|Iraq Foundation Newsletter|
In the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, IF sponsored its community-based organizations to host Iftar gatherings for the Iraqi-American communities in Nashville, TN, Dearborn, MI, Chicago, IL, and St.Lois, MO in late September. These events were held to build bridges of communication and cooperation between members of our community-based organizations, members of the Iraqi-American community, and friends of Iraq. Many families attended these events, making this years Iftar gatherings a success.
IF’s Director of Programs in Baghdad, Shirouk Al-Abayachi, visited the Washington, DC office from September 25 – October 2, 2006. Ms. Abayachi met with IF Staff and Board Members, as well as with the Department of State, Congressional Staff, IF project partners, and the Iraqi community. On September 29, 2006, IF hosted a breakfast meeting for Ms. Al-Abayachi, which was chaired by Haithem Al-Hassani, IF’s Chairman of the Board, and Executive Director Rend Al-Rahim. Ms. Al-Abayachi discussed the process of democratization in Iraq, the role of civil society institutions in that process, and the achievements of Iraqi women and the challenges they face. Ms. Al-Abayachi shared her unique insight and experience working on the ground in Baghdad with approximately 30 representatives from the US government and American and international NGOs. After her speech, questions and comments were welcomed from the audience, resulting in a productive dialogue.
Sukaina Jameel, IF’s Office Manager in Basra, was interviewed by Al-Fayha’a TV in Basra to discuss the work of the Iraq Foundation. During the interview, Ms. Jameel discussed IF's mission and history since it began work in 1991, and gave an overview of our projects and activities in the fields of human rights education, women's empowerment, and promotion of democracy. Ms. Jameel also discussed women’s achievement in politics and the challenges of strengthening women’s rights in society and government as well as the importance of preserving the existing Personal Status Law of 1959. Click the 'View Clip' link to download the complete Interview (Arabic).
IF held a two-day human rights education workshop for 11 employees of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) on September 24 and 25, 2006 as part of the Human Rights Education Project. The workshop was aimed at spreading an understanding of the basic principles and standards of human rights among the Ministry’s employees and introducing them to the mechanisms that are used around the globe to protect citizens. The workshop also addressed the relationship between human rights and environmental issues.
Two follow-up training workshops were held last month in Basra and Karbala as part of Iraq’s Pledge training. The trainings focused on media and political monitoring techniques that the NGOs can apply in their respective governorates to monitor the progress of issues related to the goals and objectives of the Iraq’s Pledge platform. The workshops were held to further advance the monitoring skills of the NGOs as well as include NGOs that were absent from the original training held on July 24 and 25. The first follow-up workshop on media monitoring was held in Karbala on September 11, 2006 and the second workshop was held in Basra on September 14, 2006. Both workshops were conducted by Ms. Irada Al-Jubouri from IF’s Baghdad office and Ms. Sukaina Jamil from IF’s Basra office.
As part of our Iraqi Constitutional Assistance Project (ICAP) with Freedom House, the Foundation formed Iraq’s Democracy Watch (IDW) , which brings together Iraqis from the academic, media and NGO communities to monitor the democratic process in Iraq, focusing particularly on the implementation of articles in the constitution that provide rights and freedoms to Iraqi citizens. The IDW team held weekly meetings in September to plan its annual report, which will address freedom of thought, expression and belief; personal and individual freedoms; women’s rights and their freedoms in Iraq; repercussions of corruption on rights and freedoms; and violence and its impact on freedoms and rights. Since IDW’s inception in November 2005, the group has published several reports on various human rights issues in Iraq. To view IDW’s most resent report on the Armed Forces’ Violations of Freedoms and Rights in Iraq, please click the Read On link.
Ms. Selwa Gailani Kanna, IF's Project Manager, visited the Iraq Foundation's four community-based organizations (CBOs) in Nashville, TN, Dearborn, MI, St. Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL in September. While visiting these organizations, Ms. Gailani met with the Board of Directors and other community leaders, discussed the challenges facing each community-based organization as well as initiatives to strengthen these organizations.
Ms. Shuaila Hassan, IF’s project coordinator in Baghdad, participated in an NGO meeting convened by Prime Minister Al-Maliki and the National Reconciliation Commission held on September 16, 2006. The Meeting brought together a select group of Iraqi NGOs to discuss their role in Iraq’s reconciliation process.
The Manager of the Iraqi American House of Dearborn, MI, Ms. Wameedh Shanan, participated in a meeting held for Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaidaie, on September 14, 2006. Members of the community utilized the visit to discuss issues facing Iraq and the Iraqi people.