Monday, October 27, 2008

Iraq Symposium Inspires, Energizes Community Working for Peace in Iraq

WE’RE BACK from Iraq at the Crossroads and here to tell you about our experience!

On Friday the EPIC team participated in a national symposium on Iraq— Iraq at the Crossroads: Protecting Refugees, Rescuing Our Allies, and Empowering Iraqi Law.

Sponsored by Rutgers School of Law in Newark, NJ, the university brought together members of the Washington non-profit community, aid organizers, writers, political leaders, filmmakers, resettled Iraqis, students, and activists, all working to promote a free and secure Iraq.

The day included four panels of speakers and was opened by National Editor of The Washington Post, Rajiv Chandrasekaran. His introduction laid a brief and insightful foundation for understanding the situation in Iraq, recounting the serious failures of the Unites States government’s policy following the 2003 led intervention.

Washington, he said, “sent the loyal and the willing.” Centered in Baghdad's green zone--“the neoconservative terrarium,"--US political leaders were hard-pressed to realize the realities of a country quickly crumbling to chaos in the absence of government. Chandrasekaran pointed to the upcoming January provincial elections as an opportunity for Iraqis to direct the development of their country and to regain some of the control they will need to move forward.

The day brought together some of the nation's most passionate and experienced people, working to find the best solution for Iraq and its people. All agreed the humanitarian crisis needs to be at the forefront of the agenda.

As the day came to a close, people boarded their trains and planes back to their busy lives, bringing with them new understanding, new friendships, and a resolve to continue their work for a sustainable, just and peaceful solution in Iraq.

Photo caption: Construction workers in Iraq give the peace sign. USAID.

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