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March 2019 Newsletter


The GPD Charitable Trust is driven by a commitment to collaboration between public, private, and social actors that contribute to a more peaceful, prosperous, and stable world.

We are grateful to each and every one of our grantees who willfully engage with us as we work towards these shared goals.

In this newsletter, you’ll find GPD’s monthly update on our initiatives empowered by your support. As always, feel free to reach out directly if we can be a resource to you or if you would like to explore ways we can work together.

From Brussels, Syria Direct Reports at Annual Conference Supporting Syria

Two journalists from GPD Partner organization, Syria Direct, Barrett Limoges and Ammar Hamou, reported from Brussels in mid-March on the Annual Conference Supporting Syria.

Both Ammar and Barrett conducted dozens of interviews with international stakeholders, local Syrian activists, and community members, culminating in the publication of a series of reports. These publications can be found here:

Iraq Leadership Fellows Build Political Coalitions

Last week, the 2018/2019 Class of GPD Partner, the Iraq Leadership Fellow Program, met in Sulaimani, Iraq for the second of three intensive training sessions intended to contribute to the positive transformation of Iraqi politics and governance by equipping young activists and future political leaders with the skills they need to lead positive change. The ILF further seeks to diminish ethno-sectarian divisions in Iraq by creating a space for future Iraqi leaders to develop relationships and friendships with peers from different backgrounds based on respect and mutual understanding.

The Fellows on the Political Candidate Track sharpened their negotiation skills in several training exercises, before putting their new skills to work in a simulation of the Iraqi political coalition building process. Meanwhile, the Fellows on the Social Activist Track studied the power of narrative in building change movements. By sharing personal stories with each other, the Fellows saw the transformative power of vulnerability and narrative as their perceptions of each other were fundamentally altered.  

GPD engages with Atlantic Council on Three-year US-Europe-Iraq Track II Dialogue

This month, GPD renewed the Atlantic Council as a Stardust Grantee. Since 1961, the Atlantic Council has been committed to promoting constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community's central role in meeting global challenges. As part of our renewed partnership, GPD will soon be launching and funding a three-year US-Europe-Iraq Track II dialogue led by the Council’s Iraq Initiative. 

The Track II dialogue will bring a small, carefully selected group of approximately twenty US, European, and Iraqi experts and key policymakers together to:

1) Enhance US-Europe-Iraqi cooperation;

2) Create new ties among Iraqis, Americans and Europeans; and

3) Inject fresh, practical policy ideas into the global conversation at a critical moment when there is a chance for meaningful change in Iraq.

Following the completion of the semi-annual series, the Atlantic Council will publish an Issue Brief outlining key findings and recommendations.

Institute for The Study of War Expands Internship Program

Last month, GPD renewed its committed to support the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), founded by Kim Kagan. This year’s grant will go towards ISW’s investment in future leaders in national security.

Founded in 2007, ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization that advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. It is committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives.

Democracy Council Brings Discussion of Civil Society in Iran to U.S. Congress

On March 15th, The Democracy Council hosted a GPD sponsored seminar on Capitol Hill titled ‘Civil Society in Iran: Prospects for Reform & Implications for Policymakers.’ The event was a series of panel discussions exploring: Access to Independent Information & Media; Marginalized Communities: Social & Political Movements; and Civil Society: Trends & Prospects for Reform.

GPD would like to extend a special thank you Brian
Hook, Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State, and all of the speakers and panelists who joined The Democracy Council for this important discussion. The full video of the event can be found here.

Iraqi Leadership Fellows Program’s Nussaibah Younis to visit Chicago

In April, Nussaibah Younis, founder of GPD Partner organization the Iraqi Leadership Fellows Program (ILFP), will be in Chicago to speak at several of GPD's Chicago-area grantees:

  • April 10th: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

  • April 12th: University of Chicago's Pearson Institute’s one day workshop titled, “The Darker Side of Peace Agreement”

  • April 23rd: Northwestern University MENA

Nussaibah is an expert on the politics, economy and foreign policy of Iraq. Through his leadership at the  Iraq Leadership Fellows Program (ILFP) at the American University of Iraq, Iraqi political and social activists have the opportunity to learn and strengthen  campaign skills critical to developing the future of Iraq

Please email John or Tamara to learn more about attending any of these events.

After the passing of friend and fellow West Point alum, Fred Malek, John DeBlasio said: “He was one of the most gracious men I’ve met and someone who did countless things for others to help them find success and become servant leaders like himself. We mourn as a community, and as a nation, on the passing of this great American – Fred Malek. May all of our thoughts and prayers be with the Malek family during this difficult time."

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