Beginning in 2008, the American Islamic Congress, in collaboration with Cure Violence, launched the Ambassadors for Peace (A4P) campaign in Basrah and Sadr City, Baghdad. Cure Violence is a Chicago-based organization specializing in violence prevention, viewing violence as a public health issue. The program resulted in nearly 1,000 interruptions and over 14,000 people reached through outreach activities.
The confluence of AIC’s personal relationships, presence in Iraq and cultural familiarity and Cure Violence innovative methods of reducing urban violence provided an ideal impetus from which to build an effective network of individuals dedicated to peace-building and non-violence in Iraq.
The A4P partnership utilized AIC’s personal relationships, presence in Iraq and cultural familiarity, and Cure Violence’s innovative methods of reducing urban violence – specifically our approach of using credible messengers who are not representatives of the authorities but are respected in their neighborhoods and have clout with potentially violent elements. In Iraq, these credible messengers are people with the right connections in the religious, tribal and ethnic communities as the violence facing Iraqi communities is largely inter-tribal, inter-militia, sectarian or domestic, ethnic communities as the violence facing Iraqi communities is largely inter-tribal, inter-militia, sectarian or domestic.