Iraqi Kurdistan Delegation 2016

"We are ready to protect our homeland"

May 28, 2016 

Waking up Saturday morning to the birds chirping in the mountains of the village of Gullan was such a powerful reminder of the beauty found in this region’s land and people. Kaka Latif and his family so generously offered us their home for the night and provided us with incredible meals and hospitality.

General Assembly Reflections from Delegates to Iraqi Kurdistan

I am disappointed that the overture for fossil fuel divestment did not pass through GA 222. We have an urgent call to stand alongside those struggling to survive the devastating ramifications of the oil and gas industries. I, along with my delegation team and others in the PCUSA, will work to continue the call for divestment. It's difficult for me to not feel like we have failed our friends - family - who are impacted daily. Those whose livelihood, water, and life have been compromised by corporations invested in fossil fuel. Those who so vulnerably shared with me the hardships and death in their community revolving around oil excavation. But, this is still the beginning.

GA222: A Gospel Vision for the Church

The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was one of the most positive church experiences I’ve had in a long time. There were moments of disappointment and frustration, as always, but I sit several days after closing worship with a sense of hope and deep gratitude for the people and the work of the PC(USA). I also sit ready to get back to work (after a brief rest, which I hope you all are taking as well), because we as PPF have a special role after this GA that could have just changed the way our denomination engages with peace and nonviolence.

A Lesson in Humility and Interfaith Understanding

A Syrian Catholic priest teaches us what it means to carry the cross of Jesus into the world. He also emphasizes that ISIS is not the problem; oil and weapons are.

The Oil Companies May Be the End of Us







“We survived the Ottomans; then we survived the British; then we survived Saddam Hussein. After all that we’re still here, but the oil companies may be the end of us.”

Finding Community and Empowerment After ISIS

This blog post was written by one of the delegates who preferred not to attach their name to a blog, but wanted to reflect and share about the day our delegation spent in Suleimani visiting a children's center and a women's center.
A visit with Rahim Amin Hassan of the "STEP" Program (Seeking To Equip People).

Hospitality amidst Hardship: One Human Family

We've now spent over a week in Iraqi Kurdistan, visiting a variety of people and places.  A common thread runs through all these meetings: hospitality.  As we focus on our peacemaking mission, we are constantly reminded that we are one human family.   Weve received such warm welcomes everywhere.   The people we've met have shared their homes, their hearts, and their tables.  We've drunk their tea, eaten their magnificent repasts, and most importantly, have listened to their stories.

We Have Not Forgotten You

"We neither manufactured these weapons, nor feel proud exhibiting it. In fact, these were used by those who threatened our existence. We also admit that these very weapons helped us achieve our freedom."

Yazidi Renewal in Iraqi Kurdistan

This post was a collobrative effort between Andrea Hickerson and Timothy Wotring

After our visit to Lalish, the holiest place for the Yazidis, we spent Monday learning about community efforts to support the Yazidis displacement and trauma at the hands of ISIS. Here are some of the leaders we met.


“Goodness brings goodness.”  - Nayf Sabry, Sunrise

Kurdish Petroleum: Blessing and Curse

On May 21, we  headed out of Sulaymani to learn how the oil industry has affected people at the local level.  We stopped in Chamchamel en route.  This city was formed after the 1988 "anfal" in which 180,000 Kurds were deported and killed by the Iraqi Government.  Some 4000 villages were destroyed.  Some villagers ended up in what today is Chamchamel.  We were about to visit the village of Cormor, now repopulated after the "anfal."