Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Western Association and Malteser International,

Last week, Pope Francis defied a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and security fears to make a historic trip to Iraq. This long-awaited visit was aimed at comforting one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, as well as deepening dialogue with Iraq’s majority Muslim population and various religious/ethnic groups in the country.

During the trip, Pope Francis visited parts of northern Iraq once held by IS militants, including Qaraqosh, where Malteser International has been actively involved in reconstruction efforts to support the return of displaced communities. While the apostolic visit of His Holiness has been hailed by many as a symbol of hope, many families who were forced into exile are afraid of returning. Prior to the IS occupation, some 50,000 people lived in Qaraqosh. Alongside our partners, we have worked to make it possible for thousands of families to return. But only half, and in some places fewer than one in ten, have yet come back. Reconciliation is the next and biggest challenge.

We invite you to join us for a Clubhouse Talk: Pope Francis' visit to Iraq - What it means for regional peace, hosted by our Secretary General, Clemens Graf von Mirbach-Harff, on Friday, March 19 at 7 p.m. CET.


We hope you will join us for this important discussion!

PS: Clubhouse is an application only supported by iOS (Apple devices).