Photo: Participants of the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue at the May workshop in Sulaymaniyah. The Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue is an ongoing cooperative project with Wings of Hope Germany funded with support from Misereor and the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN).
Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue Workshop:
Cooperation Between Communities to Enhance Social Cohesion in Iraq
Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, in cooperation with foundation Wings of Hope Germany, held a three day workshop titled “Cooperation Between Communities to Enhance Social Cohesion” in Sulaymaniyah. This workshop, as part of the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue, was the culmination of a series of online meetings between participants from Duhok, Sinjar, Alqosh, Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Chamchamal, Halabja, and Sulaymaniyah discussing the realities of living in post-conflict societies and methods of promoting social cohesion at the community level.
Diversity in Iraq
Iraq is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Because of this diversity, Iraqi society can be a good example of peaceful coexistence and dialogue in a post-conflict region. The regions of Iraq and Kurdistan-Iraq are part of a long history marked by violence and conflict committed by different ethnic and religious communities. Mistrust between communities continues to be the norm in the region. Our project aims to counteract these prejudices through dialogue and exposure.
Interreligious dialogue and workshops
This marks the fourth in-person workshop hosted by the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue. From May 26th – 24 participants developed ideas for intercultural cohesion on issues that address hardships they all deemed to have in common as members of a post-conflict society.
Members prioritized those issues and actions they could take before beginning roleplay exercises where they discussed foreseen challenges on implementation. The three-day workshop ended in a presentation by participants and an action plan moving forward with a special focus on achievable community goals.
See the workshop agenda here:
Providing Resources to Civil Society Projects
Among the other activities in these workshops, the Youth Network hosts lectures, group presentations, theatre units, hikes, visits to local ethnic and religious sites, games, and communal cooking activities and provides resources for members to enact their own actionable projects. Among these civil society projects was an awareness campaign on environmental stewardship, tree planting activities, and providing benches for people outside common spaces, and presentations to communities on environmental, women’s rights, and societal issues of particular importance in the region.
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The Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue is a project of the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights and Wings of Hope Germany. Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights supports survivors of human rights violations, promotes democratic values, and protects fundamental freedoms in Iraq, Kurdistan-Iraq, and Northern Syria. Wings of Hope Germany supports people who made traumatic experiences, especially children and young people, their families, and their support systems out of the trauma of violence. The main two pillars of their work are psychosocial support and peace & dialogue work. The project is funded by MISEREOR and the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN).