Backgrounder on New Iraqi Arrivals

This webinar, from March 12, 2008, features Husam Abdulkhaleq and Abdallah Boumediene from ACCESS providing background on new Iraqi refugees.

This webinar is part of the National Capacity Building (NCB) webinar series. NCB is a project of the Center for Victims of Torture.


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Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Note: The "new" Iraqi arrivals referenced in this webinar were new in 2008. Obviously refugee and immigrant arrivals vary year to year, but the context provided in this webinar is still valuable for those serving Iraqis.


This webinar is the first in a series related to recent Iraqi arrivals. The context is focus on the geography, religious groups, social norms, and conflicts that arise with new immigrants. The speakers identify schisms between religious factions (Shi’ite and Sunni, Muslim and Christian) that date back throughout the long history of Iraq. They also explain the Iraqi culture to help participants understand the strong cultural and family structures that they have left behind. Because of the collectivist nature of Iraq, and other Arab societies, it is important to recognize the challenges that confront immigrants when they enter into the individualistic societies in the west. Conflicts arise most often in intergenerational settings, often because of the education and indoctrination of the children to western ideals.

Web Resources: 

Related Articles and Books: 

  • Oil in Iraq: The Byzantine Beginnings (Global Policy Forum)
  • The Secret History of the Middle East (U.S. News and World Report) "Pragmatic coexistence was the rule, not the exception, for much of the Middle East's history."
  • Polk, W. (2006). Understanding Iraq: The whole sweep of Iraqi history, from Genghis Khan's Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British mandate to the American occupation. New York: Harper Perennial.
  • Ellis, D. (2009). Children of war: Voices of Iraqi refugees. Toronto: Groundwood Books.


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