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On July 16, the Iraq Foundation held the 9th Peer Network Meeting (PNM) for the Incoming Women Parliamentarians (IWPs) in Al Rasheed Hotel-Baghdad.  The meeting was headed by Ms. Rend Al-Rahim, Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation, and 5 of IF Staff. 22 Iraqi Women MPs attended the meeting.

The IWPs-9th PNM discussed the details and goals of the proposed Cross-Regional Network that was recommended for establishment during the Regional Meeting for Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region in June 9 to 11.

The participants discussed 4 following topics:

1- Goals of establishing the Cross-Regional Network for Women in the MENA Region

2- The Organizational Structure of the Cross-Regional Network

3- Membership in the Network

4- The sustainability mechanism of the Network

Selected photos:





On June 9-11, 2012, IF held the Regional Meeting of Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region in Amman, Jordan in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS) and supported by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The conference aimed to expand Parliamentarians’ horizons, exchange successful methods for overcoming challenges, and facilitate communications among Parliamentarians.

The regional meeting explored how Iraqi and regional women parliamentarians in the Middle East can increase their effectiveness through networking, building alliances, and improving women’s leadership. The goal of the conference was to pair Iraqi women parliamentarians (IWPs) with experienced members of parliament (MPs) from the region and throughout the world. Participants from throughout the region discussed methods for strengthening women’s political participation by sharing their personal and professional experiences, knowledge, political achievements, and best practices.  At the end of the conference, participants agreed upon a 15-point set of recommendations on the topics discussed above and on future needs of women MPs, including the establishment of a cross-regional network.

A total of 36 participants attended the meeting including Iraqi and regional Parliamentarians, international experts, IF Staff, and WWICS Staff.

Selected photos:


June 9, 2012: Ms. Rend Al-Rahim (Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation) talking in the Regional Meeting of the Regional Meeting of Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region.

June 9, 2012: Ms. Maha Al-Nuaimi (UN Women Representative) talking in the Regional Meeting for Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region

June 9, 2012: Ms. Meg Munn, British member of Parliament and international expert, discussing how women can be active parliamentarians – Regional Meeting for Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region.

June 10, 2012: Presentation by the International Experts (Ms. Begona Lasagabaster, and Ms. Frances Guy) – Regional Meeting for Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region.

June 10, 2012: Regional Meeting for Women Parliamentarians from the MENA Region.

June 10, 2012:  Discussions in session 2 about the constitutional guaranties for the women’s right of participation including the quota system

June 11, 2012:  3rd day of the Regional Meeting, discussing building up the constituency

On January 18, PEDP Incoming Iraqi Women Parliamentarians (IWPs) held their 8th Peer Networking Meeting at the Constitutional Hall in the Parliament Building. The meeting discussed the 2012 budget including revenues, expenditures and allocations, parliament committees’ demands, and the budget’s most important development related features. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi. Guest speakers included: Mr. Ubaid Mahal Freih, Deputy Secretary General for Finance and Administration in the Council of Ministers, and Economic expert, Ms. Salam Smaysem. Ms. Smaysem explained the concept of social welfare and the social welfare criteria followed by legislative bodies while analyzing the budget.

Selected photos:

IWPs – 8th Peer Network Meeting – January 18, 2012.



On November 23, PEDP Incoming Iraqi Women Parliamentarians (IWPs) held their 7th Peer Networking Meeting at the Constitutional Hall in the Parliament Building. The meeting was held in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and covered the promotion of effective communication between MPs and their constituents. NDI presented the results of their polling including Iraqis’ yearning for a more responsive government and Iraq’s challenging  environment for women. NDI then offered suggestions to help translate key poll results into effective messaging to constituents. The meeting included a Q & A session and introduced participants to USIP’s SENSE training program.

Selected photos:







On July 18 2011, IF held the 6th Peer Networking Meeting in the Iraqi COR. The meeting discussed the loopholes in the Parliament bylaws as well as female MPs’ and civil society’s contributions in revising the Parliament bylaws. Only 10 Parliamentarians had the chance to attend this meeting due to the fact that most parliamentarians were in the Kurdish region and bad weather conditions prevented planes coming from Erbil from taking off. MP Fatima Toumane, who had heard about the project and requested to join the program, was present at the meeting. State Ministry for Parliament Affairs’ adviser, Mr. Mu’taz Al-Abbasi and Chairman of the board of the National Dialogue Forum Mr. Ali Akaab Al-Samah also attended the meeting.

During the meeting Dr. Al-Abbasi explained that the COR Bylaws organize the work of the legislative authority and organize the relationship between the legislative and the executive authority. In addition, the COR Bylaws should be in line with the Constitution and the legislative and executive authorities should participate in drafting  them, they should be subject to appeal if they violate the Constitution, and they should include the principle of separation between authorities.

Civil society activist Mr. Ali Ekab Al-Samah talked about the role of civil society in reforming the parliament bylaws. He briefed the audience on his organization’s work (a forum that includes 600 NGOs) and indicated that his forum was able to influence the draft committee during the process of writing of the Iraqi constitution. Their successes include the inclusion of hearing sessions for civil society at Parliament Committees.

Former and re-elected Parliamentarian also joined the debate: MP Samira Al-Musawi emphasized the importance of keeping the channels of communication open between parliament and civil society. She indicated that during a rent trip to the US, she was very impressed by the number of hearing sessions and realized that hearing sessions were instrumental in the process of decision-making. MP Nada Al-Juburi agreed and added that civil society should be taken more seriously by parliament because it represents the voice of the people.

On May 2nd 2011, IF held the fifth Peer Networking Meeting. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi and took place at the Constitutional Hall in the Iraqi Parliament. The meeting was facilitated by Global Partners Associates’ Ms. Faten Hussein and attended by 17 IWPs as well as by former Parliamentarian Mr. Basim Sharif.  Ms. Hussein discussed the reports of the permanent committees in the CoR including the reports’ relevance, preparation, and impact as well as the lessons learned from previous reports from the committees’ archives. Former parliamentarians shared their previous experience and led the Q & A session. For example former MP, Ms. Amal Al-Qadi shared with the participants her experience working with the Integrity Committee in the previous parliament. She stressed the importance of archiving the reports so the work done by previous committees can be built on by the successors. Ms. Hussein stressed the importance of submitting requests in the name of Parliament committees as opposed at personal level. Committees’ requests will carry more weight, she said and can lead to better outcomes. MP Samira Al-Musawi drew a comparison between the U.S. Congress’ and the Iraqi Parliament’s work to stress the importance and the necessity to have advisers advise MPs on various issues. She urged her counterparts to get help in order to learn more about the various issues that they deal with especially when they are not experts in the field.

An important recommendation of the meeting was to make the committees’ yearly reports submissions a requisite. IWP Najiba Najib offered to put this into action by circulating a petition aimed at revising the Parliament by-laws to include a section to make the committees’ yearly reports submissions mandatory.

IF held the 4th Peer Networking Meeting in the CoR building of the Iraqi Parlaiment on March 15, 2011. The IWPs program is drawing more and more attention and we are very pleased to announce that in addition to the project participants three non-IWPs members attended the networking meeting. The March 15th meeting was attended by 17 IWPs and took place at the Iraqi Parliament Constitutional Hall from 9:00-11:30 am. The theme of the meeting was: “Bill drafting”. Topics covered included: The roles and responsibilities of different institutions during the process of bill drafting; parliament’s role in bill drafting including different committees’ roles as well as difficulties and challenges; the process of repealing laws according to the Constitution and the national tasks; the contradiction between the proposal and draft law between the Constitution and the Parliament bylaws and Supreme Court’s decision about who is entitled to make laws.

Speakers included:

  • Parliament Affairs’ State Minister’s adviser Dr. Mu’taz Al-Abbasi;
  • Former parliamentarian Judge Wa’el Abdel Latif;
  • MP Mohsen Saadoun; and
  • Head of Research department in the Iraqi COR, Dr. Mayada Al-Hajami.

The meeting was also attended by former parliamentarians who shared their experiences with the participants.


On January 30 2011, IF held the third IWPs peer networking meeting. The meeting was held in one of the Iraqi Parliament building rooms and attended by 17 IWPs. Topics covered included:

  •  General state budgeting
  •  Budget comparisons between the 2010 and 2011 budgets
  •  Parliament’s role in discussing and ratifying the budget pursuant to the constitution and the parliament bylaw
  •  Challenges faced while ratifying previous budgets

 The meeting was chaired by former MP Amira Al-Baldawi.  Other lecturers included Mr. Najeh Al-Khafaji, former general Director of the Budget department-Finance Ministry, Mr. Ahmed Shinan, Research Department- budget division in the COR, and MP Haidar Al-Ubadi, former head of the Economic committee and current member of the Finance committee.

We’re happy to report that the growing reputation of the Iraqi Women Parliamentarians IWPs program is starting to draw a lot of attention. As an indicator of the success of the project, IF was contacted in January by two new women MP who heard about the program and requested to participate in the IWPs future activities.


IF is pleased to report that Bushra Hussein Saleh, one of its IWP members was offered a state ministry on December 22nd 2010! Ms. Saleh declared that she owes her success to her party (Fadila party) and to the capacity building she received from the Iraq Foundation.

Ms. Saleh expressed her desire to remain in the program and continue participating in the PEDP project as an active member of the IWPs program. Also during December, IWPs actively participated in a petition aimed at increasing the participation of Iraqi women in the political process. 106 signatures were collected to demand that women be given the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister as well as 25% of the ministries. The petition also requested that Iraqi women be given the merit they deserve on the basis of partnership and women’s proportion in the Iraqi society.

On November 9th, 2010 IF held the second Peer Networking Meeting with the Iraqi Women Parliamentarians (IWPs). The meeting took place at the Constitutional Hall in the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) in Baghdad and was attended by several new IWPs as well as former Parliamentarians Mr. Fouad Rawanduzi and Mr. Hamid Majeed. During the meeting, participants discussed monitoring mechanisms in CoR committees according to the CoR bylaws and suggestions for improving the CoR bylaws.  IF’s Executive Director Ms. Rend Al-Rahim.  As a result of this activity, several IWPs proposed new CoR bylaws in the Iraqi legislator. 

IWPs-2nd per network meeting – Nov. 9 – 2010.

Ms. Rend Al-Raheem and Dr. Amira Al-Baldawi (Opening session of the IWPs 2nd per network meeting

Dr. Mua’taz Al-Abbassi  (Consultant for the State Minister for the CoR issues (guest in the meeting)


Ms. Amal Al-Khadi (former PM) speaking during the session


Mr. Firyad Rawandouzi – PM (Guest): talking about the monitoring mechanisms of the Security and Defense Committee


Ms. Samira Al-Musawi – PM presenting her speech during the meeting.


Ms. Samira Al-Musawi – PM presenting her speech during the meeting.


Discussions and exchanging questions and answers during the session.


Mr. Hameed Majeed – PM (Guest): talking about the relationship between the constitution and the CoR.