Sunday, 11 June 2017 03:00

Strengthened EU-UNESCO Partnership to Tackle Education Challenges in Iraq

Baghdad, 7 June 2017 – UNESCO launched the “Access to Inclusive Quality Primary and Secondary Education for IDPs and Refugees in Crisis Affected Areas of Iraq” project funded by the European Union (EU).

The project will support education for 100,000 IDP, returnee and refugee children and youth in governorates impacted by crisis and work towards strengthening the capacity of government and non-governmental institutions to effectively implement education in emergencies.

The launching event was attended by the EU Ambassador to Iraq, the diplomatic corps, senior government representatives including the Ministry of Education, as well as international and national non-governmental organization representatives.

Mr. Hassanin Muala, Secretary-General of the UNESCO National Commission of Iraq, introduced the project, saying that it will “…help IDPs and refugees in crisis affected areas in this country, and is crucial to support people in liberated areas.” He expressed the Ministry of Education’s commitment to supporting the project: “We will work to provide all the technical support required to implement this project.”

EU Ambassador Patrick Simonnet noted the critical and urgent role that education will play in Iraq’s future: “We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the next generation. Stability is at stake, and we have to start today. Education is the most powerful weapon you may ever possess.” Mr. Simonnet praised the role played by civil society and non-government organizations in reaching the most vulnerable, and emphasized the European Union’s commitment to continuing to build the capacity of both government and non-governmental institutions to support recovery and development in Iraq.

Ms. Louise Haxthausen, the Director of the UNESCO Iraq Office, referred to the destructive effects of ISIL/Daesh on education, and affirmed UNESCO’s commitment to working with the government of Iraq to rebuild. While acknowledging the significant challenges, which exist, Ms. Haxthausen affirmed that “… there are no immovable barriers to education... Restoring education is a matter of investment, of leadership, of capacity and of strong partnerships – and this is what this project aims at.” She noted that the project will address immediate needs, through improvement of access to quality education, and mid and long term development by building the capacity of district and governorate offices to manage education in the current emergency context and moving towards recovery.

The launch was closed by Ms. Alison Oswald, Programme Manager. Ms. Oswald explained that over the next three years the project will support educational services for internally displaced, returnee and refugee children in six governorates. She specified that it will build the capacity of the government to implement education in emergencies and noted that these same skills will also facilitate the transition from crisis to normalcy. Ms. Oswald described the project’s goal to improve education access and quality as “… more children, in school longer, in better schools, learning more effectively.” Ms. Oswald explained that the project will be implemented by both international and Iraqi non-governmental organizations in close coordination with government education authorities.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Dhea Subhee, Public Information Officer, UNESCO Office for Iraq
Tel.: +964 078 2783 2739; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNESCO

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