Sunday 7 January 2024

KRG Delegation Attends 2024 International Religious Freedom Summit and National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.

Washington, DC, USA ( - On behalf of the KRG Representation in the United States, Dasko Shirwani, Director of Religious Affairs, accompanied a distinguished delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the 2024 International Religious Freedom Summit and National Prayer Breakfast from January 30 to February 2 in Washington D.C. This event underscored the KRG's steadfast commitment to religious freedom and peaceful coexistence.

The KRG delegation included Minister Ano Abdoka, a Chaldean Christian and the Minister of Transport and Communication, Mr. Amir Mawlud, Executive Director of the KRG's Department of Coexistence; Mr. Barzan Barzan, a cleric at the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, Mr. Kaldo Ramzi, a Chaldean Christian and General Director of Syriac Culture and Art at the Ministry of Culture and Youth, and Mr. Farhad Kakai, a vocal advocate for the Kakayi religious minority in Kurdistan.

During their visit, Minister Ano Abdoka met with Mr. Steve Bitner, Director of the Iraq Office at the Department of State. Their discussion focused on the critical challenges confronting religious and ethnic groups in Iraq, spotlighting the proactive measures the KRG has implemented to safeguard and address their rights and issues.

Minister Abdoka stated, "Meeting with the Director of Iraq Affairs at the State Department NEA, the honorable Mr. Steve Bitner, and his esteemed team in Washington D.C. offered a unique opportunity. The peoples of Kurdistan and the United States share core values of democracy, diversity, ethnic-religious coexistence, and a deeply rooted pursuit of freedom and liberty."

The International Religious Freedom Summit represents a significant civil society-led initiative, backed by a diverse coalition of partners committed to advancing the cause of international religious freedom. The KRG delegation expressed its sincere appreciation to the more than 80 partners responsible for organizing the 2024 IRF Summit, which united a broad spectrum of organizations dedicated to championing religious freedom globally.

At this year's National Prayer Breakfast, the nation’s top political leaders prayed for guidance, safety, reconciliation, and unity. The annual event, organized by the National Prayer Breakfast Foundation, is held to bring America’s political leadership together to pray for the nation, the president, and the world. The convocation, now in its 72nd year, was attended by President Joe Biden and high-ranking members of both major parties.

This engagement highlights the KRG's continued dedication to promoting religious freedom and tolerance, not only within the Kurdistan Region but also on an international scale. It reflects the KRG's commitment to cultivating an environment of mutual respect and understanding among diverse communities.