture Iraq’s thriving belief systems and foster understanding of Iraq’s long history as a religiously diverse community.  The Iraq Foundation will commission video documentaries that highlight religious sites in Iraq.  These documentaries will be created by groups of religiously and ethnically diverse students and youth, telling the story of Iraq’s significance to religious heritage and the many faiths and sects that call Iraq home.

 

The“Women Leaders in an Era of Change” conference was held by IF in collaboration with Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS) at the Marriot Hotel in Amman/ Jordan from May 30 to June 1, 2013. The conference how Iraqi and other women parliamentarians in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) can take advantage of opportunities given the regional changes resulting from the Arab Awakening. This conference, organized by the Iraq Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was the second to pair Iraqi women parliamentarians (IWPs) with women members of parliament (MPs)from the region, following the “Women’s Political Participation” conference in June 2012.

These reports were shared on December 31, 2013 with all Iraqi and regional women MP participants in the 1st and 2nd Regional Meetings.

On December 31, IF shared by email, the “Women In The Council Of Representatives Lessons Learned and Case Studies Report” with all Iraqi, Regional Women MPs participants in the Incoming Women Parliamentarians Program (IWPs) of the PEDP and with participants in the 1st and 2nd Regional Meetings for Women MPs from the MENA Region.  The report serves as a best practices and case study report.

Resource CD

IF produced the first report assessing the Iraqi government’s transparency and accountability as well as its ability to safeguard the full spectrum of civil and political liberties. A diverse group of Iraqi experts and activists pooled their talents to undertake a first-of-its-kind assessment to examine several key spheres of governance. The locally-based group of civic leaders representing the fields of law, human rights, press freedom, women’s rights, and other areas of civic life, identified three fundamental areas to assess: political parties, parliament and press freedom. Through interviews with other experts and policy makers, analysis of current law and the degree of their implementation, and other first-hand inquiry, they undertook an extensive research process to produce the report. Iraq Foundation and Freedom House provided mentoring in research and writing as well as full editorial review of all reports

Democratization in Iraq Report 1

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WEL Reforms