IRAQI KURDISTAN: March 2016 Newsletter now available!


11 April 2016
IRAQI KURDISTAN: March 2016 Newsletter now available!

MARCH 2016

Iraqi Kurdistan

45th CPT training nears its end.

For the past two months a very diverse group of trainees from different countries, cultures and religious backgrounds came together under one umbrella – peace. As the CPT training nears its end, we are experiencing many sad and emotional moments, as we got along together very well and became close friends. However, we know that this is not the end. We will leave the training having had an amazing experience, and having gained immense knowledge during our time together.


Newroz – Celebrating the new year of 2716 !

The participants on the 45th CPT training joined other friends to celebrate the 2716 New Kurdish Year (Nawroz) by visiting the Kurdish mountains. Nawroz represents freedom, renewed hope and Kurdish dreams.



International Women`s Day

On 8th March CPT participated in a celebration of International Women’s Day organized by REACH (Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health), a local NGO. We attended the opening of the first market in Iraqi Kurdistan run by women who fled the war in Syria. The gathering also gave young women from different communities the opportunity to share their art and handmade crafts. The gathering closed with theater, music and dance performances and gave hope that equality for all people is possible.


CPT joint mediation training with STEP and UN in Suleimani


In September and October of 2015, CPT organised and ran three 6 day basic training courses in mediation skills – one for CPT team members, one for STEP (Seeking to Equip People) Child Protection Unit staff who work in IDP (internally displaced persons) and refugee camps, and one for a REACH women’s group project in the nearby village of Baynjan. These workshops were facilitated by Marcus Armstrong, a CPT reservist.

Marcus returned in March 2016 to continue the joint project – this time funded by CPT, STEP and the UN. The photograph above shows the STEP Child Protection Unit staff during their 4 day follow-up training in Suleimani.

Over the 4 days the attendees covered a wide variety of topics, including: exploring the joys and challenges of working as a mediator, cultural and other issues affecting the mediators, workshops on forgiveness, identity and embracing life, and a session on looking ahead to what the team will need in the future. It was a vibrant, deeply reflective and exciting few days, punctuated with lots of laughter, a few tears and much intense sharing along the way.

After this 4 day follow-up, Marcus facilitated another 6 day basic training in mediation for staff from STEP and other local partners, including some STEP managers.

It is hoped that when the mediators have gained enough experience and built their confidence, they will be trained as trainers in order to roll out the project more extensively in the region.


Oil companies continue to steal and destroy land 

On 29th February 2016 two CPT team members – Julie and Mohammed – went to Hajji Ahmed to meet with Kak Miro, the village leader. Villagers have been struggling to maintain their land rights and have also been trying to gain adequate compensation for lands already confiscated by Exxon Mobil. CPT has been helping to raise the voices of villagers since August 2013.

Julie and Mohammed wrote: “We arrived mid-morning and stopped in front of Kak Miro’s home which overlooks the small village of Hajji Ahmed. Kak Miro greeted us with a warm welcome and walked with us to the entrance of his home stopping to show us his garden and sharing plans for where he will be planting new trees this spring.  After that he invited us inside where his wife brought us tea and Kak Miro began to update us on the current situation.

Read more in our blog


CPT, along with STEP, delivered two Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops in the first week of March. AVP workshops give the participants tools with which to transform violence and unbalanced power dynamics in their everyday lives.

CPT team members were very happy to have the opportunity to train around 36 participants from different backgrounds. Some of them were refugees from Syria, some IDP`s from other parts of Iraq such as Yazidis, Christians and Arabs and a few were from the Iraqi Kurdish host community.

At the end of the three day workshops, participants expressed their hopes of having more of this type of training in the future. As one participant from the city of Qamishlo in Syria said; “I would love to become an AVP trainer”. 





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Currently, our team needs a new oven,as the old one is not very functional. It is constantly burning our food and using extra power.

A new functional oven costs $300 in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Please, click on this link to help us buy a new oven.
Put “oven” in the description.

We need your support.

Thank you very much!


Mission: Christian Peacemaker Teams: Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.
Vision: A world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation.
Values: Christian Peacemaker Teams is committed to work and relationships that: Honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality; Strengthen grassroots initiatives; Transform structures of domination and oppression; Embody creative non-violence and liberating love.


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