Meet our intern: Michael Salzman

Written on February 20, 2018, by

Hi, I’m Michael Salzman. I’m a senior at Macalester College studying Arabic and the history and politics of the Middle East. In 2014, I worked for the D.C.-based nonprofit New Story Leadership, where I worked to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to discuss their own stories. My studies since then have focused on the unique dynamics of identity politics and narrative building in the post-colonial Islamic world. I’m also learning to cook.

Meet our spring intern: Gita!

Written on February 16, 2018, by

My name is Gita Misra, and I am a student at the University of Minnesota. I am in my junior year, and my major is global studies with a focus on human rights and justice in the Middle East. I am looking forward to interning at IARP! I chose this organization because its focus falls within the region of study I would like to work in some day. I am looking forward to deepening my understanding on how nonprofit organizations work since I have no experience with them so far, and I would like to work in this field in the future. I grew up in the Twin Cities area and decided to attend college here. Since high school, I knew I wanted to work in human rights, but it wasn’t until college that I chose my emphasis area as the Middle East. In my classes at the U, I learned more about the Middle East and discovered what a diverse region it was. During my sophomore year at the U, I studied abroad for a semester in Jordan (and visited the UAE for a short period of time). While abroad, I conducted a research project on sexual education among teenagers in Amman. Being there was one of the greatest experiences in my life, and I am hoping that once I graduate, I can return to the country.

Meet our new intern: Maddie Beal

Written on February 14, 2018, by

My name is Maddie Beal and I am a senior at the University of Minnesota. I am majoring in Global Studies with a focus in Human Rights and justice and Europe and minoring in History. I am very excited to be interning with IARP this semester! I got involved with IARP because of my internship class I am taking at the U. I wanted to intern with IARP because I am very interested in how nonprofits work and also very interested in learning more about the Middle East. Also, the projects that IARP is working on right now like Books for Mosul and the Iraqi Art Project are intriguing to me. I am originally from Colorado but moved to Minneapolis four years ago to play volleyball for the U. I just completed my four years of eligibility playing for the Gophers in 2017, now I am coaching a 14’s volleyball team for a club and love it! After I graduate I plan to go to the UK to play on a university team and get my masters or go to Europe to play professional volleyball.

Iraqi Voices: Mini Film Fest

Written on September 7, 2017, by

Iraqi Voices: Mini Film Fest is a series of short documentary films written and directed by Iraqi-Minnesotan refugees and immigrants, photographed and edited by Nathan Fisher. Iraqi Voices is a collaborative art program operated by the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project that gives Iraqi immigrants and refugees in Minnesota an artistic platform to share their stories.

The screenings are at 7PM on September 15 & 16, but don’t miss these other opportunities to dig deeper into the issues and art:

September 15: Come early (6PM) for a thought-provoking discussion with Iraqi Voices filmmakers, moderated by Tricia Heuring, Public Functionary’s Co-Director/Curator. The film screening starts at 7PM, with a reception to follow!

September 16: Don’t miss the 3PM workshop & conversation about the craft of documentary filmmaking moderated by Film Director, Producer, and Writer E.G. Bailey of Tru Ruts . $7 Suggested Donation. RSVP Required:

Seating is limited – get yours today!

*Part of the Brown CINEMA Cafť series*

Staged Reading of Birds Sing Differently Here at Dreamland Arts

Written on September 5, 2017, by

In March 2017, 12 Iraqi-Minnesotan immigrants and refugees came together under the direction of theater artists Taous Claire Khazem and Dylan Fresco to create an original and innovative theater performance based on their personal stories as a part of our Iraqi Voices project. They continued an extensive creative process for eight weeks, learning ensemble work and participating in storytelling and theater exercises. Rehearsals for the show began in July, with a staged reading version of Birds Sing Differently Here on stage at Dreamland Arts in August.

The diverse intergenerational cast included nine Iraqi Voices participants (Nada Alabbasi, Ali Alshammaa, Hannaa Al-Azzawi, Mazin Chilab, Abdullah Flaija, Adel Naji, Dhifaf Sarhan, Ahmed Al Shaikhli and Bahaa Al Shaikhli) and four professional actors (Ashawnti Ford, Dylan Fresco, Aamera Siddiqui and Mohammed Yabdri).

Each of the three nights were sold out! The premiere of Birds Sing Differently Here will be at the Guthrie in October.


Official premiere of Birds Sing Differently Here as part of the theaterís Level 9 Series, all tickets for productions in the Dowling Studio are $9. To purchase, call the Box Office 612.377.2224 or toll-free 877.44.STAGE or visit here.

DATE: October 27, 28, 29
TIME: 7:30pm and 1:00pm
LOCATION: Guthrie Theater, Dowling Studio


Iraqi and American Potluck and Barbecue

Written on August 31, 2017, by






Join us for our annual Iraqi and American Potluck and Barbecue!

Saturday, September 9th we will be celebrating our annual Potluck at Minnehaha Park Wabun C. Arrive at 4:30 and check in before the food begins at 5.

Food, games, and fun for the whole family!

Potlucks are about sharing. Bring a food dish that relates to your background or simply the one you enjoy most. Drinks and halal kabobs will be provided. If you are unable to bring a dish to share, please bring a donation to cover the evening’s expenses instead.

Kids activities, soccer, backgammon, bingo, and more! Join us in creating a space for sharing food, good company, and the beautiful Minnehaha views.

This activity is funded in part by the Laura Jane Musser Fund. Kids Activities sponsored by Champlin Super Target.


Iraqi Voices at the Guthrie!

Written on August 14, 2017, by

















It is our pleasure to announce that October 27-29, IARP will partner with the Guthrie Theater to present Birds Sing Differently Here. In conjunction with the performance, audiences will be able to engage with the work from IARPís Iraqi Voices program, a collaborative art lab that gives Iraqi immigrants and refugees in Minnesota a platform to share their stories through bookmaking, documentary filmmaking and visual art.

Birds Sing Differently Here is a theater piece based on the true stories of 12 Iraqi-Minnesotan refugees and immigrants, directed by Taous Claire Khazem and created by Dylan Fresco, Taous Claire Khazem and Iraqi Voices program participants. Birds Sing Differently Here weaves together tales of sweetness, sorrow, grief and discovery. Inventively performed in both English and Arabic, participants come together with a cast of professional actors to tell ďthe story of a thousand olive pits and seven thousand praises, tokens of love and a chilling escape from the desert of death.Ē

The Iraqi Voices participants and ensemble include: Nada Alabbasi, Sumaya Ameen, Ali Alshammaa, Hannaa Al-Azzawi, Abdullah Flaija, Salwa Mohialdeen, Adel Naji, Arwa Naji, Dhifaf Sarhan, Mazin Chilab, Ahmed Al Shaikhli, Bahaa Al Shaikhli, Rawan Al Shaikhli, with Mohammed Yabdri, Dylan Fresco, Aamera Siddiqui and Ashawnti Ford.

To purchase tickets, call the Box Office 612.377.2224 or toll-free 877.44.STAGE or visit here.

Women’s Friendship Group

Written on August 10, 2017, by













In early 2017, IARP established a womenís friendship group as a chance for the women to be hosted in each othersí homes, interact in a positive space, and engage with the diversity of each othersí cultures.† This group has been a huge success; in fact, IARP has already received inquiries about starting new groups.

Group member and coordinator Sue Johnston touches on one of the goals of the group in her words below,

ďToday I celebrated my 200th day of resisting Trump, with the Iraqi/American Women’s Friendship Group. Through the Iraqi American Reconciliation Project, I have the opportunity to spend time each month with these fun and interesting Iraqi-Minnesotans.

How is this resisting Trump? Trump said in Poland: “We (western civilization) write symphonies…..we reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success, We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. ” I resist this world view that denigrates the contributions of Iraqi and Middle Eastern culture. These women are educated, cultured, strong and funny. The more we open up to those who are different from us, the richer we and our culture becomes!Ē

Welcome our new Development and Program Associate!

Written on August 7, 2017, by

IARP continues to be committed to challenging xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric and supporting an expanded understanding of one another. In order to meet the needs of our increased programming in 2017 and beyond, we are delighted to welcome Allie Harris to the IARP team as our part-time Development and Program Associate! Allie has her M.A. in Islamic Studies and has been interning with IARP since January of this year.


After finishing my M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of Denver in Summer 2016, I moved to Minnesota and found the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project. I am so lucky to have IARP be my introduction to the Twin Cities. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing individuals and I find myself constantly inspired by the work of those around me.

Interning with IARP over the last seven months has been an incredible experience. The work I have done in our community has refreshed my passion for my field. In my time with IARP, there are a few moments that stand above the rest. In February, I was able to participate in a beautiful, peaceful march through the streets of Minneapolis in support of refugees and then write a blog about the event for our website. In May, I had the pleasure of attending the Festival of Nations. Thousands of people visited our booth, anxious to learn more about Iraq and I was excited to use this opportunity to practice my Arabic while writing visitors names. In June, I watched as Muslims and non-Muslims came together to celebrate Ramadan at our Iftar dinner. In a time when it is so easy to see the hate in this world, IARP has shown me the beauty of cultures coming together to learn about and accept each other. This is what I love most about this organization, and what I look forward to working towards more in the future.

Non-profit work is new to me and I am beyond excited to continue learning and growing with IARP. The love and respect I have gained for this organization drives me to work hard and I hope to bring this drive to my new position as Development and Program Associate. This is the first time IARP has hired a second employee and I am honored to continue my work with this organization. The directors, board, volunteers, and community members have been wonderful these last seven months and I look forward to working with all of you in the future; thank you for this opportunity.


Meet our Iraqi Art Project Intern: Abby Massell

Written on July 30, 2017, by

Hello! My name is Abby Massell and I’m a senior at Macalester College studying International Studies, Political Science, and Arabic. I grew up in Burlington, Vermont and have had wonderful
opportunities to study and travel in Morocco, Jordan and Palestine.† At Macalester, I’ve spent my
time outside of academics singing in one of Macalester’s choirs and a cappella groups,
participating in Macalester Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, as well as advocating
for the admission of displaced students to Macalester alongside a dedicated group of peers. It
has been a pleasure spending my first summer in the Twin Cities getting to know places and
people beyond the Macalester neighborhood, aided in particular by my internship with IARP.
While I do not yet have plans for after graduation, I hope to find a career in advocacy and
education with a goal to equalize access for those in my local community as well as abroad.