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 British-Kurd sends 20,000 books to Iraqi Kurdistan

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British-Kurd sends 20,000 books to Iraqi Kurdistan ‎ 12.7.2012 

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Laween Atroshi, UK Health Informatician & Ambassador For Peace (UPF)
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July 12, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Laween Atroshi has made a number of philanthropic contributions to the Kurdistan Region, including introducing the concept of electronic patient healthcare and helping to nominate the Sulaimani Autism Center for the prestigious United Nations Award.

But it is his most recent endeavor that has the potential to impact tens of thousands in a more direct way: by putting books in their hands.

“I always look for new ways to contribute to my ancestral roots and set a good example,” Atroshi said. “I always want to find methods and channels to promote education.”

A British-born Kurdish health professional, the 23-year-old partnered with U.K. charity Healthy Planet, which specializes in salvaging books destined for landfills, and arranged to have 20,000 books sent to the Kurdistan Region to promote a culture of reading and education.

“I called [Healthy Planet] and told them about my idea to promote education in a region that needs it, and assured them that I would raise funds for transportation and logistics,” he said.

The donation includes 4,000 children’s books and 16,000 adult books in a myriad of genres. Working with the Kurdish Cultural Center in London and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Culture and Youth, who financed the delivery of the books, Atroshi has arranged for the books to be sent to a central location in Sulaimani to be organized and shipped.

“I feel the first line of defense is education because with it you are able to indulge in diplomatic dialogue rather than resort to violence,” Atroshi said. “The leaders of tomorrow are the youth who are engaged in education.”

A graduate of the University of London, Atroshi studied biomedical informatics to explore how medical technology can transform developing societies like the Kurdistan Region.

Atroshi’s expertise in the healthcare technology industry led to multiple visits to the Kurdistan Region to consult with business and government officials on how the healthcare system could be “revolutionized.” As a result of his initiatives, he was awarded the Ambassador for Peace Award by the Universal Peace Federation, a non-governmental organization focused on conflict resolution.

But, Atroshi noted, his satisfaction comes from personally contributing to the Kurdistan Region. “I did this at my own expense because I feel I have an ambassadorial, moral, and ethical duty to my ancestral region,” he said.

Every Kurd, whether in the Kurdish Region or abroad, has a responsibility to promote Kurdish interests in their specialized area of expertise, Atroshi suggested.

Most importantly, he believes people need to put together a plan for translating ideas into action. “More can be done, especially by the Kurdish diaspora who are abroad. This initiative was a way to set the benchmark, break the iceberg and show people that nothing is impossible,” he said.

“My aspiration is to inspire other youth and professionals to give their talent to Kurdistan. Whether it's academic, comedy, art -- we all have different talents and these should be utilized and encouraged,” Atroshi said.

“The world is changing, and through such initiatives we open a box of hope and prosperity.”

Laween Atroshi, UK Health Informatician & Ambassador For Peace (UPF). Laween Atroshi is not affiliated with any political party or organisations. Views and opinions are solely his own and do not reflect any organisation whom he has a direct or indirect affiliation with, either through employment or honorary. Laween Atroshi is a regular contributor to

Tweet Laween Atroshi You can find Atroshi's website at

By Christian Chung - Rudaw

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