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Sunday, 07 May 2017 08:43

Iraq’s Strength is in its Diversity, UN says as “Iraq: Youth and Coexistence” Makes Last Stop in Baghdad Before Overarching National Conference

Baghdad, 06 May 2017 – The virtues of Iraq’s diversity as a source of strength for the country were invoked at the “Iraq: Youth and Coexistence”, which convened in Baghdad today its seventh and last meeting before an overarching national conference that will recommend ideas from the youth to Iraq’s leaders on how to promote and advance national reconciliation.

The cross-country forum in the Iraqi capital brought together 120 youth – 85 men and 35 women - from the Governorates of Anbar, Salah al-Din and Wassit, in addition to the Baghdad Governorate. The opening session was attended by Sheikh Khalid al-Yawer, representing the National Reconciliation Commission, Mr. Suhaib al-Rawi, Governor of Anbar, Mr. Malek Khalaf Wadi, Governor of Wassit, and Ms. Hana Edwar, head of the Al-Amal Association. After the opening speech of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq for Political and Electoral Affairs, Mr. György Busztin, Mr. al-Rawi, Mr. Wadi and Ms. Edwar delivered speeches.

Mr. Busztin stressed the importance of youth participating in the political process of reconciliation.

DSRSG Busztin reiterated the calls he made in previous meetings, that the youth ensure that their voice is heard and reinforced the United Nations stand that without the opinion of the youth any reconciliation initiative would be incomplete. Then he went on to explain how Iraq’s diversity is a source of strength, not weakness, with Baghdad, Wassit, Salaheddin and Anbar acting as living examples.

“These governorates have maintained this ethnic and sectarian diversity no matter what the terrorists and Takfiris tried to make it one color,” Mr. Busztin said.

He further said that people of diverse backgrounds have coexisted throughout time despite all the crises and conflicts. “Strength is in diversity, not in uniformity. Uniformity is isolationism, while diversity is openness to all. Take Baghdad, for example, it is the ideal model for this diversity where all the ethnic groups, religions and sects of Iraq live.”

Hundreds of youth in the age group of 18-35 have already participated in a series of similar forums across the country, which the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) organized in cooperation with the Iraqi Al-Amal Association. The meeting in Baghdad is the seventh of the “Iraq: Youth and Coexistence” forums which are intended to give a voice to youth for their crucial role in charting the road to peaceful co-existence in a future Iraq. With these kind of fora, the young generation of Iraqis across different ethnic and sectarian backgrounds has the opportunity to deliberate post-conflict issues, engage on national reconciliation and voice their opinion.

The cross-country forums were first launched in Basra on 28 January 2017, and brought together about 120 participants from the four southern governorates of Basra, Missan, Dhi Qar and Muthanna. The second followed in Erbil on 19 February with 135 participants from Ninewa Governorate. The third was held in Najaf on 18 March, with 115 participants from the Najaf, Karbala, Babel and Qadissiyah Governorates taking part, the fourth was on 25 March in Diyala Governorate where 68 youth participated, the fifth in Sulaymaniyah on 08 April in which 80 youth from Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Halabja Governorates participated, and the sixth in Kirkuk on 22 April in which 109 youth attended. The national conference in Baghdad will convene later in May and is to be attended by representatives of the youth to incorporate recommendations from these seven forums in the decisions that support the process of reconciliation and coexistence.

As with the format for all the conferences, the participants in the Baghdad forum broke up into working groups to deliberate and respond to questions about what they would like to see in a future Iraq and how they can contribute. At the end of the meeting, the participants debated their responses and adopted a set of recommendations.

For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or the UNAMI Public Information Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 08:56

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