Category: Iraq Matters Podcast

#26: Civil Society and Youth Respond to Iraq’s Needs

On this edition of Iraq Matters, we speak with Hala al-Sarraf, one woman who is going to extraordinary measures to help meet the needs of vulnerable families in Iraq. Listen as she discusses how Iraqi civil society groups are operating in Iraq's difficult environment, why local NGOs ought to be empowered and trusted to lead aid efforts, and the critical role that youth volunteers play in shaping Iraq's humanitarian progress.

#25: Poetry and the Evolution of Free Speech in Iraq

EPIC Program Manager Taif Jany talks with celebrated Iraqi poet, activist, and human rights lawyer Amal al-Jubouri about the challenges to free speech that she faced prior to the 2003 US-led invasion, the importance of sharing Iraq's story with the world, and the role of young women in shaping Iraq's future.

#23: A Trip Report on Iraq’s Displacement Crisis with Refugees International

Since the escalation of armed conflict in Iraq that began with ISIS seizing territory in Anbar in January 2014, 3.2 million people have fled their homes. As Refugees International reports: "They are living in rented accommodations, unfinished buildings, and makeshift camps, often without adequate food, water, or medical care." We talk with Refugees International's Senior Advocate Daryl Grisgraber about her recent mission to Baghdad and her visits to the southern city of Hilla and a hard-to-reach area in Anbar. Get a firsthand account of the crisis, including untold stories of some of the families most affected and of youth volunteers who are responding to their needs. We then share highlights of our recent briefing with Ahmed Ali, including his views on the fight against ISIS, the challenges facing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the recent unrest in Iraqi Kurdistan.

#22: Giving Voice to the Street Kids and Orphans of Iraq

For years, we've been singing the praises of the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF). Today we're thrilled to finally share their inspiring story with you. Just days after their most recent mission to Baghdad, we sit down with ICF co-founder Jonathan Webb. After four years of experiencing the war in Iraq up-close and personal, Jonathan returned with a very different vision for Iraq. In 2008, he co-founded ICF to mobilize a life-changing “Surge of Love” for millions of children traumatized by violence in Iraq. Jonathan shares the story of ICF's success in helping orphans and other vulnerable children living on the streets of war-torn Iraq, and what he's learned from partnering with some of Iraq's most extraordinary civil society leaders. Also included, an Iraq update from our EPIC's research team.

#21: One Year After the Fall of Sinjar

One year ago this week, ISIS captured the city of Sinjar, the historic home of Iraq's Yazidi community. ISIS massacred hundreds of residents in cold blood and kidnapped thousands of women and children. To learn what has happened to the people of Sinjar since then, we talk with Christine van den Toorn, director of the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. Also featured: an Iraq update with our Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor research team.

#20: Under Threat: an Exclusive Report from Iraqi Kurdistan

With the war against ISIS, a worsening fiscal crisis, and the challenge of hosting 1.5 million Iraqis and Syrians displaced by ISIS militants, Cathy Otten of IRIN reports that Iraqi Kurdistan is nearing ‘the breaking point.’ To learn more, EPIC Senior Fellow Ahmed Ali joins us from Erbil in an exclusive interview with the KRG’s Minister of Planning Ali Sindi. We then turn to Joel Wing of “Musings on Iraq” for an update on the latest security and humanitarian developments in Iraq.