Taif Sabah Alwachi \ Baghdad
Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative
Welcome dear audience at the annual 8th conference of the Iraq civil society solidarity initiative. First of all, on behalf of my colleagues in the initiative, and on behalf of all of you, I would like to thank the Association of Iraqi Engineers for hosting this conference, the organizational committee and the dozens of volunteers who have been with us for a long time to prepare for this conference that helped us get what we have now, let us salute their dedication and ability to accomplish the required work, which refers in a clear indication that the youth of Iraq are capable of creativity and giving. They accepted the challenge and succeed in it.
With its ten years, the Iraq civil society solidarity initiative celebrates with you all and with activists attended from various cities across Iraq and more than 15 other countries around the world.
Over the past years we have shared a common struggle that adopted the principle of solidarity as a starting point on which together hundreds of activists between Iraq and the world with the aim of establishing the values of peace, coexistence and the sovereignty of human rights.
The eighth conference of the Iraq civil society solidarity initiative is gathering us today for the first time in Baghdad after years of organizing the conference in different cities around the world from Rome to Paris to Erbil, then Basra, Oslo, and Sulaymaniyah.
I can’t hide the secret that the process of organizing the conference this year in Baghdad has faced a lot of obstacles and challenges, but the whole thing from the beginning was a bet on the ability of the voluntary system that we have been developing for years and the strength of local partners with whom we have deep-rooted work ties.
There is no doubt that the conference of 2019 is the most important, not because it is held for the first time in Baghdad only, but the size of international participation and the of dozens of our international friends that honored us by coming to Baghdad in order to achieve the first goals of the conference to show the real beautiful image of Baghdad and help in the discussion of social issues that face Iraq and the needs of international solidarity in a deeper and closer way to reality.
We meet today and tomorrow with the aim of raising a number of questions, most notably:- what are the main challenges and achievements of the Iraqi civil society over the last ten years? How can the activists of civil society rebuild Iraq now? What is the impact of social movements on Iraq policy? What forms of international solidarity the most effective? Lastly what type of international solidarity is needed to support the goals of civil society today?
It is worth mentioning here that we as Iraqis and internationals have a responsibility to develop the system of solidarity and the way for doing that is by answering those questions.
In conclusion, thank you all very much for your presence with us and many of you who have bothered to travel to be among us and I wish you a successful conference that will meet your expectations. I also wish our colleagues would enjoy their presence with us among their friends. We prepared a program for the evenings that we hope you enjoy it. Enjoy your staying in Baghdad. This beautiful city welcomes and embraces you.