Under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs visited the Center. The delegation included the Spokesperson and Director General of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs (MERA), who was responsible for creating Directorates for all of the religious minorities within the Ministry to assure that underrepresented groups had a voice within the government. Other ministry delegates represented Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian communities.
Objectives of the visit included helping MERA strengthen interfaith cooperation, examining how MERA can work and interact better with the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament and community support organizations, and encouraging dialogue between leaders of the various faiths, among others. Questions and discussion involved suggestions on how to help both majorities and minorities feel less threatened, and how to improve dialogue so that in an explosive situation, leaders can temper the reaction of the people. At the close of the meeting, one of the delegates asked what final recommendation Center leaders would give her. Associate Director Gary Doxey said, “Don’t get tired in this work. Keep going. Continue to act together. We are all stronger when we work together.”