Archbishop Bashar Warda Delivers Talk at Harvard Catholic Center & YCP Boston

His Grace, Archbishop Bashar Warda, CUE Chairman of Board of Trustees and Chancellor, accompanies by Prof. Dr. Nazar Shabila, President and Vice- Chancellor, delivered a talk at the Harvard Catholic Center & YCP Boston (Young Catholic Professionals) under the title Finding Light in Times of Darkness”, on Monday, May 8, 2023.

“Education brings us to the truth. Truth changes lives and builds peace and stability.”

Archbishop Warda highlighted several points in his speech, illustrating specifically the situation of the Christian minorities in Iraq. His Grace mentioned that “The first step toward stability is peace. The first step toward peace is education. Ideas have consequences and if we can educate in the truth then we can truly change our circumstances.”, thus emphasizing the role of the educational institutions founded by the archdiocese of Erbil such as the Archdiocese’s elementary and secondary schools, as well as the CUE. His Grace also added that “Education is the foundation, but it is not everything. People with an education have the truth but they need a place to share it. In other words, they need a job. Since the fall of ISIS, the number one reason why Christians leave Iraq is jobs.”, which is evident through the drop of Christian population in Iraq since 2003. “In response to this crisis, we heard the needs of the people. They said, “I want to stay in my home but how can I feed my family?” The Archdiocese led the way to provide jobs for the Christians of Erbil. In 2019, we founded Maryamana Hospital. Maryamana Hospital is a place where all can receive high quality care. Muslims and Christians work together to serve the sick. The hospital even has a mosque and chapel right next to each other. What is most special is the work serving the sick from all parts of Erbil but it is also a business. Because it is a business, Maryamana Hospital provides stable work for over 200 people to care for their families and stay in Iraq.” Furthermore, His Grace also elaborated on the role of Christian youth in the region especially during the ISIS crisis; “One group that showed up every day was the youth. A few dozen young volunteers came together and served from the early morning to late at night. They prepared medicines, handed out food, built shelters, and organized stipends for families. It was the youth of Ankawa who stood up and became leaders for the people.” hence becoming an inspiration to other archdiocesan institutions that seek to provide jobs for the youth and serve those in need, such as the Ankawa Humanitarian Committee (AHC). His Grace emphasized the power of education combined with business and its impacts on the community; “Education and jobs will immediately give Iraqi Christians a way to provide for themselves…If someone has a good business and money to share with their family, they are not interested in leaving. A stable Iraq means Christians can remain to witness in their homeland and also prevent the immigration crisis so many countries face.” His Grace encouraged catholic youth to remember two parts about catholic business; to run it as best as one can; and to make sure that “business leads us and the people it serves to Heaven.”. His Grace Archbishop Warda concluded his talk to the attending youth with an emphasis on having christian morals and values within any business we do ; “You are young Catholic businessmen and women here. I am a bishop but also run businesses. Should we make money with those businesses? Yes. Should we keep some of that money for ourselves? Yes. Should we give to the poor? Also, yes. Maryamana Hospital, AHC, CUE, and every project in the Archdiocese of Erbil uses money but it has a purpose—serving others.”