On 14 February, under the name “Diwaniyah Festival for Love and Peace,” the Diwaniyah Environment and Peace Forum held its second annual festival to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the people of Diwaniyah. The festival was held in the gardens of Al Hurriya Family Park, where the festival included artistic and musical events, and bazaars supporting local arts and crafts.
The festival opened on Thursday evening with open-air events, which included many booths that varied between companies and local industry. The skills of young artists from the city were also on display, with a special area for them to exhibit their photographic and artistic images of various archaeological works and sites. Handcrafts, games and dolls were also displayed, showcasing works done by local women.
In addition to stage activities, the open area included live expressive drawing, crafting women’s accessories, and face-painting for children. Volunteers also organized a campaign to collect signatures and well wishes for cancer patients for the upcoming International Day for Cancer Patients.
The Diwaniyah Environment Directorate was given a special stand during the festival. Representatives displayed a large collection of pictures showcasing the natural environment for birds and wild animals in the city. There were also informational and advocacy signs explaining how to preserve the environment and how to reduce water consumption. The Directorate also showed materials that are used during field research trips in the hopes of raising public awareness of the environment and the importance of preserving it.
The festival started with the singing of the Iraqi national anthem and reciting the Quran in the memory of martyrs. This was followed by the opening ceremony hosted by the coordinator of the forum, Laith Al-Aboudi, who welcomed the audience and explained the work and achievements of the Diwaniya Forum for Environment and Peace. This included sharing with the audience the Forum’s achievements during its first year of operations, including public campaigns around important social and economic issues.
A group of distinguished poets, men and women from Diwaniyah, shared a number of their poems. The young poet Hussein Al-Amidi, from the city of Babel, participated and delighted the audience with his beautiful poems. Oud player Haider al-Lami also performed for the audience, playing compositions from the late artist Nazem al-Ghazali. A group of young people from the city also performed a theatrical piece entitled “Love Across Roofs,” and shared a painting symbolizing peace and coexistence between the children of Iraq from all sects.
The festival ended with the distribution of Honor Shields , and certificates to the director of the Palace of Culture and Arts for his continued support of the Forum, and to a group of civil society organizations and event participants.
This was the Diwaniyah Environment and Peace Forum’s second annual festival. It was held in cooperation with the Information Center for Research and Development, the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative and the Italian organization, Un Ponte Per…, within the framework of the Iraqi Social Forum, and supported by the Swiss Foundation FAI as part of the activities of the Mesopotamia for Democratic Rule and Peaceful Coexistence project.
Diwaniyah Forum for Peace and Environment