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Iraq, the Invisible

“It was not the 2003 invasion that brought my country to its knees. Things have always been very bad… They just got much worse.” This is what my Arabic professor told me last fall, speaking of her home nation Iraq. I listened to her words and understood that this information was exclusive to the classroom; no one else was hearing her story. And now that the war is over, it seems even less likely that anyone will.

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“You’re an intern at EPIC? That’s so epic!”

It is fitting that my first day at EPIC would be the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  Aside from pools opening, mass exoduses to the beach, and delicious cookouts, we are called upon to remember and honor those who have served our country in an effort to maintain peace. As I’m getting my bearings around our office, and seeing how EPIC’s mission is put into practice, I find myself considering the situation of peace in Iraq.  Is the absence of violence the peace that we hope for? Or are we seeking to achieve a peace characterized by harmony and a robust

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EPIC Welcomes its Summer Interns!

A dramatic change has taken place, all over the District of Columbia. The temperature has risen, flowers are in full bloom, everywhere I look I see people in shorts and sandals. One other thing, the District has been flooded with summer interns.  Bringing with them their bright minds, unbridled enthusiasm, and willingness to work, they’ve given a more rapid pace to the pulse of the city. And EPIC is no exception! This year we are pleased to welcome two very talented individuals to our team.

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Wanted: Conflict Resolution Intern

EPIC is looking for a motivated intern to begin immediately. As we work to implement our youth and peacebuilding initiatives in Iraq, our EPIC intern will work with staff in Washington, DC, to assist in researching, designing, and implementing our second Iraqi Youth Hike( other programs. We are currently looking for Master’s Degree candidates or recent graduates with academic or professional experience in the following areas: 1. Grants research & proposal writing 2. Conflict Analysis 3. Curriculumand ProjectDesign 4. Peacebuilding and/or international youth development An interest in environmental education is a plus. If you’re looking for a challenging internship where you’ll

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US Falters in Protecting Iraqi Refugees

Following the outbreak of civil war in Iraq in February 2006, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey, and more than 1.5 million became displaced within Iraq. Some families relocated to escape an escalation of general violence in their areas, while others fled targeted persecution, including members of religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, scholars, LGBT Iraqis, and those who formerly worked with Americans or other Westerners – whether military, government, or aid agency. As long as the factors that led to their displacement persist, returning home will never be an option. Instead, these displaced

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There’s more in Iraq than just oil

This morning, a Bloomberg Businessweek article proudly proclaimed “Iraq Oil Output Beating Iran Ends Saddam Legacy.” I agree with Bloomberg that this is an important milestone for the country, one which will generate life saving revenue for development and rebuilding. However, I believe there are two problems with this statement: first, Bloomberg is mistaken in thinking that as complicated a subject as the legacy of Saddam Hussein lies in oil production. The root of Saddam’s legacy actually resides in the violence that exists in the Iraqi political culture. Second, Saddam’s legacy has not, in fact, been eradicated.

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Advancing Democracy in Iraq

If you are like me and you grew up in a democratic society, it can be easy to take democracy and all its trappings for granted. But recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what “democracy” means as a concept, a practice, and a system of government. In particular, what does it take for a democratic society to function and be sustained? And how does a traditional tribal society (from which, in human history, we have all come) or populations overcoming dictatorship make the transition to democracy? Iraq’s movement towards democracy has been difficult to dissect. Iraq is a resource-rich,

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World Press Freedom Day

Every morning, as I fight off my lingering urge to return to bed, I surround myself by the news. On my phone, on the radio, on TV. Maybe it’s because I live in a city where politics is our bread and butter – or maybe water and oxygen make a better analogy. Maybe I just like feeling “plugged in.” Then again, maybe I’m being too hard on myself – millions all over the world probably did the same thing during their mornings, or something similar. I’ve got a great deal of respect for journalists – I probably wouldn’t be able

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NGO Letter to President Obama

Over 40 U.S.-based Organizations Applaud President Obama’s Promise to Help Iraqis Impacted by the War in Iraq Groups Call for a Comprehensive Humanitarian, Development and Refugee Resettlement Strategy led by Civilian Agencies For Immediate Release – Contact: Erik Gustafson at EPIC 202-682-0208 March 4, 2009 (Washington, DC) – Writing to President Barack Obama in response to his new Iraq strategy, more than 40 leading U.S.-based organizations praise the President’s promise to help vulnerable Iraqis and call for a comprehensive humanitarian, development and refugee resettlement strategy led by civilian agencies. The letter’s recommendations reflect broad consensus among aid agencies working inside

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