Sunday, 23 April 2017 10:10

“Iraq: Youth and Coexistence” Forum Presses on in Kirkuk, Symbol of Iraqi Diversity and Harmony

Kirkuk, Iraq, 22 April 2017 - The “Iraq: Youth and Coexistence” meeting moved today to Kirkuk, a symbol of Iraqi diversity and harmony, as Iraqi youth pressed on with their cross-country deliberations on ways to contribute to national reconciliation in the post-Daesh future.

Despite the differing opinions about its future status, Kirkuk is living proof of the harmony and coexistence that enriches this ancient land, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq for Political and Electoral Affairs, Mr. György Busztin, stated in an opening address.

“A symbol of coexistence and affinity among the components, ethnic groups, religions and sects, Kirkuk is a lesson in unity and fraternity despite differences of opinion about its administrative status,” Mr. Busztin said. “Kirkuk has the solid ground as the starting point for your ideas and discussions on finding the best ways for coexistence and reconciliation”.

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 Kirkuk in which a total of 109 youth – 69 young men and 40 young women - participated is the sixth 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 opening session was attended by Deputy Governor of Kirkuk Mr. Rakan Saeed, members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council Mr. Tahseen Kahiya, Ms. Sweetlan Stephan Yousif and Silvana Boya Nasir, Sheikh Zaki Zangana, representative of the National Reconciliation Commission in Kirkuk, and Ms. Hana Edwar, head of the Al-Amal Association. Mr. Saeed and Ms. Surud Ahmed, head of Al-Amal office in Kirkuk, delivered speeches, in addition to Mr. Busztin.

DSRSG Busztin recalled Kirkuk’s history of suffering, injustice and demographic changes, highlighted the present in which its people stood united in the fight against the terrorists in Hawija and will soon liberate it, and looked to the future.

Addressing the youth in Kirkuk, Mr. Busztin stated: “As youth, you form the largest segment of the people, and you are the country’s future and the ones responsible for shaping its image in the days to come. If you do not have a key role in the process of reconciliation and coexistence and if your views are not included in any initiative then reconciliation would be incomplete, and consequently the stability that Iraq and the United Nations aspire for would be incomplete”.

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, and the fifth in Sulaymaniyah on 08 April in which 80 youth from Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Halabja Governorates participated. Other conferences are to follow in Baghdad for the Governorates of Anbar and Salaheddin, culminating in an overarching national conference in Baghdad in May to be attended by representatives of the youth to incorporate recommendations from these forums in the decisions that support the process of reconciliation and coexistence.

As with the format for all the conferences, the participants in the Kirkuk 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, 23 April 2017 10:22

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