People to People Programs

People to People facilitates cultural, language, personal, and professional exchanges in both Minnesota and Iraq.  In 2017 alone, IARP reached over 50,000 Iraqis and Americans with 50 activities throughout the year.


Sister City Citizens Committee for Minneapolis and Najaf

IARP is proud to be the citizens’ committee of the Minneapolis-Najaf Sister City relationship since its inception in 2009 by the City of Minneapolis and Provincial Council of Najaf.  Sister City relationships are a commitment from two cities to promote friendship and peaceful relationships between their citizens and communities. President Eisenhower launched the Sister Cities concept in 1956 in calling for increased citizen exchanges between Americans and people of other nations to promote peace and understanding.  

Thanks to our community of active volunteers, we have hosted eleven delegations from Najaf and four delegations have traveled from Minneapolis to Najaf.

“We found Americans to be a friendly, lovely people.  They hope that the Iraqi people have peace and love rather than war and violence. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality during our trip to Minneapolis”
— Dr. Abdulkareem Al-Rahdi, Najaf Delegate to Minneapolis
“We were honored and humbled by the hospitality that we received from hundreds of Iraqi citizens.  Iraqis want to work for reconciliation - whether through business partnerships, cultural and academic exchanges, or symbolic gestures.”
— Kathy McKay, former Executive Director and Minneapolis Delegate to Najaf

Community Events: Annual Potluck and Picnic, Ramadan Iftar, and More

Our annual Iraqi and American community events are known throughout Minnesota for bringing Iraqi and non-Iraqi neighbors together in friendship.  We create welcoming spaces for Iraqis and non-Iraqis to meet and build long-lasting relationships.

Annual Potluck and Picnic:  Iraqi and non-Iraqi neighbors join together every summer or fall for an afternoon of food, conversation, games, and other activities.  

 Women at potluck 2018
 Men and women dancing at potluck

Ramadan Iftar: Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of prayer, fasting, and charity-giving.  Fasting during Ramadan is one of the “five pillars” of Islam, and is practiced to learn compassion, self-restraint, and generosity. The main meal during Ramadan is the evening “Iftar” when Muslims end their daily fast.  Members from the community come together with the local Iraqi community to learn more about Ramadan, share a meal, and celebrate our diverse community.

Festival of Nations: IARP works with the local Iraqi community to organize the Iraqi cultural booth at Minnesota’s annual “Festival of Nations,” which sees over 50,000 visitors a year.

 Jamal and Adil Festival of Nations
 Jamal Festival of Nations
 Festival of Nations group photo

Women’s Friendship Groups

In 2017, IARP launched our innovative “women’s friendship groups” to offer local Iraqi and non-Iraqi women the opportunity to build rich intercultural friendships.  The women’s friendship groups are made up of Iraqi and non-Iraqi Minnesotans who commit to meet on a monthly basis for nine months with volunteer Iraqi and non-Iraqi coordinators.  Participants celebrate holidays together, visit local museums and sites, and cook meals together, as they get to know one another’s cultures and perspectives.

 Womens Group Park photo small group
“Each time we sit together and talk about our ideas, current events, and religions, we enlarge our own perceptions of ourselves, Iraqi people, and the world.”
— women’s group participant
 Womens-Group-Park-photo
 
“It is a good opportunity to listen to other parties beliefs, thoughts, cultures, and suggestions to create very wonderful environments to cooperation.  We need American women to play a role in introducing Iraqi women to Minnesotan historical and famous places to be aware of, as Minnesota will be their new home.”
— women’s group participant
 

Speaker Programs

To raise the voices of the local Iraqi immigrant and refugee community and help spread awareness of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, IARP staff and volunteers regularly speak at schools, universities, churches, community centers, conferences, conventions, and other local venues. To host a local IARP speaker, please contact the our team.