Noor Ghazi is a Peace activist and a Graduate of the Peace and Conflict Studies Masters Program. She is currently an Arabic lecturer in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as an instructor of Arabic and Humanities at Durham Technical Community College.
What brought you to the Peace and Conflict studies program at UNCG?
I was relocated as a refugee with my family to the Triad area in 2008. I have always dreamed of receiving a quality education and to take this journey of studying further. I come from a country that is torn by war, and I grew up witnessing one war after another and was raised under economic sanctions and poverty, which is something majorities of Iraqis had experienced. I grew up wanting to make a change, to impact the world, and to see peace in it. I had never heard of a study of Peace or learning about Conflict until the moment that I was looking for a graduate program at UNCG and saw the words “Peace and Conflict Studies”. My heart danced with happiness. YES, this is what I am looking for and this is what I want to learn about, PEACE. Thus, I applied and it was the best experience of my life.
How has your master’s degree from UNCG impacted your career and your outlook in academia on a global scale?
I was very happy that I had the experience of studying here at UNCG. The master’s degree from UNCG has opened many doors for me. Just like I have spent my life searching for Peace, many other Iraqis are as well. However, Peace studies are not available in the Middle East, even though it is much needed there. Thus, I was invited to give workshops in Iraq for youth from conflicted areas and to also translate an academic book into Arabic. The implementation of Peace studies in Iraq is actually happening as we speak. I have great hope that this generation, who lived and grew under war, is still looking for peace.
Where are you working currently? And what organizations are you in partnership with?
I currently teach Arabic and Humanities at Durham Technical Community College. I am also the Arabic Lecturer at UNCG. I will also be teaching a course about Iraq and the contemporary conflict at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Spring of 2021. After my graduation, I was invited by the Iraqi Alamal Association in Iraq to collaborate on peacebuilding projects. The effort led to the translation of Lederach’s “Preparing for Peace” into Arabic.
What is the Iraqi Al-Amal association, and how did you get involved?
Iraqi Al-Amal Association is a non-political, non-sectarian association of volunteers actively engaged in projects for the benefit and well-being of the Iraqi population regardless of race, gender, and political or religious affiliation.
Al-Amal Association is always looking for youth to engage them in peace dialogues. Thus, they have reached out to discuss the possibilities of collaborations after they learned about my academic background in Peace Studies.
What influenced you to choose Lederach’s Preparing for Peace for your Translation?
The book was already chosen by Al-Amal Association since it is one of the most important books in the Peace studies field. I was happy to agree and take on the project since I personally like it and have used it during my studies in the program.
What do you hope is achieved through this translation? And looking forward, do you plan on translating any more books?
The book will be used for conducting more peace training for youth from different provinces in Iraq. It will also be used for the program that is currently implemented by Al-Amal Association against radical extremism. Also, it will be used to develop peace studies in the four major universities in Baghdad, Mosul, Salah Aldeen and Al- Anbar.