From the 15th of December to the 17th of December 2022, the 7th season of the Iraqi Social Forum was conducted, which will be tackled in detail below.
On the 16th of November, the ISF Secretariat set a new challenge for themselves, announcing and inviting everyone to the 7th season of the Iraqi Social Forum. This entailed a month of working days and nights, in order to accomplish this season’s slogan “Solidarity for Another Iraq is Possible”, in a collective and organized way, with the help of volunteers who chose to get involved because of their belief in the ISF. The work to be undertaken involved splitting into voluntary teams, and each team was formed based on their mission, such as logistics, media, program.
Fast forward to the 15th of December, after the collective hard work, the opening ceremony of the 7th season for the Iraqi Social Forum was conducted within the Saint Yousif Hall. It began with an opening speech by the National Committee of ISF, who assured that ISF will be carrying the values of the Iraqi civil society along the journey, just like they always have. This was followed by a beautiful entertainment show conducted by Sanjat Band.
The following day, the 16th of December, the workshops, seminars and focus groups, as well as the discussions and working groups, were conducted by a variety of unions, syndicates, N.G.Os, C.S.Os and networks, in order to work on thematic issues within the ISF paths. Some of these issues included the Environment and Water; Social and Economic Rights, Women’s Rights as well as Equality, Education and Minorities.
The program for the 16th and 17th day of the season, as can be seen below highlights how each activity is focused on a specific thematic issue.
The topics the organizations have chosen to tackle, also show the priorities that civil society is working on. For example, the second version of Dijlah Talk was conducted by Humat Dijlah Association this season, as one of the first activities on the agenda. It has hosted a variety of officials and experts to tackle drought and water policies, alongside other activities by organizations related to the environment, such as plastic risks and climate change. Another topic was transitional justice by Al Amal Association and Tammuz Organisation. The minorities’ rights and social diversity was tackled by many organizations such as AshurBanipal Cultural Association, Al-Nidhal Association and Maysan Social Forum. Social and Economic rights were also brought up by syndicates and organizations. Last but not least, freedom of expression was addressed and all of that was only during the first day!
Waking up the second morning to tackle the women’s participation in the October uprising was something that the Information Center for Research and Development decided to do, within the agenda of the 7th season of ISF. Education and Women’s Rights and Equality were addressed by many organizations like Women for Peace, Iraqi Women Network and Ramadi Peace Forum.
The season was finalized by a session on the effect of the cross-border bombing in northern Iraq, which was conducted by End Cross Border Bombing Campaign, who have summarized a report that was released by them which presented the political, economical, social and environmental effects of these attacks, alongside the activities of their delegation in Baghdad.
Finally, the season was finalized by one last activity on 21st of December, in Al-Amal Association, which collected all the recommendations and outcomes of the activities within the season of the Iraqi Social Forum, in order to set a clear path to make another Iraq possible.