Development Club

Written by Karzan Fadhil on January 31, 2012. The environmental issues have spread over almost all the countries, and they need to be resolved as soon as possible. In Iraq, also this occurred over time due to the predominant use of cars and the lack of the accurate environmental education in this region. The necessity of the environment and the instinct of finding a solution to protect the environment led to emerging Development Club and encouraging students to commence their work at Development Club to protect the environment through this beneficial club.

Development Club is a diverse club located in Iraq-Sulaimani that includes many eager students regardless of age, language, religion and different perspectives. The onset of this club’s work refers to March 2011, when students passionately wanted to spread awareness about the environmental issues and cared about the abatement of the pollution. This club has had roughly 50 members, and most of them are young adults, who have strong desires to serve their community through this club. The reason that students have joined this club and collaborated with each other is because this is the most appropriate place for them to use their ability and physical skills. In this club, students experience and encounter new things and take a huge role to protect the environment because they physically participate in the projects, and they are a major part of conducting the projects.

Development Club has had many distinct projects since its onset, and its projects reverberated among people, such as visiting NGOs, the climate action day, hosting a conference with the United Nation organizations, and now the commission of Development Club is working on a new project called “The Green Music and Art Festival” intends to spread awareness about the environmental education. In fact, the existence of this club is so necessary for this city and people; particularly young adults because this club prepares them to protect the environment from the ongoing issues and spread the awareness about the environmental protection. In sum, Development Club beside its function that aims to develop the society, it concentrates on the environmental education in Iraq, and hopes to increase the green areas to make its community a healthier, a better place to live.

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Gelişim Kulübü (Development Club-Turkish)


Yazmak: Chris Debruyn Çevirmek: Srur Muhammed Mart 2011’de  bir grup, Irak-Sulaymani Amerikan Üniversitesi’nde okuyan öğrenciler Geliştirme Kulübü kurdu. Başlangıcın yanadan beri, bu grup yerel  STK’lar ziyaret edilmiştir. kulüp üyeleri, topluluk üyeleri ile toplantı ve konular  Sulaymani , Irak, Kurdistan sürdürülebilir kalkınma ile ilgili analiz edilmiştir. Bu çalışkan gönüllüler, gelişim projelerinin değerlendirilmesi, gözlemlediklerine özetleyen , akran düzenleme, ve kendi bulgularını gönderilecek bu web sitesinde için kararlıyız. Umudumuz yakın gelecekte, Kürtçe ve Arapça  bulgularını alıntılar yayınlamaktır. Bu öğrencilerin özveri ve cesaret olmadan, bu web sitesini mümkün olmayacaktı.

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Conference Calls Bridging Worlds

Four Iraqi university students during the teleconference with American students.

Sixty Iraqi students collected in a conference room, eyes glued to a TV that showed about forty American students smiling back.  After a brief introduction from both sides, students bravely shuffled forward to sit in a chair fitted with a microphone and a webcam with their peers surrounding them.  Students’ hesitation turned to confidence as the conversation progressed.  The questions morphed from the innocuous “What do you do on the weekends?” and “Why are Americans always smiling?” to the contentious “Do you ever feel physically threatened?” and “Why does the American government like controlling the whole world?”.  Thought provoking answers fell on fascinated ears from both ends.  As it turned out, both sides shared similar interests and difficulties.  Almost everyone enjoyed going to the movies and hanging out with friends and almost everybody faced too much homework and hard economic times.  After an hour and a half of meaningful exchange, my Iraqi students exited the conference room beaming on account of the bridge they had just constructed linking the two worlds.

The teleconferences were held via skype and projected onto a screen.

The idea started as a small pen pal exchange and quickly evolved into a full teleconference.  Students exchanged questions before hand, setting the basis from which a fantastic cross-cultural conversation blossomed.  Using the first conference as a stepping stone, I organized another one albeit with a more intimate atmosphere.

Four waving Iraqi students sat in a row facing a webcam and a microphone.  On the other end four American students waved back.  Based on information exchanged before the call, they traded probing questions about problems facing their societies.   The protests sweeping the Middle East including Iraq were of particular interest to both sides.  Identifying the corruption that runs like rain through Iraq, one student emphasized “before the war, we had one lion: Saddam.  Now we have many lions”.  Discrimination, corruption, and economic issues were highlights.  Of course, with the American students being in Cleveland, my Iraqi students were curious as to how a river could catch on fire.  Though we all had a good laugh about that one, it was a sad reminder about the pollution problems that both societies face.  As the conversation pushed on, superficial differences melted away, and students again realized that the similarities outweighed the differences.  After an hour and a half, everybody was all smiles; another bridge had been erected.

Out of focus students realize that there is much more that brings them together than that drives them apart.

The most recent teleconference involved about twenty of my Iraqi students and five American students.  Though politics made a brief appearance, they mostly wanted to escape to the land of pop culture.  Excited students listed American TV shows they loved (24, Prison Break, Lost) and exchanged their opinions on pop icons.  Sadly, only one American student knew some Arabic pop culture (none knew any Kurdish pop culture) but the others replied that they were eager to learn.  At the end of the teleconference, everyone was enthusiastic about continuing the conversation.  The American students set up a Facebook group and invited the Iraqi students to join.  They have since traded numerous messages back and forth.

This Fall I am planning a more intricate teleconference with Development Now members discussing sustainable development issues and conflict resolution in Iraq with masters students in America.  I hope it will be as successful as the other teleconferences have been bridging worlds.

Iraqi students and their English instructor

Have you been involved in this project? Please feel free to rate this project using the stars below and leave specific comments so that projects like this one can become more meaningful over time.

Development Club

Development Club A group of students studying at the American University of Iraq- Sulaimani (AUI-S) formed Development Club in March 2011. Since its onset, Development Club members have been visiting local NGOs, meeting with community members and analyzing issues related sustainable development in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan.

 These hard-working volunteers are committed to assessing developmental projects, summarizing what they observe, peer-editing and finally posting their findings on this website. We hope to publish excerpts of their findings in both Kurdish and Arabic in the near future. Without the dedication and courage of these students, this website wouldn’t be possible.

Development Club members on top of a tank at Sulaimani's Red Museum

A special thanks to Development Club members:

  • Ali Adnan
  • Ari Hammed
  • Awan Ahmed
  • Chawan Mohammed
  • Dastan Sabah
  • Dlpak Ali
  • Hawkar Rafiq
  • Karzan Fadhil
  • Mariam Khalid
  • Mina Bassam
  • Noor Al Janabi