Out of the Siege

7 March 2015, 11:49

The “Out of the siege” project was launched in 2015 and has three main objectives.

The first objective is to continue safeguarding the cultural heritage of Iraq’s many ancient ethnic minorities which make up the country’s cultural mosaic, but who are frequently victims of violence and persecution, putting their heritage at risk of being destroyed.

After 12 years of work with our long-term programme for the protection of their cultural heritage which is always at risk, “Out of the Siege” includes a specific focus on training in digitalisation, restoration and conservation of ancient books and manuscripts. All the ethnic minorities are working together, in a process which encourages knowledge exchange, dialogue and trust-building.

The second objective focuses on the ethnic minorities’ youth. The Universities of Dohuk and Erbil will work with them to create spaces dedicated to social and cultural activities to promote understanding and dialogue. There are thousands of minority IDPs who fled to Kurdistan when Daesh invaded, and it is very important that we facilitate their integration with the host community.

In Beirut, there will also be journalism courses in order to create a network based on non-violent language, peace-building activities and grassroots activism, thanks to the work of the Permanent Peace Movement (PMP), our long-standing partner in the transformation of conflict.

Not only emergency: this is the basis of this new intervention programme.

We know that it is building dialogue and a mutual understanding of respective cultures is absolutely vital, starting with Civil Society activists who in Iraq, like in Lebanon – having had firsthand experience of civil war and conflict,  chose the path of non-violence and peace.