World Interfaith Harmony Week 2019
Better World organization coordinated with relevant governmental
Under the theme of “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” Better World
organization for Community Development celebrated WIHW 2019 with different activities. The organization
invited young people of different faiths to participate in the activities. We believe on the theme we used
for this year; that if we go a lone (which means work or live alone) we are able to go fast but not far! But
if we go, work and live together despite of any differences among us we are able to go far and achieve deep
goals and create better world where all people live in peace and happiness. That is why, young Yazidis,
Christians, and Muslims together celebrated World Interfaith Harmony occasion by working together and
implanting activities together to develop their community and create harmony among people of different
faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
Juvenile Center in Duhok governorate, Kurdistan region of Iraq has a number of 60 boys’ prisoners from the
age of 12 to 18. In addition, to 10 ISIS child solders.
The organization team who consisted of Muslims and Christians prepared and organized the event. The event
started with a harmony meal where all the children in the Juvenile center, the management team of juvenile
center and the Better World Organization team set together and had a lunch. The children were very happy as
many of them were missing such food. After the lunch a small activity conducted where the aim behind World
Interfaith Harmony explained to the children and some photos that indicated to the interfaith harmony and
peaceful coexistence distributed among them. Some of the children expressed their ideas of what they seen in
the photos. In the end four of the children sang songs and created very happy environment. Better World
organization conducted this activity on 11th February.
World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018
Better World organization coordinated with relevant governmental
institutions representing three main
religions (Islam, Christianity and Yazidi) in KRI to be part of the activities implemented during World
Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW). Moreover, it created an Interfaith Harmony Group of 20 young members from
the three religions. This group participated in a 1-day workshop on World Interfaith Harmony Week
Declaration and then in different activities celebrating this event and focusing on the common good for rest
of the week. It is worth mentioning that the group has a diversity of people who are not only different in
religion but also represent a combination of refugees, IDPs and host community members. The activities of
this anniversary included awareness of the communities engaging women, youth, religious and community
leaders, and children. They were implemented in different locations, such as public places, schools,
university, private houses, and cafes.
To create awareness of the community on UN declaration of "World Interfaith
Harmony Week “.
To establish Interfaith Harmony group which engages youths of different religions and enables it to
work on peace activities that advocate harmony among the religions,
To encourage related governmental and other related sectors to celebrate the declaration WIHW in the
next years and develop programs which advocate harmony,
To build natural links among the three religions through planting trees in three religious places (a
Mosque, a Yazidian Marqad, and a Church),
To create Interfaith Harmony Network in Kurdistan region which brings religious leaders to work and
concentrate on the common good points among religions and advocate for that through different
activities in the community.
Activities implemented :
1. Team building and advocacy for UN Declaration on World Interfaith Harmony Week:
On 1st of February, Better World Organization invited 20 female and male youths within the age
of 20-30 from three religions (Christianity, Islam and Yazidism) to a brief workshop on World
Interfaith Harmony Week UN declaration.
The main goal of the workshop was to create awareness of the participants about the declaration,
how it was suggested first by King Abdullah II, how it was celebrated in the last years, and
what are the objectives of the declaration.
Among other goals of the activity was to build harmony among the participants and to establish a
group of interfaith which will be part of the week campaign.
During the workshop, 4 groups were established, each comprising of members from three religions.
The groups exchanged opinions in team work and presented their inputs and plans for how to
celebrate the declaration.
The organization printed 300 brochures on the declaration and distributed them to the groups for
use during their activities in the community.
2. Awareness Raising in the communities through outreach activities:
2nd February; the groups started raising awareness of the communities through
activities in different places. Some of the groups visited people in the refugee and internally
displaced people (IDP) camps distributed the brochures and some in the host community. While
some other invited friends to cafes to get together, have snacks, and discuss the declaration
through their entertainment time. Some other groups invited friends to their houses and
discussed World Interfaith Harmony Week. In addition, some groups created special groups through
Mobile applications, generated discussions on the declaration and exchanged ideas how to reach
more people and separate the Harmony among people.
3. Building natural links among three religions through planting trees in three religious places:
3rd February; BWOCD team andthe 20 young participants from the three religions
three religious places (Yazidian Shekh Hassan Marqad, Dara Barani Church, and Forqan Mosque) in
Duhok and planted trees, 15 in each place. The objective of the activity was to establish
natural links among three religions by planting trees. The activity proceeded in a good way
meeting the intended objective. Actually, this was the first time for many participants to visit
a religious place that is not related to their religion. All the participants felt the harmony
and how we have to accept each other despite of any differences.
The Harmony Journey of planting trees lasted for 8 hours (9:00 AM -3:00 PM).
The first religious place visited was Yazidain Shekh Hassan Marqad in Shariya, a town with
Yezidie dominant population in Duhok Governorate. A group of religious people from Yazidi
religion were present as well; they were very happy of the activity and encouraged us to do such
activities regularly. The second place was Forqan Mosque in Duhok city. The last place was Dara
Barani Church in Duhok city.
The group members had a harmony lunch together, on one table, thus enjoying nice time together.
4. Presentations on Peace and Coexistence:
On 4th February; the organization delivered a presentation on peace and co-existence
religious and community leaders. Three scholars from the three religions have been requested to
conduct presentation on peace and coexistence in their religions.
The invited participants totaling 50 persons of both gender also included representatives from
different governmental, civil society and other agencies.
Initially, the organization director explained the UN declaration on WIHW, its establishment
background and objectives, and also the successful experience of Jordan movement of the common
word. It was followed by scholars’ presentations (each for 20 minutes) on Peace and coexistence
for the attendees.
Following that, 1-hour open fruitful discussions took place among the participants and the
scholars. All attendees presented their ideas on how we to develop the idea of interfaith
harmony in the community in wider perspectives.
5. Awareness Raising in the University of Duhok and schools in Duhok through outreach and seminars:
On 4th and 6th February; the interfaith harmony groups conducted awareness
raising activities through outreach and seminars on World Interfaith Harmony Week for different
group of students in a number of schools within Duhok governorate. Brochures developed for the
event were distributed through the activities.
40 university students were interviewed through group discussions in individual talks. They were
asked questions about the obstacles in the way of coexistence in KRI and how we could advocate
for harmony through common goods among religions exiting in the area.
Three seminars on WIHW were held by the groups in two elementary schools and one high schools
(Bapira High School in Shariya, Darya elementary school in Shariya, and Zariland elementary
school in Duhok ). Each seminar was attended by more than 25 students.
Also, three seminars on WIHW were conducted in Duhok University Psychology department. Each of
these seminars had the attendance of more than 30 students who were very interested in the
topics. It is worth mentioning that in a seminar two participant students, a Yazidi and a
Muslim, who were previously in conflict with each other because of their religions worked
together in the activity and were able to tolerate each other.
6. Presentations on three religions and common good:
On 7th February; we brought together the interfaith harmony group of 20 youth
which consisted of four small groups; each group five members of different religion. This
activity was conducted at the University of Duhok Culture center.
The first group delivered a presentation on Christianity to enable all other group members have
an overview of this religion, while the second group on Yazidism and the third one on Islam. The
last group presented the common good among three religions. The goal of the activity was to
educate the participants about the three religions, and focus on the common good among the three
religions; we all know that we share things among each other and we can be united in many common
points. It was a very successful activity which all participants shared their ideas and
All the participants and the organization team discussed about the activities we conducted, and
provided their feedbacks and suggestions for next projects and how we could advocate for harmony
in our communities.
At the end Better, World organization rewarded the interfaith harmony group with the
certification of participation on WIHW project.