Recent News

Iraq’s Christian Minorities: Tales of Optimism and Regret

December 14, 2016
- As the coalition offensive to retake Mosul from Da’esh continues, various communities displaced by the group’s terror have sought to return to their historic and cultural communities. Included within this group is Iraq’s Christian population, many of whom left home in Ninewa at the start of the conflict in June of 2014. While Iraqi and American forces continue to close in on the heart of Da’esh in Iraq, the newly liberated areas outside of the city have seen the return of Iraqi Christians, some of whom continue to fight for their homeland as Da’esh’s influence wanes in the region. In Qaraqosh, the story of Syriac Catholics standing up to radical extremism has been one of hardship and hope. Syriac priests returning to the community’s Church of the Immaculate Conception found their place of worship, “blackened by fire, [its] alter vandalized,” … Continue reading


Making Strides to Eradicate Polio in Iraq

December 14, 2016
- In efforts to completely annihilate polio around the world and mark the commemoration of World Polio Day, two United Nations agencies have partnered with the Iraqi Ministry of Health to launch a week-long nationwide campaign to immunize Iraqi children against the rampant viral disease. Promoting the slogan “two drops can change a life”, the campaign will attempt to vaccinate an estimated 5.8 million Iraqi children below the age of five. Directly attacking the nervous system, polio remains a highly infectious viral disease targeting the global youth population. Young children especially below age five, remain at high risk for the rampant disease. With immediate and effective vaccinations worldwide, the eradication of polio proves both possible and likely in the next decade. UNICEF Iraq Representative Peter Hawkins affirmed Iraq’s national strides to eliminate polio stating that,“The Government of Iraq is committed to … Continue reading


Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

November 30, 2016
- Upbeat The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq Paul MacAlindin   “Iraqi Teen Seeks Maestro For Youth Orchestra”  This unassuming headline compelled a successful Scottish conductor to set off on a life-altering odyssey to one of the most dangerous countries on earth. In his fascinating memoir, Paul MacAlindin recounts how he and an inspiring 17-year-old piano protégé built the first ever Youth Orchestra of Iraq from the ashes of the Iraq War. Upbeat is the story of Paul and the orchestra he helped create. How do you pull together a diverse orchestra of both Arabs and Kurds (not natural colleagues), young musicians some who are self-taught; many without proper instruments; and all of whom have suffered immensely from tyranny and war? And perhaps most crucially of all, how can you make beautiful music when you are living through … Continue reading


Women, Peace, & Security Act Passes US House

November 18, 2016
- IF commends the United States House of Representatives on approving the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act that will make women’s inclusion a key pillar to US foreign policy. This action will strengthen peace and security initiatives by affirming the presence of women in dialogue, a critical component to ensuring stability. In doing so, the Act asserts that the US is committed to making the significant contribution of women in preventing and resolving conflict a core priority. Inclusive security has long been championed by IF through our work in Iraq, most notably with our ongoing Al Rasid Project. The legislation will now be sent through the United States Senate for final approval. To contact your local senator to encourage their support on the Women, Peace, and Security Act, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121