Primate calls Irish teachers to rebuild Iraq’s Christian communities

Primate calls Irish teachers to rebuild Iraq’s Christian communities Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq

A school in the depths of a country torn apart by religious extremism would “dearly appreciate” an English teacher from Ireland to help rebuild the community, according to Archbishop Eamon Martin.

The Archdiocese of Erbil in Iraq is rebuilding after ISIS destroyed towns and villages in the area and desecrated Christian sites and persecuted Christians. Many fled for their lives.

To kerb the “evacuation” of young Christians in the Middle East, Archbishop Martin said there needs to be “human solidarity” to inspire and prepare young leaders.

After his visit to the country just before Christmas, Dr Martin told The Irish Catholic: “There’s a temptation to think that the best way to fix these problems is through infrastructure and houses.

“If an Irish young person were to say, ‘I’m a teacher I’m willing to go out and work in Erbil for a year and bring my skills and experience to assist this community’, that to me is a huge contribution which is something that money can’t buy.”

In order for a young person to assume a leadership role in Iraq they often need to have a knowledge of English, as well as Arabic and Kurdish. Dr Martin assured anyone worried about safety in Erbil they have no need to fear as it is a safe area.


The archbishop also appealed for universities in Ireland to provide scholarships for students in Salahaddin University in Erbil and asked professors or lecturers to consider going to Iraq for a year or six months to lecture.


Dr Martin said: “All of these things are about human capital, in other words they’re not just about building up buildings and fixing houses and roads.

“They’re about investing some of our human capital to assist the Christian community in a more medium to longer term fashion, in order for them to keep their young people in Iraq, because the biggest problem is the evacuation of the Christian community, particularly the young and their young leaders.”

Currently many young people continue to leave Iraq for the US, Europe and beyond for job opportunities and education.

Recently Donald Trump signed into law the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act on December 11, which seeks to ensure US aid reaches Christian and Yazidi genocide victims which will assist relief and development programmes in the area.