The Kirkuk Forum welcomes you to the 3rd Annual Conference of the Forum for Cities in Transition

The Forum for Cities in Transition hosted its third annual conference in Kirkuk, Iraq, 6-11 October 2012.

This year’s conference brought together international delegates from 10 cities to share information, discuss models of best practice, examine ways of improving community relations, and identify programmes and projects that delegates developed and declared on the final day of the conference to implement in their home cities or as joint projects within their sister cities. Over two dozen outcomes were pledged.

Delegates included mayors, councillors, municipal officers, and representatives of the business, voluntary and community sectors. The participating cities are:

  • Baghdad
  • Belfast
  • Derry-Londonderry
  • Kaduna
  • Kirkuk
  • Mitrovica
  • Mostar
  • Nicosia
  • Ramallah
  • Tripoli

At last year’s gathering in Derry-Londonderry, Kirkuk pledged to host the 2012 gathering. Kirkuk has been a member of the Forum since the 2009 founding conference held at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Members of the Kirkuk Forum, which organised the 2012 gathering, consists of representatives of local authorities, political parties, executives, the voluntary and community sectors, police, health directorate and civil defence.

The conference programme was a mixture of panel discussions with experts and practitioners; workshops for delegates to discuss what they hd seen and heard; and site visits to local communities across the city.

Conference themes

This year’s main conference themes included:

  • Provision of municipal services
  • Constitutional issues affecting Kirkuk
  • Policing and security
  • Women in transitional socieites
  • Youth and social media
  • Agriculture and economic development


The Kirkuk Forum worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the 2012 gathering of the Forum for Cities in Transition.

The organisation of such a prestigious conference took a lot of hard work and effort from a lot of people, to ensure it would be successful and met the objectives of the organisers, participants and funders. We are very proud of the programme that was developed for the conference, and confident that it met the expectations of the interest groups.

ALL Kirkuk Forum members are really excited to be hosting such an important international conference in the city of Kirkuk, and we will make every effort to ensure that all participants enjoy and benefit from the experience of being here.


Kirkuk Provincial Council Chairman


Each year, your city’s forum is reminded that the Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT) only works if the conferees carry out the commitments they made at the close of the previous year’s conference. Each conference is a continuation of the work of the previous year. At the end of this year’s Kirkuk FCT conference, during the final plenary, each city will report back to delegates on how successful it was in completing the outcome(s) it committed itself to in Derry-Londonderry in 2011, and commit to — in some cases continuing or implementing — a new project before the 2013 conference. In this sense, the Kirkuk FCT conference is not a conference per se, but a continuation of the proceedings that began in Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica in May 2010, and Derry-Londonderry in 2011.

The FCT is action driven. Without cities agreeing to make commitments and then following up to ensure their implementation, the conference becomes a chattering box — much said, great ideas exchanged, some friendships made, some fun, shopping and sightseeing and then home, and on to the next conference.

Or in more stark terms: when forum cities stop implementing outcomes and do not go to any great lenghts to do so, that city’s forum is no longer welcome at the following year’s conference. The FCT has to raise at least $250,000 each year to make a conference possible and cannot afford to give cities a free ride. They must keep their end of the bargain or exit the process. They have an obligation to be accountable.

These outcomes conform to the principles drawn up by the founding cities — Derry-Londonderry, the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities in Nicosia, Kirkuk and Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica — at the FCT’s founding gathering at the University of Massachusetts Boston in April 2009. These principles are enumerated in the “Call to Action”, to which all participants are asked to append their signatures as a mark of their seriousness of intent.

I am stressing the completion of outcomes because the announcement of the outcomes to which the 12 cities attending the Derry-Londonderry conference in 2011 and similar announcements at the Mitrovicë/Kosovska Mitrovica conference in 2010, with a designated member of each city standing before their peers at the conference’s final plenary and affirming what project(s) their city will implement before the following year’s conference were the high point of both conferences, an acknowledgement that the huge effort and infusion of money raised by the FCT and the contribution by donors to ensure a successful conference was worthwhile; proof that the FCT is an ongoing process, not a once in a lifetime experience. These commitments involved the attending cities undertaking projects that would either strengthen relations among their once warring communities, thus furthering reconciliation and ongoing recovery, or undertaking a project(s) that would benefit a sister city on a lower rung of the latter of transition to transformation.

Without this process of bonding, of identification with devastating consequences of your sister cities’ conflict (because it mirrors your own in so many ways), and a willingness to learn from each other’s experiences, to find common paths facilitating transition, and in the absence of an understanding that collectively you can undertake projects that individually you would not be capable of, the quintessential reason for the existence of the FCT is abrogated; the conference simply gets lost in a cauldron of idle talk.

The Kirkuk Provincial Council Forum has gone to great lenghts to ensure that the programme you will be part of over the next four days leaves you with indelible impressions of how the communities of Kirkuk — Sunni, Shi’a, Kurd, Arab, Turkmen, Christian, Assyrian and the smaller minorities have come together to try and build on common ground to resolve the multiple problems, including constitutional ones, that have hampered development and put obstacles in the way of their achieving harmonous relationships at all levels among their diverse communities. Kirkuk has successfully surmounted some of these problems, other remain contentious. You will see that much still needs to be done and that you can help the city forge a path to a better future for the city’s often beleaguered residents.

Kirkuk will share with you its experiences of transition and you will share yours; you will explore how you can help each other to move forward to a future where reconciliation is more firmly rooted, for succeeding generations. YOu will share where you once were, where you now are and how you got there, and what your aspirations for the future are.

It is for you, sister cities in the Forum for Cities in Transition, to listen, question, learn, cooperate and work together.


Director, Forum for Cities in Transition


0930-1000 Opening Plenary


  • Mr Hasan Turan Bahaeldin (Chairman of Kirkuk Provincial Council)
  • Dr Najmaldin Karim (Governor of Kirkuk)
  • Mr Turhan Hassan Al Mufty (Minister of Regions Affairs)
1000-1045 Presentation by Kirkuk
History, culture, community and background.

1130-1230 Panel Discussion: Provision of Municipal Services


  • Ali Mahdi (KPC Chief of Services Committee)
  • Dilshad Perot (KPC Chief of the Projects Committee)
  • Abdulkareem Hassan (Municipality DG)
  • Yallchin Mahdi (Electricity DG)
  • Abdulqader Mohammed Amen (Water DG)
  • Dr Sideeq Omar (Health DG)
  • Shin Omar Mubarak (Education DG)
  • Zainab (Social Affairs)
  • Ali Al Salihi (KPC Chief of the Energy Affairs Committee)
  • Jamal Mawlood, Fouad Hussein, Majat Hussein, Halla Nooreldin, Nisreen Khalid (KPC Services Committee)


0930-1100 Panel Discussion: Constitutional Issues: The Path to Harmony


  • Mr Hassan Turan Bahaeldin (Chairman of KPC)
  • Halla Nooreldin (KPC Legal Committee)
  • Awat Amen (KPC Legal Committee)
  • Tahsin Kahiya (KPC Legal Committee)
  • Babakr Sideeq (KPC Legal Committee)
  • Mohamood Mohammed (KPC Legal Committee)

1115-1230 Presentation by Northern Ireland Peace Process Team

With particular reference to commonalities between the situation in Kirkuk and Northern Ireland.

  • Quintin Oliver (Stratagem, Northern Ireland)
  • Séan Farren (SDLP Negotiator)
  • Jeffrey Donaldson MP (DUP Negotiator)
  • Christopher Maccabe (Former Senior Official, Northern Ireland Office (NIO))
  • Peter Shirlow (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Daithi O’Ceallaigh (Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland)


0930-1100 Panel Discussion: Policing and Security


  • Quintin Oliver (Stratagem, Northern Ireland)
  • Chris Yates (Superintendent, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI))
  • Kingsley Donaldson (Director, Causeway Institute)
  • Jon Burrows (Foyle Commander, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI))
  • Adel Zenalabideen
  • Mohmmed Kamal (KPC Security Committee)
  • Ahmed Al Askary (KPC Security Committee)
  • Ali Mahdi (KPC Security Committee)
  • Erfan Kirkukly (KPC Security Committee)

1115-1230 Panel Discussion: Women’s Issues


  • Juana Hassan Aref (Chief, KPC Women, Motherhood & Childhood Affairs Committee)
  • Emanuela Del Re (EPOS)
  • Guillen Ahmed (KPC Women’s Committee)
  • Ramla Hameed (KPC Women’s Committee)
  • Silvanna Bwiya (KPC Women’s Committee)
  • Layla Mohammed (KPC Women’s Committee)
  • Awyzan Noori (Women Activist)
  • Runak Ali (Women Activist)
  • Khilod Abdulrazq (Women Activist)
  • Qadriya Al Dheyai (Women Activist)
  • Amal Joor (Women Activist)


0930-1045 Panel Discussion: Economic Development and the Role of Agriculture


  • Rakan Sa’aed (Kirkuk Deputy Governor)
  • Falah Abdulrahman (Investment Commission)
  • Sabah Salihi (Kirkuk Trade Chamber)
  • Mardan Hameed (Agriculture Deputy DG)
  • Jamal Mawlood (KPC Finance and Economic Committee)
  • Raad Rushdi (KPC Finance and Economic Committee)
  • Ibraheem Khalil (KPC Finance and Economic Committee)
  • Sweetlin Astifan (KPC Finance and Economic Committee)
  • Ramla Hameed (KPC Finance and Economic Committee)
  • Burhan Al Asi’ (KPC Agriculture Affairs Committee)

1115-1215 Special Panel Discussion: Youth and Social Media


  • Aari Jabari (President, INSAN Iraqi Society)
  • Qais Qazaz
  • Mansor
  • Ahmed Ramzi
  • Yarub Talal
  • Rita Gorial
  • Ardiana Osmani (FCT Youth Forum)
  • Milos Golubovic (FCT Youth Forum)
  • Mohammed Khalil (KPC NGO Committee)
  • Sahera Saifeldin (KPC NGO Committee)
1500-1600 Plenary Session: Conference Outcomes
  • Padraig O’Malley (FCT Director)
  • Nancy Riordan (FCT Secretariat)


  • Review of 2011 & 2012 outcomes
  • City declarations of specific, small-scale projects to be delivered for the Forum’s annual conference 2013
  • Selection of host city for Forum’s 2012 Conference


The Forum for Cities in Transition (FCT) is explicitly grounded in there being tangible outcomes at the close of each conference, a commitment made by each city to carrying out a project that will further transition, reconciliation, and development in its own city and/or to help one of its sister cities where its expertise in a particular area can be of significant benefit. Commitments are designed so that cities on the higher rungs of transition assist those on the lower rungs. They are embodied in the principle that divided cities collectively can do together what they cannot do separately.

The process is reciprocal because in serving their sister cities, those further along in transition are sharply reminded of where they once were, where they are now, and where they hope to go in continuing their own processes of transition and reconciliation.

In accordance with the mission statement of the FCT, the emphasis of the Derry~Londonderry 2011 conference was also on the realization the of practical outcomes that would assist participating cities improve the daily lives of their citizens, and enhance engagement between officials, NGOs, and residents.

As a result of the extensive one to one networking, bilateral and multilateral deliberations that took place among city delegations in Kirkuk, both in formal and informal sessions, the following projects were pledged as the outcomes of the 2012 Forum for Cities in Transition gathering:

  • Work with Hasan Taran from the Kirkuk Provincial Council to have Kirkuk Police Service participate in 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast
  • Organise a Policing and Community Relations seminar for police services attending the 2013 Police and Firemen Games in Belfast
  • Encourage closer economic links between Belfast and Kirkuk (and utilising Invest NI’s office in Erbil)
  • Share good practice on promoting equality with cities in transition
  • Investigate with Queen’s University Belfast the possibility of a conflict resolution conference in 2015
  • Continue the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) ~ Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Training exchange.
  • Send a Derry-Londonderry delegation to a Forum Youth Conference (Mitrovica)
  • Offer a HTR programme to Tripoli (provided by Peace and Reconciliation Group, Derry-Londonderry)
  • Investigate involvement with the peace studies project at INCORE, Derry-Londonderry
  • Host the 2013 annual gathering of the Forum for Cities in Transition


  • 500 properties per year as per annual plan
  • 400 hospital beds
  • Install smart meters to monitor electricity usage
  • Plan for a convention centre and guest house
  • Support youth, women and children (especially those with disabilities)
  • Improve the Domestic Protection Unit within the police service
  • Continue the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) ~ Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Training exchange
  • Host a FCT Youth Conference
  • Send a Mitrovica delegation to the youth summer camp in Lebanon
  • Participate in a “Building Board” at the Cultural Centre, Mitrovica
  • Explore potential of applying an economic development plan
  • Open up participation in discussion Forum issues on youth radio station
  • Provide 2 persons to participate in a youth exchange visit with Tripoli
  • Discuss culture of mediation
  • Develop youth together and community projects
  • Deliver free street art projects

The effectiveness of the FCT depends on the above outcomes being translated into action. The FCT Secretariat pledges to follow up on every outcome agreed to ensure implementation but ultimately, responsibility for and action towards project implementation belongs to the cities themselves.

FCT Secretariat
October 2012

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