Interfaith Cooperation Project (ICP)

The Iraq Foundation held a special screening of "Interfaith Dialogue in Mesopotamia" on Tuesday, October 9 in Washington, DC. For more information, click here.

Project Start Date: January 12, 2011

Estimated Completion Date: August 31, 2012

The Iraq Foundation was awarded a grant from the US Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) to conduct a 19 month project in Iraq 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.

The goal of this project is to expand religious freedom for all Iraqi faith communities and promote mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.
To achieve its goal, the project’s immediate objectives aim to support interfaith cooperation efforts and dialogue among university students and youth of different religious backgrounds; use media to document and affirm Iraq’s religious diversity throughout history; organize meetings and provide forums for public dialogue on religious rights and freedoms; and inform opinion makers and the public on the importance of religious freedom in peace-building and promoting citizenship.  

The Interfaith Cooperation Project (ICP) builds interfaith cooperation and promotes religious freedom among Iraqi university students through conducting a nationwide documentary film competition to capture and celebrate the diversity of Iraq’s historic religious sites and its plurality of faith traditions. IF will conduct a nationwide video short competition to select the best amateur documentaries—filmed, researched, and narrated by interfaith groups of university youth from all provinces of Iraq—about the country’s religiously diverse and historical places of worship, educating the broader public about the historic and contemporary human experience of faith communities belonging to these heritage sites. 

IF will foster public dialogue and understanding about Iraq’s diverse religious history by airing the five best documentaries on national television and organizing discussion-based film screenings of all competition entries throughout the country. Film screening discussion panels will feature the winning documentary makers together with  Iraqi community leaders, religious freedom advocates, public officials and the spiritual leadership of Iraq’s religious communities. Baghdad screenings will be for large audiences and will be preceded by a networking gathering for competition participants from throughout the country.  Virtual screenings and e-dialogues will also be organized via a You Tube channel, to be promoted by IF staff domestically and internationally via a Facebook page devoted to issues of religious freedom in Iraq. 

The project is designed to be an authentically Iraqi grassroots process that is unlike conventional education projects. The documentaries, while instructive, seek to show Iraq’s diversity and how Iraqis can live and work together. The project aims at sustainability through creating a long-lasting education tool that can be used far beyond the life of the project. The project will also foster interfaith trust and respect among participants that can have a ripple effect among their peers and provide a model for more interfaith cooperation in the future. Participating youth will learn valuable and sustainable new media skills that are sustainable and can be used to enhance dialogue beyond the life of the project.



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