Transforming the Legacy from Violence to Peace

On a warm July evening we stand at the shores of Lake Minnetonka, waiting to board the Lady of the Lake. It is an appropriate name for a boat chartered to host an event for women leaders. It is a name redolent with dignity and strength, characteristics that the honorees share in abundance. A young woman runs to us from across the deck, holding her green hijab against the wind. “Do you remember me? I’m Hawraa.”

Our eight year old daughter leaps into Hawraa’s arms, relieved that Hawraa remembers us, her host family from her visit last year. I am struck by this question. Our goal here tonight is to recognize Iraqi Women Leaders as an act of reconciliation, part of a healing process, a search for common ground between seemingly diverse people. We say people should forgive and forget as part of creating harmony. But perhaps instead we should concentrate on remembering if we are to find our common humanity.

The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project supports reconciliation between Americans and Iraqis through the arts, education, cultural and professional exchange, support for peacemakers in Iraq, and water and sanitation projects.

Each day we bring the message of reconciliation to a wider audience. Barriers are broken, respect blossoms and life-long friendships are made. In order to continue expanding involvement in our work, we need your support.

Highlights from our work in 2013

  • Sister City Program With our partner, the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT) we hosted doctors and nurses from Najaf for an in-depthlook at medical care practices and facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In July we sponsored a Cruise with Iraqi Women Leaders to recognize their courage, strength and advocacy in both Iraq and the United States.

  • Water for Peace With the generosity of churches, schools, and individuals, IARP and MPT continued to bring needed access to clean water to schools in Iraq. We partnered with Veterans for Peace to expand our network to include 79 water systems.

  • Iraqi Art Project IARP presented exhibitions at National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, Macalester College in St. Paul, and recently opened the exhibit Lands of Water at the Minneapolis City Hall. We collaborated with the Minnesota Historical Society in their exhibit Iraqi Culture Through Young Eyes.

…And the work continues in 2014

We just received funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Access Grant program to produce Iraqi Voices, a collaborative mentorship program that gives Iraqis in Minnesota support and training to produce documentary videos. Seven videos will be produced and shared through the Twin Cities Arab Film Festivals and film festivals worldwide.

We are an organization of Iraqis and Americans, veterans and refugees, peace activists and artists, students and professionals, and many others. We can't do it without you!

IARP carried out these programs and projects on a very limited budget. With just one paid staff person (others are volunteer or contract-based) and a small budget, we are able to stretch every donation we receive several times over through the involvement of volunteers, interns, and partners.

Donate now- be part of the peace!

Have a peaceful and happy New Year!

Kathy McKay,Executive Director

Elise Schebler Roberts, Development and Communications Director

To learn more, visit our websites:

Every gift counts! Thank you for your support!

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