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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 13, 2017
Contact: Eden Gordon Media/202/714.6014


Religious conflict is spreading like a dangerous cancer throughout the Middle East. Posing a serious threat to pluralism, peace and stability for future generations.

 

(Washington, D.C.) Hardwired Global President and Founder, Tina Ramirez, launched a groundbreaking initiative to train educators in the Middle East on how to incorporate lessons on human dignity and the freedom of religion or belief into their core curriculum. Hardwired Global has developed a unique educational training that is leading educational efforts to combat intolerance and the ideas that contribute to violent extremism.

This program, which is made possible by the British Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, is aimed to educate young people on the value of defending the rights of people of all beliefs in a region of the world that continually faces conflict and religious extremism.

Hardwired Global has brought together a core group of master teachers from Iraq and other countries in the region to prepare “teacher-trainers” who will help expand the education program with more teachers in their country.  This educational program, focused on instilling respect for the human right to freedom of religion or belief, is the first of its kind in the Middle East region and the world.  

Ramirez stated….“Religious conflict is spreading like a dangerous cancer throughout the Middle East, posing a particular threat to pluralism, peace and stability.  As Mosul and other parts of Iraq are being liberated from ISIS, tens of thousands of young people are finally able to escape the indoctrination they experienced for two and a half years.  Without this program, the long-term implications are significant.  Thousands of children have been taught to justify violence against others in the name of religion.  Some were even trained in jihad.  Girls were kept out of schools and denigrated in society.  The conflict has impacted youth outside ISIS-controlled areas in other parts of Iraq and the Middle East, where millions are displaced, traumatized, and trying to make sense of what they are experiencing around them.  This is why Hardwired launched a program to equip teachers in the region with methodologies that help children question intolerance and extremism and promote respect for the rights and freedoms of others, particularly religious minorities.” 

Ramirez concluded…”This is a unique opportunity, as it is the first time any government has supported educational programs focused on the human right to freedom of religion or belief.  One teacher we trained, Maya, shared how students at her school in Erbil, Kurdistan were found playing a game where they beheaded one another by ISIS.  Maya did not know how to respond when her students began associating with the terrorist group, but we do. Our programs have been proven to help communities address the root causes of religious extremism and build societies that are resilient to intolerance, hostility and other ideas that lead to extremism. ”
 
Maya (Teacher in Training) -- “I really want to attend this program to help the children. Considering the situation that we are living in right now, I hope to be able to achieve this and make their education better ... I am in Kurdistan. The government ignores the region, the children, the problem. I want to get the children away from all this war, the killings, the beheadings. I want to learn the refugee activity [of imaginary fruit-groups as religious minorities] as best I can so that I can teach it to the children. I want to give them every delightful experience I can. I want to learn as much as I can from this seminar, so that even if I cannot teach the lesson I will have the authority to create change.” 
  
ABOUT HARDWIRED GLOBAL: We train leaders in countries experiencing religious conflict to advance human dignity and freedom of conscience for everyone. There are now hundreds of Hardwired leaders bringing freedom within reach for individuals living in countries affected by oppression and intolerance around the world.
ABOUT TINA RAMIREZ: Tina Ramirez is the president and founder of Hardwired Global where she regularly travels to Iraq. She is a contributing author and editor of Human Rights in the United States: A Dictionary and Documents (2010 and 2017). Previously, she served as founding staff director of the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus.

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