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Building Bridges in Iraq

In his war-blasted home city of Fallujah, Iraq, Wissam Khalifa (Skidmore College) recruited local friends to help him renovate a devastated boys’ school and organize a summer camp in the blistering heat, with logistical support in the U.S. from fellow UWC of the Adriatic alum Hanne Brynildsen (Norway, Brown University).

“The damage was really great; it was a lot of work,” Wissam said. Bombs exploded nearby twice — but the school was repaired and repainted and up to 70 boys attended the camp each day, even during Ramadan.

“They hadn’t had any art supplies, and they all wanted to draw,” Wissam said. “We asked them to draw home. Ninety percent of their drawings were images of helicopters, tanks, buildings with soldiers.

“These children now have in their memories that somebody cares about them,” Wissam concluded. “Somebody cares about their education, and wants them to continue.”

This was a Project for Peace.