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News from Iraq Foundation
Iraq Foundation Newsletter )
A Change in Perspective July 2006
In This Issue
  • IF Engages Iraqis Through Media
  • Human Rights and Constitutional Workshops
  • Environmental Revival
  • IF Chairman Meets with Canadian Prime Minister
  • Dialogue on Federalism
  • Study Tour in Malaysia
  • My Country, My Country
  • June has been a busy month for us at the Iraq Foundation. We have conducted numerous workshops and events throughout Iraq, focusing on human rights and constitutional issues. We have increased our information dissemination activities in our constitutional issues projects throughout Iraq to include television programs. On the environmental front, the Eden Again / Nature Iraq project is working to develop a state-of-the-art ecological laboratory. Our Staff has also participated in numerous conferences and dialogues, including a UN sponsored dialogue on federalism, a meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister, and a study tour in Malaysia. Below, we have highlighted some updates, but, as always, should you have any questions regarding our projects or activities, please visit us online at www.iraqfoundation.org or email us at iraq@iraqfoundation.org.

    Joseph Sandor

    IF Engages Iraqis Through Media

    As part of our continuing work to expand understanding of constitutional rights, the Iraq Foundation sponsored a series of radio and television programs during the month of June. The Foundation broadcast three programs on Radio Sawt al Nass, a Baghad—based station on topics covering personal status laws, the mandate of the High Commission for Human Rights (HCHR), and issues relating to freedom of expression and academic freedom. If also launched its first TV program in Basra, which discussed the role of the Iraqi Commission for Public Integrity, and the part that civil society can play in combating corruption.

    Human Rights and Constitutional Workshops

    In collaboration with the Ministry of Human rights, the Iraq Foundation conducted three human rights workshops as part of its Human Rights Education Project and one constitutional education workshop in Mosul as part of its Constitutional Assistance Project. Over 165 individuals representing various organizations, members of civil society, and government officials participated in these workshops.

    The first human rights workshop was held to highlight the growing issue of prisoner treatment and educated Iraqi stakeholders on the Geneva Convention. The second human rights workshop focused on the role of academia in strengthening civil society institutions. IF staff also conducted a human rights workshop to promote the rights and needs of Iraq ’s disabled populations.

    IF also held a constitutional education workshop in the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 19, 2006. Approximately 70 civil society members attended this event, including representatives from organizations working for the protection of the rights of children, detainees, and women. The workshop was divided into three panels, which focused on spreading public awareness of the constitution and ways to educate Iraqis on their rights and freedoms.

    Environmental Revival

    Iraq Foundation’s sister project, Eden Again / Nature Iraq, a project to restore the Mesopotamian marshes, worked extensively on an Urban Plan for the city of Chibaish, which would declare an area of the marshes national reserve and construct a national state-of-the-art ecological laboratory. With support from the Italian Ministry of Environment and Territory, Eden Again / Nature Iraq are also continuing their work to develop plans for eco-sensitive villages and the structures needed to manage the marshes and train Iraqi technocrats. Despite the rough condition and continuing violence, our teams of young scientists are determined to keep the work going. Teams are still taking monthly trips to the marshes to collect scientific data and to calibrate water flow models that we have developed.

    IF Chairman Meets with Canadian Prime Minister

    The chairman of the Iraq Foundation, Haithem Al-Hassani, was one of a small group of Arab and Muslim representatives invited to meet the Prime Minister of Canada on Saturday, June 10, 2006. The meeting was prompted by the recent arrest of terrorism suspects in Ontario and focused on the need to draw a clear line between the religion of Islam and terrorist violence.

    Dialogue on Federalism

    The Iraq Foundation’s Executive Director, Rend Al-Rahim, participated in a United Nation sponsored multiparty dialogue on federal arrangements under the new Iraqi constitution held in Madrid, Spain from June 12 -14. The dialogue brought together 20 participants from Iraq’s political parties, academic institutions, and civil society along with constitutional experts and officials of the United Nation’s Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

    Study Tour in Malaysia

    Program Director Shirouk Al-Abayachi, along with six other representatives from Iraq’s government and civil society, took part in a study tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sponsored by Women for Women International and the Sisters in Islam organization from June 26 - July 3. The program was led by women’s rights activist, Zaihna Anwer. The tour focused on the role of women within an Islamic framework, understanding the multi-ethnic model of government and society in Malaysia, and incorporating integration techniques in Iraq. Ms. Al-Abayachi and the other participants met with members of the Malaysian Parliament and Senate, the Justice Minister, and human rights and women’s organizations. During the tour, the group explored problems in implementing a secular constitution in a federal system and implementing the Shari’a law on state levels just for Muslim citizens.

    My Country, My Country

    A new documentary about the 2005 Iraqi election is coming to theatres this August. My Country, My Country is an intimate portrait of Iraqis after the fall of Saddam The film's principal focus is Dr. Riyadh, an Iraqi medical doctor, father of six and Sunni political candidate. He's an outspoken critic of the occupation, and equally passionate about the need to establish democracy in Iraq. Director, Laura Poitras spent eight months in Iraq working on the project. My Country, My Country will open in New York and Washington DC this August. Openings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and other cities will follow.

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