IRAQI KURDISTAN: April 2016 Newsletter–Trainings, Visits to villages affected by Turkish bombings and IDP camps


12 May 2016
IRAQI KURDISTAN: April 2016– Trainings, visits to IDP camps and villages affected by Turkish bombings


April 2016

Iraqi Kurdistan


Graduates of 2016 CPT Training in Iraqi Kurdistan

A special 250 Hours Changing Lives


Congratulations to the graduates!

From the end of January to the beginning of April, nine trainees from Colombia, Poland, Syria and Iraqi-Kurdistan, completed and  graduated from an intensive training in peace and active nonviolence. This was the second training led by the CPT-IK team in Sulaimani,  giving a chance to those people who want to work as a peacemakers—serving people in crisis and conflict settings around the world.

* for more photos and short stories about the training, please visit:https:


Stories in Art from Iraqi Kurdistan: Exhibition in Canada

“Stories in art from Iraqi Kurdistan” is an art project by the Mennonite Heritage gallery in Winnipeg, Canada with support of a CPT’er Kathy Thiessen. She collected art from different groups in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq while she served with CPT.

These art pieces are responses by the Ezidi, Kurdish, Assyrian and Arab communities to the brutality of ISIS. These communities continue to ask for solidarity from the international community. Thank you Kathy for your wonderful work.


Mediation Trainings

As a part of a joint CPT mediation project, CPT reservist Marcus Armstrong has been working with various NGOs and groups in and around Sulaimani.


He is providing training in mediation skills, project evaluation and project development workshops, and is supporting NGOs to create strategies for coping with the various obstacles and challenges they face trying to run mediation projects in the IDP and refugee camps. Among these challenges are cultural difficulties, the protection and safety of mediators, and community cohesion and trust issues.


The workshops have been moving for Marcus as he is hearing first hand about the amazing and courageous peace-making work being done by the teams in the camps under very testing circumstances. Marcus says “I have been deeply touched by the passion and commitment of the mediation teams who are trying so very hard to support the camp and host communities, both in conflict resolution and social cohesion. They are providing a fundamental source of hope to the people. I myself really hope I can return soon to continue this vital work with the inspiring mediators here.

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

Albert Schweitzer


Visit to Mountain Villages Affected by Turkish Bombing

On 15 April the team visited a valley hidden high up in the Qandil mountains of the Pishdar District. A long-term friend and partner of CPT Mukhtar Khidr* (name changed) invited the team for lunch and a meeting with other village leaders at his house.
Ten leaders of the valley villages gathered to discuss safety issues and problems resulting from a lack of public services. Because of the Turkish military actions and issues of regional party politics, the basic infrastructure lies either broken or non-existent. The villagers have repeatedly asked the Kurdistan Regional Government representatives to bring in power lines and to build a school and a clinic. Mukhtar Khidr asked CPT to accompany him to another meeting with the authorities, to raise their need for electricity and longing for bringing more life to his village and the valley.
He told the team, “You are like a bridge between us and the outside world. Your presence helps us feel stronger.” 
To Read the Reflection: Go Now and Drive as Fast As you Can



Three days of deep sharing, community building, joy, and exploring new ways of standing up to violence.

On 17-19 April at the Barika refugee camp, CPT supported another Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop, as part of an on-going joint project with STEP and UNDP.

The twenty workshop participants were youth workers and project managers of two organizations working with vulnerable children and youth in the IDP and refugee camps and in Sulaimani, namely STEP (Seeking to Equip People) and KSC (Kurdistan Save the Children). Lukasz Firla from CPT and three AVP apprentice facilitators from STEP: Mustafa, Radwan and Ferhad facilitated this three day long workshop. STEP staff did a wonderful job organizing the workshops and logistics.

The participants and facilitators built new friendships and learned new things about themselves, others, and ways to respond to and transform violence.

In the words of one participant: “I have attended many workshops and felt bored… just a lot of information. I expected something similar coming to this one too. But I am leaving happy and content. I had an amazing time and learned so many new things in a very special way. Thank you so much.” 

To see more photos from the workshop: click on this link.




Origami at Arbat IDP Camp

On 26 April, CPTers Marcus and Chihchun and some of the youth of Arbat camp spent one and half hours doing Origami. Most of the participants were boys.

Some young people had laboured hands, and initially the delicacy needed for Origami was a challenge. They learned quickly and soon everyone had made a beautiful crane and had written their name on it. Each was a unique work!

To Read the Reflection: Origami at Arbat IDP Camp

To know more about Arbat Camp: My tent is beautiful



connect with us and get involved.

Click on the links below







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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