“We choose peace because we want to connect people…but we also need to understand how people of different religions, cultures
“I’ve tried to gather all of Iraq in one statue,” says 24-year-old Anbar University student Sruor.
At 24m3, the structure is
Both young women call Anbar home. But what more do they have in common? A commitment to
Between 2017-2019, UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme and local NGO, Iraqi al-Amal Association, provided training to 289 young people (including 122 young women) from across Iraq – just like Sruor and Tasneem. Trained in the active promotion of a culture of peace in their communities, students were invited to design activities that would invite the participation of community members from various backgrounds, to engage and exchange ideas. 114 projects were selected to receive small cash grants and supported throughout the planning, promotion
Giving women a voice
A passionate photographer, Tasneem chose to host a photo exhibition in early 2018. “I wanted to connect two things – photography, a powerful medium for storytelling, and women, very few of which are photographers in Iraq,” she says, camera in hand as she points it away to find focus. “I saw a gap in my community - women were interested in photography, but they lacked skills and didn’t know how to take the first step.” With Tasneem’s efforts, eight women participated in the exhibition, “Peace Gallery” and many are still shooting today. “I wanted to challenge the gender stereotypes in my community and create a space for women to safely express their ideas. When we started encouraging people to use their talent to spread personal messages of peace, the community paid attention – all of a sudden, we were asking them to reflect on what their picture of peace would look like!” exclaims Tasneem.
Painting for peace
Leaving the city
Noor has displayed one of the paintings for us on the lawn of the University, flanked by newly renovated offices and classrooms. “I chose to host my exhibition
Despite its current appearance, 70% of the University’s main campus was destroyed or damaged during ISIL’s occupation of Ramadi, hindering the return of students, and forcing study to continue amongst the rubble.
With the support of UNDP Iraq’s Funding Facility for Stabilization in partnership with the Government of Iraq, the University of Anbar campuses
From this space, youth like Noor, are being empowered to use their skills to help shape the process of recovery amongst the people of Anbar – starting with their ideas of peace.
“Noor connected women interested to paint with experienced faculty members from the art college, helping them to get the support they needed to transform their ideas with paint.”
The power of books
Next, we meet Hassan, standing by a tall glass cabinet in the courtyard of the Faculty of Political Science & Law. He’s a new graduate and the youngest peace advocate we meet. “I decided to install a miniature peace library on campus. I filled the cabinet with books to help people learn about the idea of peace and it’s many interpretations.”
“I saw a need – people want to know what causes conflict, and why we need peacebuilding,” he adds. “This is a way for people to discover peace in private. You can take a book and read in the garden or at home alone,” he continues. “Over time, people have become more active in discussing ideas of peace and questioning what is going on in our community. Young people are starting to change the way they talk about conflict and what we need to do as a community to achieve peace.”
UNDP Iraq and Iraqi al Amal Association bring youth together from across the country to train face-to-face – mixing young women and men and people of mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds – to promote understanding based on shared experience and on shared hope. In these safe spaces, young people can develop a new understanding of those who are different
For this group of youth, the support and training they received
About the Peace Education Project
Activities under the Peace Education Project were made possible with the generous funding of the Government of Japan and the Government of Germany. Implemented by UNDP Iraq and Iraqi al Amal Association, the Project trains both youth and academics across all governorates of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on topics of peace and conflict studies. In 2019, the project launched the first national Diploma for Peace and Conflict Studies – designed in collaboration with the Iraqi Universities Consortium for Peace Studies and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The first group of students will participate in
Since 2017, Iraqi al Amal Association has successfully trained 289 youth (124 women) on topics of peacebuilding and conflict, with training graduates designing and implementing 122 community engagement initiatives; building stronger social ties in communities previously
About UNDP’s rehabilitation work in Ramadi
At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis after the ISIL conflict, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism.
Since the liberation of Ramadi in December 2015, FFS has completed more than 265 stabilization projects in the city. FFS helps local authorities quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure and services such as water and electricity networks, healthcare facilities, school