Projects in Iraq

EPIC has a constant presence in Iraq, with advisors, local partners, and board members engaged on the ground in various capacities. One of our core focuses is supporting local programs that empower youth. In conjunction with local partners, and with the Iraqi youth themselves, we fund, structure, and execute projects that have a tangible impact on young lives. As part of our projects in the field we gather key insights and bring them back to academic, non-profit, and governmental bodies outside of Iraq to coordinate our research with them.


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Youth Empowerment is an extremely important issue in Iraq. These young people  have survived years of conflict, but they also bring hope for a better future. With EPIC’s Photovoice program, we seek to transform Iraqi communities by engaging the local youth. Through the power of photography, Photovoice will enable Iraqi youth to make their voices heard and raise awareness about issues in their local communities.

Picturing Change is a research and youth development project of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) in partnership with American University of Iraq – Sulaimani (AUIS) and the Center for International Education (CIE) and the Center for Global Studies (CGS) at George Mason University to teach young people how to use the power of photography and their own voices to address issues important to them and their country.

Thanks to our contributors,  PHOTOVOICE IRAQ: Picturing Change has met its crowd funding goal and is now in the first steps of implementation in the field! Picturing Change began October 7, 2013. By creating space for self-expression, EPIC hopes to inspire confidence, communicative ability, and creative problem-solving in future generations of young Iraqis. We believe these traits are key to addressing the complex issues that face Iraq.   Read more…


EPIC’s flagship project in environmental education in Iraq was the Iraqi Youth Hike. We are proud to have partnered with Nature Iraq and Metrography, two trailblazing organizations in Iraqi civil society today. We took nine youths from the city of Kirkuk on a five-day hike that included camera training and exciting lectures from local biologists.  Beyond the overt goal of learning about nature, the program was intended to promote increased civic responsibility in protecting Iraq’s natural splendor, as well as a sense of unity that transcends ethnic or religious lines, and provide a diversion from the narrative of violence and conflict. Participants described the atmosphere as having “no discrimination or political issues” and “peaceful”.

Please read more about the Iraqi Youth Hike here!

This program is set to continue with a second Youth Hike focusing on the elusive Iraqi leopard. Hundreds of years ago leopards and other big cats roamed Iraq. Today, those populations have dwindled because of environmental degradation.  Through outdoor education youth will learn environmental stewardship while practicing public speaking and communication skills as they present findings about the leopard in their communities.

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Climbing through caves on the Iraqi Youth Hike