All posts by Erik K. Gustafson

Why do I care so much about Iraq?

My friends and colleagues have asked me over the years: Why do I care so much about Iraq? Twenty-five years ago, I toured newly liberated Kuwait and witnessed first hand the environmental devastation and human costs of modern warfare. That experience kindled a life-long passion for preventing and mitigating armed conflict, and more importantly, working to … Continue reading Why do I care so much about Iraq?

Meet EPIC’s Newest Team Member

On December 1, Mark Seaman began as EPIC’s first Director of Development and Communications. In his role, Mark will be responsible for growing our relationships with foundations and corporate donors, planning events for those in our network, working with the media to spotlight our work, and bringing to everyone’s attention the needs of millions of … Continue reading Meet EPIC’s Newest Team Member

One Team, One Dream

Since 1998, EPIC has remained focused on one goal: peace in Iraq. One way we’re aspiring to realize that goal is through Soccer Salam, our project with U.S. veteran-led charities to assist and empower vulnerable children and families who have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq. Today we’re launching a Crowdrise fundraiser. We’re asking … Continue reading One Team, One Dream

A Smile for Your Weekend

We have some great news to kick-off your weekend! Over the past month of Ramadan, the Soccer Salam team successfully reached 490 displaced Iraqi families in need. Our distributions included food baskets, water containers, first aid and hygiene kits, a change of clothes, and urgently needed medicine. Of course, it would not be Soccer Salam … Continue reading A Smile for Your Weekend

Top 10 Misconceptions on the Iraq Crisis

The advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq and corresponding events, along with ISIS’s effective use of social media, have given rise to narratives across the world of media. Some of those narratives are thoughtless overreactions to the sudden appearance of ISIS on the world stage, a story that has … Continue reading Top 10 Misconceptions on the Iraq Crisis

TentEd: an EPIC Initiative to Help Syrian Refugee Children

The Education for Peace in Iraq Center is ramping up our response to help Syrian refugees in Iraq, alongside our continuing commitment to invest in young Iraqis. Last night, I returned from two weeks of Picturing Change with some really impressive students at American University in Iraq – Sulaimani (AUIS). EPIC’s work with AUIS students … Continue reading TentEd: an EPIC Initiative to Help Syrian Refugee Children

Giving the Gift of Peace

This holiday season, consider making an investment in the power of youth to bring peace to the world. Please support the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) with a year-end tax-deductible contribution toward our work to promote peace and empower young people. Young people like Hawre, one of the participants of our photovoice project … Continue reading Giving the Gift of Peace

IRAQ MATTERS COMMENTARY: Sounding the Alarm

NOTE: The full commentary offered below appears in our most recent IRAQ MATTERS podcast available here. The commentary begins at 2:36. Shortly after the departure of the last U.S. troops from Iraq nearly two years ago, President Obama and Iraq’s Prime Minister — Nouri al-Maliki — held a joint press conference. At that event, Mr. … Continue reading IRAQ MATTERS COMMENTARY: Sounding the Alarm

An EPIC Update on the Obama administration & PHOTOVOICE

Greetings dear friends, I am writing to  you from Arbat refugee camp outside Sulaimani in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, and I have some very important news to share with you. President Barack Obama has just announced that he will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House on November 1, marking the first such … Continue reading An EPIC Update on the Obama administration & PHOTOVOICE

Remembering Displaced Iraqis on World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day, a day when the world takes time to honor the resilience of forcibly displaced people throughout the world. Last year alone 7.6 million people around the world were forced to flee conflict or persecution, adding to an estimated total of 45.2 million displaced people worldwide. In the Middle East, the … Continue reading Remembering Displaced Iraqis on World Refugee Day

Urge President Obama to do more to end the violence

As reported by Kelly McEvers (@KellyMcEvers) this morning on NPR, Iraqis are facing the worst violence since the country’s sectarian war of 2006 and 2007. Since April, waves of car bombs and other sectarian attacks targeting civilians have killed thousands. The Syrian civil war and the Iraqi government’s deadly crackdown on Sunni protests are major drivers … Continue reading Urge President Obama to do more to end the violence

For USAID chief, the FY2014 budget is a matter of life and death

This week Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is on Capitol Hill to deliver testimony on the international development priorities of President Barack Obama’s proposed FY2014 budget. The total amount that his agency, USAID, and the US State Department and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) combined spend annually on foreign … Continue reading For USAID chief, the FY2014 budget is a matter of life and death