Water for Peace restores access to clean water in Iraqi schools and hospitals. It also provides a way for Americans and Iraqis to work together to build trust and partnership in place of conflict and fear.
In a Water for Peace project, American groups organize a campaign to educate, advocate, and fundraise for a clean water system for a school or hospital in Iraq. Iraqis also organize to educate and advocate for clean water. Americans and Iraqis have the opportunity to communicate directly with each other through letters, emails, photos, video, and sound. To start your own Water for Peace project, click here.
For Americans, Water for Peace is a way to engage positively with others around the world and stand in solidarity with Iraqis. For Iraqis, it is a way to rebuild their country in cooperation with American citizens and advocate for government action to improve water infrastructure. “Water” becomes a vessel for Iraqis and Americans to work together toward a brighter, more peaceful future.
Water for Peace is a humanist, culturally-aware approach to finding an American role in Iraq’s self-restoration.
IARP and MPT:
The Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP) connects Iraqis and Americans in art, education, health, and cultural exchange programs in order to build peace. Based in the Sister Cities of Minneapolis, USA and Najaf, Iraq, our mission is to promote reconciliation between the peoples of Iraq and America in response to the devastation of Iraqi families, society and culture.
IARP began in 2004 when Iraqi-American and 25-year Minneapolis resident Sami Rasouli returned to his home in Najaf, Iraq to reconnect with his family and society. There, Sami founded the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT). Colleagues and friends of Sami wanting to support the rehabilitation of Iraqi society started IARP in Minnesota in the same year. IARP was incorporated as a non-profit in 2007.
The impact of the work of IARP and MPT includes 64 schools and over 27,000 Iraqi students in the Najaf area who have gained access to clean water; over 1,000 students in both cities who have exchanged letters and photos teaching each about the others’ hopes, dreams, and common humanity; 450 Iraqi artworks that have been shown in Minnesota and online; two major art exhibits bringing Iraqi and American and refugee and veteran art together; and five delegations that have begun professional, academic, and personal relationships between Iraqis and Americans.
What is Letters for Peace?
Letters for Peace is a way to foster meaningful relationships between students in America and students in Iraq. It is a way for students to connect with each other on a personal level and realize that what we have in common is often greater and more meaningful than what separates us.
Students in the US and Iraq write letters to their peers in the other country, and the letters are then translated and forwarded to each other. Letters and any other media used in the project are optionally posted on our website. Depending on the technical capacity and age of the groups involved, Letters for Peace can also involve direct communication through Skype and email.
Teachers may also use PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans if they wish. These resources are free and downloadable from IARP’s website.