Monday, April 16, 2007

Texan - Iraqi Delegation

Texans travel to Middle East on “Peace Delegation”

AUSTIN, TX – April 14, 2007 – This week, four Texans will travel to the Middle East to meet with Iraqi women and families as part of a peace delegation. On April 17, the delegation will begin a two-week visit to Jordan where they will meet with Iraqi refugees, international agencies and humanitarian organizations.

The purpose of this trip is to build bridges between Texans and Iraqis while gaining a better understanding of the impacts of the war on Iraq and the refugee situation in Jordan. The trip is part of ongoing efforts by Texans for Peace to educate individuals and groups about the war in Iraq.

During this trip, the Texas delegation will be visiting with Iraqi families in their homes and refugee centers. Delegates also plan to meet with officials of the United National Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) on Iraq, CARE International, the Jordan Women’s Union, and the Catholic Church of Jordan … among other organizations.

The delegation includes:

Peggy Kelsey, Austin - Peggy is a professional photographer from Austin and founder of the Afghan Women's Project. Peggy first traveled to Afghanistan after a year abroad at Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran. In the fall of 2003, Peggy traveled to war-torn Afghanistan to meet more women and record their stories. She returned with portraits and stories of 40 women. In addition to her travels to the Middle East, Peggy spent two years in Mozambique. She is married to a professional pilot and active in peace issues and travels widely giving presentations and exhibitions. Her professional website is: http://www.kelseys.net/

Carla Mercado, San Antonio - Carla is a registered nurse and former school teacher who volunteers with several local projects including the St. Peter and St. Joseph Home for Children and Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation. Carla has also been an active volunteer with Camp Casey in Crawford and the March for Women’s Lives in Washington. She is particularly interested in healthcare and education of children and employment opportunities for women.

Belinda Subramanian, El Paso - Belinda is a professional author and registered nurse. She has published several books under the VERGIN PRESS imprint, including Voces Fronterizas and The Gulf War: Many Perspectives. She began her writing career as publisher of Gypsy Literary Magazine in the 1980’s. Belinda also published an indy e-zine and produces a syndicated talk show through iTunes, VI Radio and Net Talk. Her professional website is http://belinda_subraman.podomatic.com

Charlie Jackson, Austin - Charlie is an international technology consultant and volunteer/founder of Texans for Peace. He has been active in global peace and justice issues and has traveled to Iraq on three occasions in addition to visits to Bosnia and Guatemala. Charlie has served on local, regional, and statewide boards and works for many causes including: economic justice, education, the rights of women and minorities, alternative energy and the environment, and peacemaking.

Upon return to Texas, these individuals will be able to give presentations about the current impacts of the crisis in Iraq and affects upon Iraqi refugees. Additionally, the delegates will bring back specific ideas and information – from humanitarian to business needs – that other Texans can get involved in.

This trip is a continuation of the Women's Business Center of Baghdad (WBCB) initiative that was begun in early 2004 with a goal to assist Iraqi women and professionals to organize, finance, and operate their business even while the war continued. Due to the worsening conditions in Iraq, many of these women now reside in Amman as they attempt to provide for their families. http://www.acceleros.com/WBCB

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