Iraq Celebrates its Youth

15 August 2018

15 August 2018, Erbil, Iraq - Youth in Iraq are compelling agents of change; as they become more empowered, they can and should, play a critical role in building back their communities after the three-year war that hit the country.

To make changes, young people need safe spaces to develop and recover as well as find stability. Safe spaces are the physical or virtual spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves.

To celebrate the young men and women in Iraq, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, under the auspices of Prime Minister, Mr Hayder Al-Abadi, with the support of UNFPA in Iraq, held on 10 August a gathering at Al-Rasheed hotel in Baghdad, in presence of high level officials and diplomats, and youth.

Speaking at the celebration, Mr Abdul Hussein Abtan, Minister of Youth and Sport (MoYS), praised the Iraqi youth for their resilience:” Iraq defeated the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) thanks to the strength and unity of its people, especially the youth. Now, the country can only recover through their determination which will lead us towards development and rebuilding our nation.”


On his part, Mr Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, emphasized on the importance of the provision of safe spaces for youth: “The safe spaces, be it physical, digital, virtual or public, offer a meaningful platform for young Iraqis, enabling them to dialogue on topics of peace and tolerance, to contribute to the prevention of and awareness on violence and extremism, as well as accelerate the social and economic recovery and get involved in the decision-making in Iraq. The youth spaces also act as platforms where youth can be trained in skills of leadership, entrepreneurship, etc”. 

He also announced the upcoming launch of the national survey on Youth Needs for evidence-based policy making & programming, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth.

At the end of the ceremony, Mr Abtan honoured Mr Balakrishnan for his support to youth in Iraq through UNFPA partnership with the MoYS; the Minister thanked UNFPA for its close collaboration with the MoYS for the last four years, which enabled the Ministry to establish projects to empower youth in Iraq and build their capacities, especially with the peace and development projects.


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For more information or media inquiries please contact: Salwa Moussa, Communications Analyst,