On 8-10 December 2018, PRIO organized a conference in Istanbul on “Trustbuilding in Iraq: Current Challenges and Opportunities”. The Iraqi participants included religious leaders, current and former government officials, educators, and NGO representatives – from the Shia, Sunni, Christian, Turkmen, and Yazidi communities. Also participating were representatives from the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva, the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and the US Agency for International Development. The conference was organized in association with the Hikmah Center for Dialogue and Cooperation (Najaf), and the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East (Washington, D.C.). This was the eighth in a series of events that have taken place since 2014 in Oslo, Istanbul, Najaf, Erbil, Bern, Beirut, and Cyprus.
The conference program was organized into four thematic sessions: (1) recent developments and how these have strengthened/weakened trust within Iraqi society; (2) promoting trust between the Iraqi “components” (the different ethnic/religious groups); (3) promoting trust in state institutions; (4) Role responsibilities (of state officials, religious institutions, etc.) in building trust. There was a concluding session on concrete trust-building measures.