On 23 January, CUE hosted its first major event with the U.S. Consulate General Erbil to commemorate Religious Freedom Day.
The Nineveh Plains religious leaders: Archbishop Dawood Matti Sharf, Archbishop Peter Moshe, Imam Hussein Zinal, and Iman Rakan Fathil Majeed participated in a closed discussion with the US Acting Consul General, Henry Haggard and CUE Vice Chancellor Stephen Rasche.
The 75 minute discussion was on the future co-existence and reconciliation on the Nineveh Plains. Key was in sowing the first seeds of dialogue in obtaining the views of the Nineveh religious leaders in how they could encourage reconciliation to ensure that IDPs could return in long-term safety to their former villages post ISIS. It was a committed discussion from both sides to find ways forward in a war that has caused deaths, injuries, displacement and so many traumas to those involved. It was a vital and much needed discussion and we look forward to more.
Following this a reception was held at CUE where many dignitaries from different religions, academic and government institutions, consulates, human rights agencies attended from as far as Baghdad. Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil and Nawfal Sultan Al-Akoub, Governor of Nineveh both made speeches after the joint hosts. Once the media had finished their interviews the guests intermingled for the next hour.
It was a great educational opportunity for the 10 students from the university to both host and talk to so many distinguished and notable guests. Their feedback was “when are we going to host the next event”.