Iraqi and international members of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative and the Iraqi Social Forum have been working over the last several months to organize an international conference concerning civil society in Iraq. Following an invitation by the Norway Social Forum to take part in their bi-annual event, and in partnership and with support of The Karibu Foundation, it was decided to hold the ICSSI Conference 2014 in Oslo, Norway. In response to the crisis now devastating Iraq, the primary themes of this year’s conference will be: promoting dialogue and reconciliation, working for peaceful coexistence, and opportunities for international solidarity with Iraqi civil society. A delegation of 15 Iraqi civil society activists are expected to take part in the meetings and workshops in Oslo, October 27-29, 2014, just before The Globalization Conference of the Norway Social Forum.

We are issuing an urgent call for activists from around the world to come to Oslo to learn from Iraqis about the situation in Iraq, to understand how we can support their activism, and to work in solidarity for a peaceful and just resolution of the current crisis.

logo_ICSSI_newThe Globalization Conference

The Norwegian component of the World Social Forum process will hold its bi-annual international gathering, “The Globalization Conference” (Globaliseringskonferansen) at the Oslo Congress Centre (Folkets Hus) from October 30 to November 2, 2014. The conference will include debates, workshops, presentations, concerts, movies and theatre.

As part of this conference, the Iraqi delegation will organize a special session on Iraq titled, Hope for Peace and Development in Iraq:  Meet the Iraqi Social Forum, on Friday, October 31. They will share perspectives on how, more than 11 years after the U.S. invasion, Iraqis are still struggling to overcome the effects of war and to subdue the sectarian conflicts that emerged during the occupation and have been exacerbated by the current Iraqi government.

The Iraqi Social Forum

The Iraqi delegation that will travel to Oslo was organized by the Iraqi Social Forum (ISF). In September 2013, Iraqi civil society movements joined forces within the ISF to propose just alternatives to war and violence, visions for a sustainable peace, and the reconstruction of their country. More than 3000 Iraqi participants, primarily youth, human rights activists, women activists and trade unionists, along with an international solidarity delegation, participated in three days of activities organized by the ISF in Baghdad. The ISF featured civil society campaigns to promote human rights and social justice. During the Oslo conference, the Iraqi delegation will present the ISF dynamics and outline its major campaigns: Save the Tigris, Freedom of Expression, Workers’ Rights, Women’s Rights, Sports Against Violence, Stop Private Military and Security Companies.

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) Conference of 2014

The ICSSI Conference of 2014 will take place in Oslo before the Globalization Conference. It will begin with a social event in the late afternoon of October 27, to connect the Iraqi delegation with members of the Iraqi community in Norway and with international and Norwegian CSOs that may be interested in attending the ICSSI conference and/or joining the ICSSI.

The main objective of the ICSSI conference sessions on October 28 and 29 will be to have an open and wide-ranging discussion about the current situation in Iraq. Participants will discuss options for promoting dialogue among all members of Iraqi society and pressuring the Iraqi government to support reconciliation and reject war as a solution to the current crisis. International delegates will focus on how to support Iraqi civil society’s efforts to rebuild a stable political system in which all citizens can participate without discrimination or bias. Participants will discuss the campaigns currently led by Iraqi CSOs and supported by ICSSI. They will review the internal structure of ICSSI, its international linkages, communications, funding sources and sustainability. Participants will also discuss the work plan and process of the ISF going forward; a specific focus will be how to follow up on The Globalization Conference and develop on-going relations with the Norway Social Forum.

Tentative program is available here, the final  program will be published and disseminated by ICSSI by early October.

The Logistic Note ICSSI Conference 2014 for those who wish to participate in the conference is available here.

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If you would like to participate, please click here to register. Early registration is highly recommended if you need a visa for Norway.

The ICSSI Conference 2014 is supported by

Karibu Foundation and Fondation Assistance Internationale

through the Italian NGO Un ponte per…