September 19, 2017

Female Peshmerga receives Global Hope Coalition award for service in war against extremism and intolerance

New York City, NY, USA ( – Peshmerga Lieutenant Kochar Saleh Haji was recognized as a ‘Hero of the Global Campaign Against Extremism and Intolerance’ at an event hosted by the United Nations’ Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and the Global Hope Coalition. LT Haji has served bravely on the frontlines and in combat in the war against ISIS terrorists.

In her acceptance speech, LT Haji said, ‘Our fight against ISIS was not only to protect the people in Kurdistan Region, but also to defend humanity and religious freedom. A large number of Peshmerga sacrificed their lives to protect ethnic and religious minorities from the brutality of ISIS.’ She added that, ‘The genocide committed against Yezidis, Christians and others will never be forgotten.’ President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev gave LT Haji the award.

The prestigious event took place at the New York Public Library on Monday, September 19, 2017, the eve of the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations. During the event, many people thanked LT Haji for her service and for the role of the Peshmerga in the fight against ISIS.

Among the attendees was President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca; His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco; Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova; HE Dr Ibrahim Al Jafaari Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq; former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair; former First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush; and UNESCO Special Envoy, Forest Whitaker. Another 450 world leaders, dignitaries, heads of international organizations, and leading figures in academia, culture, business, and the media also attended the event.

Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani had been invited to attend but was unable. Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa Bakir attended to represent the Kurdistan Presidency. Kurdistan Regional Government Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman attended the event to represent the KRG.

LT Haji encouraged the international community to respect and recognize the will of the people of Kurdistan Region and to support dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to reach a negotiated settlement on their respective futures.

At the end of her speech, LT Haji dedicated her award to ‘the 1,800 brave Peshmergas martyred in the fight against ISIS and to all freedom fighters defending justice, humanity, and civilization against tyranny and extremism.’
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