UNDP in Iraq teams up with Iraqi oud virtuoso, Naseer Shamma, to celebrate Peace Day

Sep 21, 2013

imageA painting by a group of young Iraqi artists was prepared for Peace Day celebrations. Photo by UN Iraq 2013

Building on the success of last year’s events in Baghdad, the United Nations in Iraq expanded the scope of its Peace Day activities in 2013 to include independently organised youth events in Basrah, Basra, Babil, Diyala, Duhok, Erbil, Muthanna, Ninewah, Kirkuk, Najaf, Sulaymaniyah, Thi-Qar and Wassit while also planning activities in Baghdad designed to promote public engagement.

Working in close coordination with the Ministry of Culture, the events featured artistic, cultural, and political displays relevant to theme of this year’s Peace Day: Culture for Peace. These include, among others, a concert in the National Theatre featuring world famous Iraqi oud musician, Naseer Shamma, a roundtable discussion livestreamed on YouTube, and the unveiling of a mural prepared by local artists calling for peace in Iraq.

Youth Empowerment and Engagement in Peace Building

Iraqi artists
Young artists prepared a mural to be submitted to the Iraqi parliament. Photo by UN Iraq 2013

A group of 10 young Iraqi artists produced a large canvas reflecting the united aspirations of Iraqi youth for peace. This sought to promote the role of youth in building peace, tolerance and mutual respect in Iraq, and provide a platform for young people to deliver their messages to religious and political leaders. The Iraqi parliament, the Council of Representatives (CoR), were invited to hang the artwork in a prominent position as a reminder of their responsibilities to the people of Iraq in the days following Peace Day.

Press Conference with Naseer Shamma

press conference
Photo by UN Iraq 2013

On the morning of 21 September, a press conference was organised to announce the concert. Naseer Shamma, a representative of the Ministry of Culture and UNDP's Country Director addressed the media to deliver a statement on the importance of Peace Day and invite the media and the Iraqi community to watch the music concert held later in the evening at the Baghdad National Theatre.

Live Roundtable

Panelists prepare for the live broadcast. Photo by UN Iraq 2013

For the first time in Iraq, the UN livestreamed an event via YouTube to millions of viewers around the world. The roundtable discussion on peace, and how to bring about peace in Iraq, was coordinated with the NGO Peace One Day, and broadcast as part of a 24 hour live internet broadcast called Live Global Moments.

Musical Concert at the National Theatre

Naseer Shamma
Naseer Shamma played to a full house at Baghdad's National Theatre for Peace Day 2013. Photo by Dhafer Hasan/UNDP Iraq 2013

The UN this year again spearheaded efforts to organise a concert by renowned Iraqi oud musician Naseer Shamma at Baghdad's National Theatre. This year, Mr. Shamma played with "the Secret Orchestra", a group composed of 35 musicians.

Volunteering for peace day. Photo by Dhafer Hasan/UNDP Iraq 2013

Over 1,000 people attended the concert, which was organised with the help of 35 young volunteers.

Contact UNDP in Iraq
Media Inquiries (m) +964 780 447 3336
Video: Peace Day Iraq 2013

"The importance of this particular day should not be underestimated, particularly in Iraq, where violence and terrorism continue to kill, maim and injure scores of innocent civilians on a daily basis," said Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq (DSRSG) for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Jacqueline Badcock.

Reflecting on the importance of Peace Day in Iraq, Al Hasan Hady Fahmy, a young Iraqi said, "this day provides us with a collective opportunity to reflect on the heavy toll that Iraq has paid over the last years." Safaa Eemad Salman, another young Iraqi who spoke on the importance of the day, added, "Today gives us the chance to send out the message that violence can and should stop, once and for all, in Iraq."

In addition to Shamma's concert, a group of young Iraqi artists prepared a mural symbolising the collective hopes and wishes of their generation for a peaceful and prosperous Iraq. The mural was presented to the Iraqi parliament as a reminder of politicians' collective duty to Iraq's youth.

view on Youtube
Photos from Peace Day 2013 Roundtable and Press Conference
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