Wednesday, 22 September 2010 03:00

Peace in Iraq Rings out from Erbil in celebration of the UN Global Peace Day

22 September 2010, Erbil, Iraq – The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in close cooperation with the office of the Governor of Erbil and the Department of Foreign Relations, marked yesterday the annual International Day of Peace in Iraq. UNAMI, represented by Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG), Ms. Christine McNab, held a peace gathering at the Sami Abdul Rahman Park in Erbil in the presence of the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, H.E. Mas’ud Barzani, the Governor of Erbil, Nawzad Hadi, Speaker of the Kurdistan Iraq Parliament, Kamal Kirkuki, Members of Parliament, the Diplomatic Corps, representatives from Civil Society Organisations and United Nations staff.


Speaking to the gathering, President Barzani expressed his pride in celebrating and commemorating the day of peace with the international community.  “We hope that together with peace loving people, everywhere in the world there will be peace and prosperity” said President Barzani.  He expressed hope that peace and stability will prevail throughout Iraq.

Governor Hadi, in his opening remarks, noted "the prevailing peace and stability in the Kurdistan Region", while expressing hope that “peace extends to the whole country”.  He welcomed the holding of the Peace Day commemoration in the city of Erbil and hoped to see more such events organized in the Kurdistan region and throughout the country.

Representing civil society organisations, Ms. Mahabad Qaradaghi, who is also a writer, journalist and a poet, stressed the need to establish and foster peace throughout Iraq. She stated that Iraqi youth and women “recognize more and more the value of peace and democracy”, adding that “they are a key pillar in Iraqi society and must be empowered as messengers to promote civil rights and democracy in the country."

Hosting this event for the first time in Iraq, UNAMI DSRSG McNab in her address stressed the need to foster “peace that brings development, prosperity and wellbeing”.  DSRSG McNab added that while differences and diversity among communities and cultures exist, it is embracing common ground – as advocated by the United Nations in all its development activities – which is essential." 

DSRSG McNab said, “Peace is the greatest gift we can give our children”, further emphasising the importance of "building a future where common ground is sought and common good is put before individual differences”.

The speeches were followed by the release of white doves, a universal symbol of peace.

The peace gathering event concluded with a traditional dance and music show performed by youth members from the Rajan Youth Centre and the Asuda Cultural Centre in Erbil, and peace songs were performed by the United Nations Fijian Contingent choir.

To kick-start celebrations for the International Day of Peace earlier this week, UNAMI, in close cooperation with the Office of the Governor of Erbil and the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR), raised and illuminated on 19 September a fluorescent sign of the 2010 peace day slogan “Peace=Future: The Math is Easy”.  Illuminated in Kurdish, the peace message is back dropped by the majestic Erbil Citadel, while large banners of the message in English, Arabic and Kurdish on the walls of the Citadel draw the public’s attention to this year’s peace day slogan and its global theme of Youth for Peace and Development.
Photo Release

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 September 2010 03:00

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