Hello from UNITAR: Respect for Hiroshima’s Message of Forgiveness

by Yoko Morita, UNITAR Hiroshima Office

Ms. Faten Alweli (28), an outposted coordinator based in Baghdad, Iraq, joined the UNITAR Hiroshima Office team in 2016. She jumped on the chance to work for UNITAR after seeing a job posting while she was working at the US Embassy in Iraq.

Iraq has a history of prosperity, but 30 years of war and oppression destroyed many of the institutions for indigenous capacity development. “Since the election this past May, it is still uncertain who heads the government. There is an urgent need to foster human resources who can lead the country,” said Ms. Alweli.

More than 65 percent of Iraq’s population is under 29 years old. Ms. Alweli is enthusiastic about working for a training programme that can enhance opportunities for youth.

Ms. Alweli visited Hiroshima for the first time with the participants of UNITAR’s Iraq Fellowship Programme. She was shocked by Hiroshima’s atmosphere of forgiveness. “Of course, it couldn’t have been a simple process. Still, I respect the people of Hiroshima, who decided to send a message of forgiveness even to their former enemies,” Ms. Alweli shared. Her country has gradually begun a positive phase of reconstruction with hopes for a future free from dictatorship, wars, and threats by ISIS. However, Ms. Alweli still sees that many of her fellow Iraqis find forgiveness difficult, and ethnic and religious differences still divide the society.

On August 6, Ms. Alweli saw many messages on social media from UNITAR programme alumni of the commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. “This shows how touching the experience in Hiroshima was for us. I would like to thank all the people there.”

(Originally published on August 28, 2018)