From this year forward, the Iraqi Social Forum (ISF) intends to spread the social forum model from Baghdad to other cities in Iraq. The ISF will act as facilitator of local fora, which will join the national initiative. The methodology used will be the same of the World Social Forum, based on the voluntary work of independent civil society , the strong leadership of women and young people, groups of self-organization and celebration of their diversity, in a platform of common principles for an ideal shared mission. An example of a newly-founded local social forum is to be found in Najaf. They held one of their first activities last moth.
Two consecutive trainings in non-violence were organized from 8 – 15 September 2017 in the city of Najaf in collaboration with thte ISF. Members of the Najaf Social Forum will organize similar trainings in the coming weeks as a way to raise awareness, establishing the principles of nonviolence within society, and building a youth base that is committed to peace building and tolerance.
Participants learned about the origins of the Najaf Social Forum, as well as its goals and vision. The facilitators of the training presented the concepts of violence and nonviolence, asking attendees to think about differences between the two, in theory and in practice. There was also a presentation of some of the most successful nonviolent campaigns, both at the local and international levels, as well as an explanation of several methods of nonviolent protest and effective persuasion. This training will incorporate participants in the Najaf Social Forum to campaign for non-violence in the city.
The trainings were funded by the Swiss FAI Foundation in cooperation with the Iraqi Social Forum (ISF) / Nonviolence Group, the Information Center for Research and Development (ICRD), Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) and Un Ponte Per… (UPP).