Giving the Gift of Peace

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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 with Iraqi university students. When EPIC first met Hawre, he was entering his third year of college, still trying to find his voice and path in life.

As part of photovoice, Hawre undertook ‘photo walks’ on campus and in his hometown, followed by ‘photo viewing and writing sessions’ with an adult mentor. In October, I had an opportunity to be Hawre’s mentor for a week, and experienced firsthand photovoice’s value. In Iraq today, far too much historical and current social data is simply unavailable. By looking at Iraq through the eyes of young people, EPIC is learning about the Iraq that they know. The Iraq that they have grown up with. And in doing so, we are gaining insights into how our advocacy in Washington and field work in Iraq can better address their fears and support their aspirations.

That’s why I am writing to you today. Please consider making an investment to support EPIC and our work to empower youth for peace in the New Year.

Here is an excerpt from Hawre’s first piece for PHOTOVOICE IRAQ: Picturing Change:

The_view_through_my_rearview_side_mirror“…My ancestors were poor and did not have much, yet they were able to plant gardens, farm the land, raise livestock, and carve out self-sufficient livelihoods by sheer will and determination. Hard work and self-sufficiency. Those are important lessons from our past; values that can guide me toward a better future… People should not be shamed when they are not doing anything wrong, and especially when they are trying to do something that is important for the betterment of their community or for society as a whole. Rather than live in the past, we should learn from the past and work hard together to move forward to advance ourselves and our nation.”

Young people like Hawre need our help to ensure that they have meaningful opportunities to contribute to a better, more peaceful Iraq.

Give the gift of peace this holiday season. Please support EPIC as we invest in the power of youth to bring peace to the world.

 

Erik K. Gustafson

About Erik K. Gustafson

Erik is EPIC's founder and director. As a U.S. veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, Erik has devoted his life to humanitarian action and empowering youth in support of Iraq's peace and development.