The Unwavering Spirit of Iraqi Women

Posted by Sarah G. Thomas
April 1, 2010
Painting Entiteld Cooperation as Featured in Colors of Warka Exhibit

About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as Editorial Assistant to DipNote.

On Tuesday, March 23, I had the opportunity to attend an extraordinary program, “-sponsored event. Ambassador Verveer reminded us that “no country can prosper if half its citizens are left behind.” She then introduced the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaidaie.

Prior to becoming ambassador, Sumaidaie served as the Minister of the Interior and as the First Permanent Representative of the New Iraq to the United Nations. The Ambassador emphasized the unstoppable spirit of Iraqi women. He also spoke of the need to increase women's participation in Iraqi politics. He said, “We cannot fight or flourish without women.”

Following the Ambassador's remarks, Aaron Snipe, a Foreign Service Officer in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the moderator of the event, introduced the visiting panelists. As a member of a Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in Iraq, Snipe had the opportunity to work with female artists in Muthanna in 2008. Snipe's PRT team, in conjunction with a local non-governmental organization, sponsored an art program art program for the women artists of Muthanna. The program, which captured local and national media attention in Iraq, provided an often-neglected part of Iraqi society the opportunity to freely display their talents for the first time. Snipe said, “The paintings represent courage, freedom of expression, hope, dreams, and a desire to be heard.”

The stories of the panelists vividly demonstrated all of those qualities. The panelists are part of the delegation of 15 Iraqi female Provincial Council members visiting Washington from March 13-27. They hail from eight provinces and represent a wide variety of issues: human rights, health and environment, public relations, women and children, public services, the handicapped, economic and essential services, and transportation and communications.

Regardless of the apparent differences and interests among the panelists, it is clear that each Iraqi woman strives to advance women's rights. Despite the difficulties and challenges they confront, their spirit is unwavering and their work will continue to improve the lives of all Iraqis.

Related Entries:Through Their Paintings, Everyone Will Know Their Stories and The Colors of Warka Debuts in Washington



Kansas, USA
April 2, 2010

Tim in Kansas writes:

It's great to see that the United States is beginning to understand of not only development, but of the development and empowerment of women around the world. I hope and trust that with our new leadership, the United States will continue to be a pillar of freedom and democracy that not only sets the bar, but transcends the expectations of the global community and the process of promoting peace, liberty, and prosperity.

Good work and please keep it up!

With Respect,

District Of Columbia, USA
April 2, 2010

Sawsan in Washington, DC writes:

Thank you Sarah for this impressive article, I agree with you and I think the panel was remarkable.

Virginia, USA
April 3, 2010

Elizabeth in Virginia writes:

I am so glad to have come across such an uplifting article! Thank you for providing the link to the artwork slideshow, it proved how unforgettable this event must have been. It's impossible for us to understand what these determined women have endured -- how lucky we are for their courage to share it.

Pennsylvania, USA
April 3, 2010

Romona in Pennsylvania writes:

"Each Iraqi woman strives to advance women's rights. Despite the difficulties and challenges they confront, their spirit is unwavering and their work will continue to improve the lives of all Iraqis."

Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so glad I took the time to read this article. We hold these women up in our prayers!


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