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Assisting Democracy Building in Iraq

Supported by: IRI – International Republican Institute

Project span:
September 2004 – September 2005

Project team:
Bronislava Pinterová, Oľga Gyárfášová, Grigorij Mesežnikov

Co-organizing institutions:
IRI – International Republican Institute Baghdad, Iraq

Objective:
The primary objective of the project is to provide knowledge and expertise of the leading public policy think tank in Slovakia to political and NGO leaders in Iraq to support their efforts in building up democracy in their country. The transfer of knowledge and experience will be realized via short study trips and will focus mainly on:

1. The role of political parties in transition to democracy; and

2. How to apply public opinion polls and other types of surveys in (establishing and) promoting democratic political process (for example: in preparing an effective pre-election communication strategy, in the positioning of the party, in identifying target groups, in analyzing the social and political c1imate in the country etc.).

The topics of study trips consist from lectures and visits of state administrative institutions – National Council of SR, Parliamentary Institute and NGOs oriented on social and political aspects of democracy building and sustainability, human rights, civil society, role of independent media, civic campaigns and public opinion polls.

Outputs:

Young Iraqi leaders in Slovakia

In 2.5. – 8.5.2005  and 25.7. – 5.8.2006 Institute for Public Affairs hosted groups of NGO activists and members of political parties from Iraq. IVO trained 15 activists altogether. The trainings have been realized within the project „Assisting Democracy Building in Iraq“ kindly supported by International Republican Institute.

Program of trainings consisted from theoretical activities and training of practical skills. Seminars and lectures were focused on democratization of society, political parties establishing, applying of human rights, principles of constitutionalism, public opinion polls, transparency and corruption, and many others. The media training have been considered as very useful by participants themselves.

During their stay in Bratislava the study trips participants also visited National Council of Slovak Republic, Parliamentary Institute and various NGO operating in the fields related to their work activities in Iraq – Pontis Foundation, MEMO98 and Open Society Foundation; as well as ANO – political party.

Certainly many problems Iraqi society faces are far away from ours, but we can offer many inspiring experiences to Iraqi democracy leaders: “Slovak experience is very useful for us. You also were establishing new political parties, writing new constitution, have your experiences with minorities. There are more similarities between Slovakia and Iraq”,  Basim Al‑ROBELA; lawyer, participant of IVO study trip.

Workshop for young Iraqi leaders in Amman

The Institute for Public Affairs led practical workshop for 32 Iraqi leaders in Amman, in September 16 – 19, 2005. The training were mainly focused on designing the civil campaigns and public opinion polls. The workshop sections were led by Sebastian Lazaroiu (Center for Urban and Regional Sociology; Romania), Igor Klimeš (People in Need; Czech Republic) Vlado Talian (Head 98; Slovakia), Oľga Gyárfášová, Grigorij Mesežnikov and Broňa Pinterová (IVO).



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