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

Sep 21, 2013

A 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 artistsYoung 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 conferencePhoto 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

livestreamPanelists 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 ShammaNaseer 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.

volunteersVolunteering 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.