In a unique collaborative initiative between Ishik University’s International Relations and Diplomacy (IRD) department and the Barzani Charity Foundation, a joint symposium was organized at Ishik University to address the timely issue of ‘social cohesion’ in the humanitarian contexts. The symposium which took place on October 7th 2018 came under the title ‘Fostering Social Cohesion: A New Phase of Humanitarian Work in the Kurdistan Region’. The symposium brought together field experience and data from the BCF, which is a very active humanitarian NGO in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq and academic skills of staff at Ishik University’s department of IRD.
Attended by representatives from a number of UN agencies, international and national NGOs, community leaders, academicians from Ishik and other universities and students, the event started with messages from Dr. Idris Hadi, the president of Ishik University and Mr. Musa Ahamad, president of the BCF.
The symposium consisted of two session and six presentations. Generally, the presentations covered issues around social cohesion, diversity, social capital, migration and displacement, tolerance, coexistence and others. The main focus of the symposium was on the conceptual and research basis of ‘social cohesion’ and current status of social cohesion in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region especially where concerns the relation between the host community and the massive population of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Region.
The aim of the symposium was to improve collaborative work between the university and the larger community especially, active humanitarian actors in the Region. At the end of the event the symposium organizers addressed major stakeholders in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region through a set of recommendations with the ultimate aim of providing policy-oriented data and ideas as a roadmap to a better and more proactive engagement with the issue of social cohesion in order to achieve a more cohesive society in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.