On Sunday, 24 March, the KRG Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Affairs (MoHE) with the High Council of Women’s Affairs hosted a one day workshop for the new KRG gender studies units. The Center for Gender and Development Studies initiated this gathering and designed and facilitated the training workshop for 29 representatives of the gender units, held in the Conference Hall of MoHE in Erbil. This follows the ground-breaking decree by MoHE in August 2018, mandating gender studies in all KRG universities.
This intervention was a first step toward building the capacity of the gender studies units and building a sustainable system of support. The training workshop is part of CGDS’s current EU project which works towards enhancing gender studies education in Iraq and MENA. At the end of the workshop the participants made a variety of recommendations including forming a central committee for overseeing syllabi and curriculum development, conducting group research, and supporting the centers in developing their structure and bylaws.
Specifically, the outcomes of the meeting included consensus that an action plan and some centralization is necessary for developing a curriculum; that flexible syllabi should be designed that allow for a wide range of choice; that the syllabi and curricula need to include relevant Kurdish issues; that instructors and researchers in gender studies must be well-trained and invested in the material; that gender studies should incorporate critical thinking; and that universities, not just the gender centers, must be introduced to the very concept of gender and gender studies. CGDS will continue to work with the new gender studies units as they implement these goals.