Following several interfaith consultations, representatives of different Iraqi religious and ethnic components identified education, media, and the constitution as important pillars of a nation-building process that provides equal rights to all—including the freedom of religion and belief.
The WCC, together with its member churches, the Middle East Council of Churches, CAPNI (the Christian Aid Program in Northern Iraq) and UFUQ (local interreligious civil society organization) and with the support of NCA, initiated the process of revision of educational curriculums so that they reflect the religious and ethnic diversity of the country and they promote equal citizenship.
From 3-6 December, several workshops took place in order to assess the results of the educational revision process and map the way forward.
“Iraq is considered to be a cradle of civilizations. The diversity of its religious and ethnic components is a heritage to all humanity,” said Carla Khijoyan, WCC programme executive for Peace Building in the Middle East. “Protecting this diversity implies establishing solid inclusive systems in different disciplines, social, political, legal and cultural. Through our collective efforts, together with the indigenous Iraqi communities, we are able to promote models of inclusive citizenship paving the way towards reconciliation and unity.”
A special workshop was held for the input of female religious and ethnic actors on the role of education in inclusive citizenship. Pioneering women, activists, academics, and specialists in the field of education shared their assessments, reflections, and hopes towards the future of their communities. This first phase was followed by a workshop for input from religious leaders. The third workshop focused on next steps in the process and identified the road map to work on media and Iraqi legislation as important actors in shaping Iraqi communities.
Under the theme “Towards a Brighter Future!” the different workshops also explored the relationship between citizenship and religious and social values, healing of collective memories, transitional justice, and reconciliation.
Participants presented recommendations summarizing their concerns, aspirations, and proposals in order to achieve social cohesion and inclusive citizenship in Iraq.
Many outputs and recommendations have been issued and many also have been started to be implemented at the curriculum and legislative levels. Work has also begun in order to establish a media lobby which aims to protect diversity, promote social solidarity, and maintain ethno-religious diversity in Iraq.