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enhancing understanding of iraq through programs, research and advocacy

The Power of Education

What does it mean to empower youth?  What effect can great teaching have on a young person?  How are communities improved when young people feel as though they are making an impact? These are questions that go to the heard of EPIC’s mission, and in recent years, an important part of my life.  As a high school history teacher I constantly questioned how my classes could help my students understand their communities, but more importantly, how my students could help improve their communities.  I developed and implemented student-centered curriculum focused on current events, sustainability, and the actions young people could

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An EPIC Start: From a Summer in Iraq to Picturing Change

It’s one thing to talk about peace in Iraq, but achieving any kind of meaningful and tangible on-the-ground impact can be difficult to organize and execute (and even harder to fund). Yet since joining the EPIC team in August, I’ve had the privilege of joining an effort that aims to showcase the true peacebuilding power of Iraq’s youth as the country goes through a fragile transition in the post-American withdrawal period. My name is Christian Chung, and I’m proud to serve as the Conflict Resolution Intern, and newest member of EPIC, for the fall semester! I’m excited to be a

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A Conversation with Henry Arvidsson

As we continue to talk about EPIC’s new project, PHOTOVOICE IRAQ: Picturing Change, we thought it would be a good idea to discuss why photography is such a powerful and important medium.  To explore this, we called a professional. Henry Arvidsson is a professional photographer based out of the Netherlands.  Part of the United Nations Special Commission envoy, Henry first went to Iraq in the early/mid 90’s to document the dismantling of WMD’s.  His work there formed an intimate portrait of Iraq not often seen in Western media.  Fifteen years after this first trip, he returned to Baghdad in 2011 to see

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A Conversation with Ahmed Ali

Last week, our executive director Erik sat down with Ahmed Ali to discuss the challenges facing Iraq’s education system, and the value of programs like PHOTOVOICE IRAQ: Picturing Change.  Ahmed is not only an Iraq analyst and scholar whose work has been published in Foreign Policy Magazine and the Arab Reform Bulletin and whose commentary is featured on international news, he also has the rare distinction of being a former EPIC staff member!  We’d like to share the conversation with you.

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Stand Up, Be Counted

Everyone loves a census, from the obvious politicians and policy makers, to builders, educators, geographers, and business people.  Napoleon was famous for them.  Everyone can gain something from the information conveyed in a census which is often referred to as the bedrock of government.  To sum it up: how can you govern a country and plan for the future, if you don’t know how many citizens you have and where they are? A census acts like a snapshot of a country.  From age to occupation, religion to income, it gauges trends and tabulates numbers to provide a model for statisticians.

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Today, and Every Day

August 13th is International Youth Day, a day to celebrate young people and their contributions to making the world a better place.  It is also a day to remember the importance of investing in the next generation. This Youth Day, consider a charitable contribution to our new project on Indiegogo!

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Now Is the Time to Spread Hope

It has been difficult to find bright spots in recent news coming out of Iraq.  For an organization like EPIC the most current news on Iraq is key, and the last month has been particularly bleak.  July saw reports of 436 civilian casualties, violence which has continued into August.[1] It is clear that conflict in Iraq is far from over.  The road to democracy and peace was never going to be easy, but recent stumbling blocks have challenged even the strongest of convictions.  It can be easy to lose hope. But as Iraq seems to falter, we must remember that

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Back to the Beginning

Exploring the Origins of Photovoice Imagine you’re an academic in South America, around the 1950’s or 60’s.  It’s a pretty exciting time to be an academic.  With the Cold War in full swing the world has become a battleground of ideas, and you are on the front lines. You’ve just come out of university in the capital, but now eagerly leave the city and head out into the rural villages.  You’re excited to spread these new ideas- workers rights, community organizing, the history of colonialism, the latest economic practices, new agricultural techniques- but when you finally reach the village, you

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PHOTOVOICE IRAQ: Picturing Change Press Release

Kids with Cameras: The Key to Peace in Iraq? EPIC (The Education for Peace in Iraq Center) has launched fundraising efforts for its most recent field project, PHOTOVOICE IRAQ: Picturing Change. The project, using the proven technique of photovoice will give twenty Iraqi youth the opportunity to document the changes they see in their communities through photos. By accompanying these photos with short narratives, Picturing Change has the potential to inspire its participants to be a force of positive change in Iraq. Having started off as a community-needs assessment tool, photovoice has become a means of empowerment. Seeing success in

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A Face in the Crowd(funding)

Shakespeare wrote for money.  Othello, Hamlet, and Macbeth would never have sprung off the page if not for royal funding.  To paint his masterpiece The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo was commissioned by the Vatican.  Having great ideas was a good start, but without the money to back them, some of history’s finest works would never have been made. Modern venture capitalists work in a similar way.  No longer a community only of Popes and Kings, they find ideas they think will be successful and fund them.  The rise of Facebook, made famous by Hollywood, is a classic example of

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Iraq’s Citizen Journalists

“Under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, the media were nothing more than a government mouthpiece. But after the war, it was different. I saw the need to tell the world what was happening in my country.” – Bassam Sebti, former journalist for the Washington Post in Iraq The story of Iraq’s journalists is something near to my heart. During my first couple of weeks at EPIC, I wrote a blog post about a popular journalist who had been killed, simply for doing his job. The whole time I was thinking of one of my closest friends, Justin, who’s dream is to

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