MINNEAPOLIS (March 8, 2013) — The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, a local group that sent a citizen delegation to the Minneapolis Sister City of Najaf, Iraq in November, will mark the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War with an event on March 20, 6 p.m., at St. Albert the Great Church, 29th Street and 32nd Avenue South, Minneapolis.
Two of the delegation members, IARP Executive Director Kathy McKay, and Board Member Steve Clemens, will speak about their experience and the broader political reality in Iraq.
“The effects of the war are still obvious in terms of things like lack of clean water and electricity, but Iraqis are also working very hard to rebuild their country,” says Kathy McKay. “Young Iraqis have been leading recent large-scale, nonviolent protests against government corruption in Anbar Province, for example. A group of young Iraqis we met in Najaf has planted 20,000 trees with the goal of protecting Najaf’s environment and making the city beautiful.”
IARP has invited the tree-planting group to visit Minneapolis this summer, as well as a group of women’s rights activists and a variety of business professionals. A decade after the start of the war, IARP sees an opportunity for a new direction in the relationship between Iraqis and Americans.
“The groups we met with in Iraq and many others are looking toward the future and are interested in building friendship and cooperative relationships with Americans,” McKay added. “People in Najaf are eager to visit their Sister City of Minneapolis and meet friends and colleagues here.”
According to the Najaf provincial government, the November delegation from Minneapolis was the first American citizen delegation to travel to Najaf since before 2003. The group was hosted by the provincial government and the Muslim Peacemaker Teams, partner to IARP.
The event marking the 10th anniversary of the war is organized by Women Against Military Madness and Twin Cities Peace Campaign and co-sponsored by Minnesota Peace Action Coalition. For more information, please visit http://reconciliationproject.org or contact Luke Wilcox, IARP Development and Communications Director at 612-367-6194 or [email protected].