October 27, 2004 | Press Release

FDD, AIC and IWF to Train Iraqi Women Leaders

 The American Islamic Congress is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social organization with extensive experience in Iraq.  As a member of the Revitalization of Iraqi Schools & Stabilization of Education (RISE) Program in 2003-2004, AIC surveyed schools, distributed back-to-school student kits, coordinated with communities to repair damaged schools and trained teachers in child-centered pedagogy.  In addition, AIC ran the Accelerated Learning Program for children who dropped out of school during the previous regime.  In October 2003, AIC cohosted and cosponsored The Heartland of Iraq Women's Conference at the University of Babylon in Hilla, Iraq along with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  In April 2003, AIC participated in “Winning the Peace: Women's Role in Post Conflict Iraq,” a conference hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center and Women Waging Peace.  AIC's Iraq staff lobbied the former Iraqi Interim Governing Council to establish a constitutional minimum of 25% women participation in the new Iraqi parliament and government.  During 2003 and 2004, AIC's Iraq team sponsored and financed women's literacy programs in several southern Iraqi villages made possible through donations from the local Iraqi community.  AIC's Iraq team also organized the Southern Iraq Women's Conference held in Basra in January 2004.  AIC cofounded the Iraqi Women Higher Council, which assists small Iraqi women's organizations establish themselves and achieve their goals.
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute focusing on defeating terrorism and promoting democracy. FDD's Democracy Programs support democracy activists in the Middle East through campaigns, conferences and in-country educational projects. As a supporter and member of various Iraqi-American coalitions such as the Women for a Free Iraq, the Women's Alliance for a Democratic Iraq and the Iraq-America Freedom Alliance, FDD has been active in cultivating support for Iraqi democracy with the American public. FDD has also provided training and education for Iraqi women.  In October, 2003, FDD organized the Heartland of Iraq Women's Conference at the University of Babylon in Hilla in partnership with the American Islamic Conference and the Iraq Foundation.  In July, 2004, FDD helped train a delegation of visiting Iraqi women sponsored by the Women's Alliance for a Democratic Iraq.  In addition, FDD helped Iraqi women's groups to ensure that Iraq's interim constitution, the Transitional Authority Law, contained strong protections for women's rights.         
The Independent Women's Forum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to advancing the spirit of individual liberty and personal responsibility, free markets and democracy, and self-reliance among women. Led by senior fellow Michelle D. Bernard, IWF's international program seeks to advance the full economic, political, social and legal participation of women on a global basis by promoting individual rights, equal rights for women, religious and ethnic minorities, religious freedom, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and respect for private property. IWF has been active in working to promote women's rights in Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq since 2002 when IWF's president served as a delegate in the 46th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.  Over the last year, IWF has either sponsored or participated in democracy education programs for several delegations of Iraqi women, including a program sponsored by the Women's Alliance for a Democratic Iraq.