His Grace, Archbishop Warda, Delivers a Talk at Harvard University

On November 17, 2022, His Grace, Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chancellor of the Catholic University in Erbil, along with Mrs. Vida Hanna, the Director of Public Affairs and Strategic Communications, visited Harvard University in Boston where His Grace delivered a talk at the Harvard Divinity School titled, “Christianity in Iraq: Challenges and Hopes.”

His Grace, Archbishop Warda, began his talk by providing the audience with a background history of the persecution and marginalization of the Christian community in the country and stressed the role of the government in attaining religious freedom as a moral aspect of the Iraqi constitution.

Additionally, His Grace thoroughly illustrated the role of the Iraqi church in preserving the culture and heritage of the region since the early years. He stated, “Christians communicated with Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula through education and health, so they established the House of Wisdom, translated philosophical works into Arabic, and maintained leadership in budding sciences. They had a rich dialogue of life that was suitable ground for the dialogue of religions.”

In his talk, Archbishop Warda emphasized the role of education in attaining peace as the antidote to facing the challenges of keeping the Christian presence in Iraq. Establishing the Catholic University in Erbil allowed the youth in the region to learn the importance of peaceful coexistence and cohabitation with the other components of the society, which builds the foundation for achieving the ultimate hope.

Archbishop Warda finished his remarks with a powerful message “In this life, God sends us into a battlefield, not a garden. Our battlefields may not all be the same, but as members of the Universal Church, we are all part of the same universal mission: serving one another and saving souls.”

After the talk, the Harvard Hawthorn house hosted a reception for His Grace to answer the student’s questions and concerns about education in Iraq and the future of the Catholic University in Erbil.

The event was organized by the Harvard Catholic Forum and Harvard Divinity School and equally sponsored by the Philo’s Project and Hawthorn House.