Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) - Dr. Pishtiwan Sadiq, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Education and acting Minster of Endowment and Religious Affairs, is in Washington this week to meet with US administration officials and members of Congress.
In each of his meetings, the Minister outlined reforms to Kurdistan’s school curriculum to promote cultural diversity and religious freedom, and also discussed the KRG efforts to spread the message of peaceful coexistence through with the cooperation of faith leaders, and the concerns of displaced religious minorities that are unable to return to their homes.
Minister Sadiq and his delegation were hosted for a meeting (pictured here) at the White House with the National Security Council and Office of Vice President Mike Pence, where they discussed a range of issues related to education, religious freedom, and the status of religious minorities currently displaced into Kurdistan.
This was the Minister’s first official visit to the United States and was coordinated with Samaritan’s Purse, an American humanitarian aid organization which has long provided aid to refugees and people in need in Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq.
Minister Sadiq and KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman traveled to the State Department to meet separately with the Director of Iraq Affairs Robert Waller, and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. They also attended a roundtable discussion about international religious freedom, which Ambassador Brownback hosts regularly.
At the US Agency for International Development, the delegation was hosted for a meeting with Counselor Christopher Milligan, Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau Michael Harvey, and Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Tim Zeimer. They had a wide-ranging discussion about education reform, religious tolerance, and the challenges facing displaced Iraqis who are seeking to return home.
Minister Sadiq and Representative Abdul Rahman held a series of meetings over three days in Congress, meeting with members and staff to update them on the KRG’s efforts to combat extremist ideologies, support religious diversity in Kurdistan, and more. The members they met with included Representative Guy Reschenthaler, Representative Virginia Foxx, Representative Tim Burchett, and Representative Ted Budd. They also met with staff from Senator Richard Burr, Senator Thom Tillis, Representative Mark Meadows, and Representative Alma Adams.
The Minister visited the American Center for Law and Justice to meet with the organization's Director of Government Affairs, Nathanael Bennett.
On Tuesday, Minister Sadiq and his delegation shared a meal with members of the Kurdish community in Virginia.