Activists, NGOs and community leaders brainstorm in Sulaimaniyah on promoting social cohesion
As part of the United Nations Development Programme’s commitment to support social cohesion in Iraq, a three-day workshop has been organized on 25-27 November 2016 in Sulaimaniyah, in partnership with King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
The workshop targeted over 30 activists, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community leaders from different governorates across Iraq.
Terminologies relevant to social cohesion, such as bias, prejudice and discrimination, have been introduced and clarified. Participants have reflected on and exchanged experiences about their communities, as well as the challenges they face and potential opportunities for promoting social cohesion.
Ms. Farah Salem, one of the participants from Baghdad, said:
“I have suffered in recent years from lack of social cohesion in the Iraqi society because of the situation in the country. The stories I have heard from participants motivated me, and the many activities touched our minds with bright ideas.
“I have been motivated to convey my experience in the workshop and my personal experience to my students and young women. I wish if I could build a rehabilitation centre at each school to clarify the meaning and the importance of social cohesion.”
UNDP’s Social Cohesion Project Manager, Mr. Dhafer Hasan, said:
“The participants were very committed to share and listen to each other. The trainer helped them to dig deeper into their personal experiences to discover more about themselves and their communities.”
The workshop has concluded with the participants’ presentations on future promotion and advocacy activities they had designed during the proceedings.
Trainer, Ms. Justine Abi Saad, flagged one of Hamlet’s quotes ‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,’ stressing:
“This is the spirit we want to instill amongst the participants. Each one of us has a different perspective, different views and beliefs; all we need is a set of skills and attitude to deal with differences, diversity and conflicts in order to have a social cohesion.”
During 2017, UNDP will continue targeting activists in this field and encouraging them to adopt creative approaches and activities to promote social cohesion.
(Source: UNDP in Iraq)