enhancing understanding of iraq through programs, research and advocacy

Empowering Iraqi Women: Progress & Challenges on International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day, EPIC proudly joins our friends around the world in celebrating the outstanding achievements of women, and in bringing greater attention to the ongoing struggle for women’s rights and empowerment in Iraq. One year ago today, the government of Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, alongside UN agencies, launched its National Strategy for Iraqi Women, 2023-2030. The new national strategy was developed and adopted with a focus on the importance of women’s political participation, the protection of women and girls, economic empowerment, and climate change. In adopting the new strategy, the government of Iraq also renewed its commitment

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Celebrating 25 Years of Enabling Peace: Help Strengthen our Impact in 2024

We’re on a meaningful journey together. For a quarter-century, thanks to supporters like you, EPIC has worked to advance peace and human rights in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. We have stood against international sanctions and the atrocities of Saddam Hussein, navigated the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, documented ISIS’s genocide against Yazidis, experienced the tremendous relief of the liberation of Mosul and the defeat of ISIS, and shared the story of Iraq’s popular “Tishreen” movement for reform. We have also been through the highs, from Iraq’s 2007 Asia Cup win to the 2018 awarding of the Nobel Peace

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Entrance to Baghdad's Zawra Park.

Celebrate 25 years of peace work in the Middle East

On this Giving Tuesday, we invite you to celebrate EPIC’s 25 years of humanitarian advocacy and peace work for the people of Iraq. From our inception in 1998 through this year, we have been a consistent voice for peace and for the rights and needs of all Iraqis. In the last ten years alone, that has included our work to deliver emergency assistance to more than 60,000 families displaced or under siege by ISIS, help Iraqi doctors and nurses fight COVID-19 and save lives, support the recovery of Sinjar and families who remain displaced, enhance understanding of the “Tishreen” movement for democratic reforms, and demand an end to the impunity that

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EPIC Summer 2023 Highlights & Upcoming Initiatives

We are thrilled to share with you the latest updates on EPIC’s ongoing mission to advance peace and development in Iraq. As we approach our 25th anniversary, our commitment to the cause remains unwavering, and we are excited to showcase the impactful strides we’ve taken over this past summer. Unveiling Insights into Iraq’s Water Diplomacy Challenges and Solutions In July, we unveiled our newest publication, “Water Diplomacy in the Land of Two Rivers.” The product of months of intensive research and insightful interviews with top experts in the field, this timely report examines the pressing issues surrounding Iraq’s quest to secure its

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Can oil and water mix?: Creating opportunities for Iraq-Turkey cooperation

Originally published by the Middle East Institute — August 31, 2023 Last week saw a flurry of diplomatic activity between Baghdad and Ankara. The top priorities in the talks that took place in Erbil, Ankara, and Baghdad almost simultaneously were oil exports, the presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq, and Iraq’s water crisis. The visits by Ankara’s foreign and energy ministers to Iraq and by Baghdad’s oil minister to Turkey were preparations for an anticipated visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Iraq, which Iraqi sources think could happen in September, to agree on a way forward on these

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Iraq’s Electoral Democracy on the Line: A Call for Extending UNAMI’s Mandate

By EPIC’s Editorial Team On April 19, Judge Jalil Adnan Khalaf, Chairman of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), reportedly resigned under pressure from influential political factions, raising concerns about the integrity of Iraq’s electoral system. This development, coupled with recent amendments to Iraq’s election law (published here), poses a formidable challenge to the progress made in electoral reforms following the Tishreen protests in October 2019, which aimed for a more democratic and accountable government. The Tishreen protest movement underscored the urgent need for overhauling Iraq’s electoral law. Among the primary demands were an end to the sectarian allocation system,

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Taking stock of the first 100 days of Iraq’s new government

Originally published by the Middle East Institute — January 31, 2023 In its first 100 days in office, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani has already left warning signs about what might lie ahead for the country. Although it is still in its early days, government actions have largely strayed from the promises Sudani made before taking office and resulted in setbacks for Iraq’s economy, security, sovereignty, and human rights. The situation deserves the attention of observers and stakeholders, who should keep a close eye on what follows and consider adjusting their approach to the administration. Sudani’s appointment

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In recent years, many Iraqis have been expressing growing frustration with political dysfunction, corruption, and poor economic conditions, which they largely blame on muhasasa, the ethno-sectarian apportionment of political offices that has characterized politics in Iraq since 2003. This frustration gave rise to popular protest demanding systemic change, most notably in 2019, when the Tishreen (October) revolution saw hundreds of thousands gather at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, Nasiriyah’s Haboubi Square, and in towns all across southern Iraq.  Based on their slogans and demands, the protesters made clear their desire to see an end to the current political system and established political parties.

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At least once a year, EPIC welcomes a new cohort of interns – young professionals seeking to add practical experience to their academic backgrounds in humanitarian affairs, international relations, security studies, political science, public relations, and beyond. We are grateful for their contributions to our research, action, and advocacy, and for the opportunity to connect them to Iraq and its people. Please join us in welcoming our Summer 2022 interns: Hinda and Rebaz! Hinda Shakeeb: was born and raised in Baghdad and is a recent graduate from Colorado States University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. In addition to

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The Tishreen Report in Arabic is Here!

If you want to understand the Tishreen movement, you need the best information, and insight from the people who are part of it. Through focus groups with Tishreen and Iraqi Kurdish activists, a national public survey, and dozens of detailed interviews, this report offers an unmatched, detailed inside look into Iraq’s ongoing popular movement for reform. The report is uniquely valuable because of our close relationships with Iraqi activists and peacebuilders on the ground. From the beginning, we wanted it to be a resource for them. That’s why we’re so proud to announce the Tishreen report is now available in

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Celebrating the Contributions of Iraqi Women to World Civilization

Today is International Women’s Day, a time to honor the struggles of women around the world and celebrate women’s achievements across time. This week on social media, we have been highlighting the important contributions of women in Iraq. Now, we would like to introduce you to one of Iraq’s most celebrated women — the first human whose name was recorded along with her writing. Her name was Enheduanna. She lived more than 4,200 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. She was a poet, a priestess, and an Akkadian princess. She hailed from the Sumerian city-state of Ur, birthplace of the written

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Three goals for impact in 2022

Iraqis have been undergoing tremendous change as they work for a better future, and EPIC is adapting along with them. In 2022, we will sharply focus on three program areas: peace and recovery, human rights and governance, and responding to the effects of climate change. Peace: Recovering after conflict Recovery is not only about buildings and infrastructure. Violence also causes mental and emotional destruction, and tears the social fabric of a community that allows a society to thrive. After a successful pilot project in Sinjar that trained Iraqi changemakers in social media production and change strategy, we are expanding our

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