Arab Youth Climate Movement

Written by Karzan Fadhil. The Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) Workshop was a seven-day workshop organized for the first time in Cairo, Egypt at the Wadi Environmental Science Centre. It was organized by IndyAct partnered with 350, GCCA, DEMENA, and CAN. The aim of the workshop was to empower participants to be influential climate movement leaders in the Arab region and to build their capacities by teaching them new strategies to effectively involve in the climate movements. At the workshop, we learned how to both assemble local grassroots movements and raise awareness of the local residents about climate change and its devastating impacts in their countries.
AYCM outsideIt was a selective workshop that 20 climate leaders were accepted out of a pool of 500 applicants in the Middle East and Northern Africa based on their extensive experience in the environment and climate change movements. Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) was launched by the 20 climate leaders prior to the UNFCCC COP18 Doha negotiations, and it was established to create a wide movement to solve climate change crisis throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
During the workshop there were many knowledgeable facilitators from different countries,
 such as U.S, UK, Lebanon, and including Egypt who are strongly engaged in the climate
 environmental movements. Also, it is worth mentioning that diversity was one of the strengths of the workshop that most of the environmental activists and climate leaders had come from different countries, such as Iraq, UAE, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritania, Algeria, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, and Bahrain.
Karzan Fadhil in front of the Pyramids in EgyptAlthough many people in Iraq applied to the workshop, I was the only candidate chosen to
 attend. I participated as a student at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) and as a Development Club member. Eventually, Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) was launched and the participants were selected as the National Coordinators of (AYCM) for their countries, and the workshop culminated with giving the participants certificates for their accomplishment to continue their role as the National Coordinators in their countries. Now my role as the National Coordinator of AYCM for Iraq is to bring youths together from different parts of Iraq and establish AYCM Iraq, which will take a powerful and a crucial role in the climate movements and mobilizing communities in the Arab region and outside, so those people who are interested in working and collaborating with AYCM are more than welcome to join us by filling out the online application.
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The Ilisu Dam


The Ilisu Dam is a project planned to be constructed on the Tigris River in Turkey. It’s expected to be completed by 2015. Since its inception, there have been many controversies about this project internationally; constructing the Ilisu Dam has reverberated among people adversely due to its disadvantages and its adverse effects on nature, environment, and preserving heritage. If the Ilisu Dam is finished, it will inundate the town of Hasankeyf, which is an ancient town rich with its history, including its villages and heritage that have existed for centuries. Now, due to the Ilisu Dam the entire region is at risk of being submerged with the completion of the project. Since 2008, the project hasn’t been reinforced internationally due to its devastating results and effects on the region by the end of the completion of the project. In addition, people in the region where the dam is built are obliged to evacuate their places and leave for other cities.

Consequently, environmental and human rights groups around the world have sought to stop the process of building the dam, and there has been much pressure put to halt the project, but the Turkish government persists in completing the dam. Nowadays, there have been many divergent campaigns to urge the international organizations to be involved in standing against constructing the Ilisu Dam, and many people have signed against constructing the dam because it is a huge threat to both people who live in those areas where the dam is constructed and the ancient history and heritage that have existed for centuries.

Click on the link to learn about a change.org petition to halt its construction: Save World Heritage on the Tigris River in Mesopotamia

The Green Music and Arts Festival in Sulaimani, Iraq

Although the Green Music and Arts Festival was on the 20th of April, our work in the Development Club started weeks before that. We began by sharing what each of us had in mind for the games that we needed to build for the festival. Our ideas had to be simple but at the same time they had to be creative.

We all had amazing ideas. The games had to be made from recycled materials to fit with the environmental theme, so we looked around campus for spare wood, cardboard, and plastic. We built the games, painted them and the results were perfect. Mr. Kevin practiced some songs with his Guitar Club students and they translated some verses of the song “Imagine” by John Lennon into Kurdish.

On the festival’s day, we started the preparations early in the morning, and it was lots of fun to prepare for it. We even played some games during the preparations. Azadi Park, where the festival was held, was a really beautiful place, and it was an ideal spot for students and teachers alike to gather and enjoy their time.

There were three hosts for the festival including myself, and the performances were presented by the hosts in English, Kurdish, and Arabic to enhance the ability of the audience to culturally relate to the performances and make a sense of cultural unity among the people. During the festival there was an elocution contest among the students of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. They each presented the same environmentally themed Kurdish poem that was translated into English. It was a really creative event overall, and it showed the students’ talents from different aspects.

One of the things I really enjoyed was drawing the American, Kurdish, and Iraqi flags on children’s faces and on adult’s faces too. It highlighted the cultural unity that brought us all together for one cause: helping our environment.

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Visit to Hiwa Hospital

Written by Karzan Fadhil

Hiwa hospital is a cancer patients hospital established in Iraq-Sulaimani, which includes over four hundred children diagnosed with cancer. The hospital does not only include Kurdish children, but also it has accepted various children from different parts of Iraq with open arms. Today, a group of students from the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) organized a visit to the hospital, and gave the children many gifts. The trip was organized by Jwan Farhad, a student in the undergraduate program at AUIS. During the visit the  students met the children and closely talked with them to make them happy. For most of the students it was the first time to visit the hospital and see their hard circumstance, but ultimately during their discussions with the children’s mothers their eyes filled with tears, and they sympathized with children’s parents.

In the hospital, there were many children diagnosed with cancer at different ages, ranging from one-year-old to their early teens. The AUIS students met a group of approximately 35 children. The children’s mothers complained about the cost of medicines that sometimes there is the lack of medicines, so they have to buy them outside the hospital, and they are too expensive for them because many of them do not have a good financial situation.

Despite the fact that the children are terminally ill, they became happy when they were given the gifts, and their mothers smiled at their optimism, so AUIS students tried to wipe sadness off their faces as much as they could. At the end of our visit, we talked with Kak Nariman, an official at the hospital, about the patients’ conditions. He assured us that a few of them have hopes to be cured, but it is the matter of time. Also, he hoped that our visit would not be the last visit to the hospital. Finally, he expressed his thanks and appreciation towards AUIS students for their visit, and he thanked them for the initiative that they took.

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UNAMI meeting

AUIS‘ Development Club members met today with staff from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) about collaborating in the near future on ways to address developmental issues.

We discussed a lecture series on a number of relevant issues including women’s right, water rights etc involving branches of the UN, civil society groups and AUIS students.

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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