Electoral processes and laws, educational processes, peace-making and national reconciliation and peaceful co-existence were some of the themes explored at a series of dynamic and innovative workshops held at the University of Kufa Iraq (in collaboration with the Lebanese American University in Beirut) and facilitated by Professor Hassan Nadhem, UNESCO Chair on the Development of Inter- Religious Dialogue Studies in the Islamic World.

A wide range of attendees participated in the workshops: Deans, University Professors, representatives of civil society organisations in Najaf, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of the Interior, Najaf Women’s Organization, Al-Alamain Institute for Postgraduate Studies and Clerics.

The outcomes from the workshops will form part of an integrated research paper that will be presented at the Conference later this year.

Workshop 1:      Peaceful Co-existence in Iraq

Held 20 December 2018, the aim of the workshop was to reflect on how best to create a culture of tolerance and acceptance amongst Iraqi youth and how students can play an active role in peace-making thereby contributing the rebuilding of their country where citizens coexist in peace and harmony.

Key to this process is helping students become more aware of the harms and consequences of sectarianism and extremism – the students, in this case were not learners but rather the future educators within their communities.

Workshop 2:      Peace-Making and National Reconciliation

The workshop, held 7 January 2019, was an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the challenges of peace building and national reconciliation in Iraq: the importance of diagnosing problems around peace building, ways to return to harmonious multi-sectarian cities and the rehabilitation of people who lived under the barbarism of ISIS.

Workshop 3:      The Electoral Process and its Laws

Attendees of the workshop held 14 January 2019 reflected on electoral laws and the challenges of reforming the electoral process. Also discussed were experiences around Iraqi Parliamentary elections from 2005 to 2018.

Workshop 4:      Education and its Impact on Coexistence, Citizenship and Human Rights

Held 21 January 2019, workshop attendees had the opportunity to explore key concepts around the educational process and its impact on the creation of a communities’ conscious of coexistence, citizenship and human rights.

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