Summary of 27th KNC Annual Conference 2015 Toronto, ON

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Dear Members and Followers,

It was a pleasure to see all those that had attended the 27th Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC) Annual Conference on October 10th and 11th 2015 in Toronto, Ontario and want to thank those that were invited to speak at the event as well.

This year’s theme for the conference was “Kurdish Unity in the Face of Current and Emergent Threats”. 

In our 27th year, we were proud and honored to host the conference with our beloved Canadian Kurdish brothers and sisters. We created a fantastic, balanced and open dialogue with our community and hopefully walked away with ideas to ponder in the future. We were also delighted and honored to have our first President and founder Dr. Assad Khalany give us a presentation about the founding of KNC from 1988 and how it has progressed since, which the audinced found enlightening. As a KNC tradition at our annual conferences, we were excited to hear our current President give his Presidential address to the assembly. A copy of his speech can be found here at our website.

For those that were unable to attend the conference, here are some of the highlights from the two day event:

  • We first discussed the impact and influence of Kurdish journalists reporting in North America and how they have developed relations with the respective governments and the diaspora. The panel agreed that it is difficult to gain the world’s attention simply because we are a people with no sovereign nation, but because of ISIS, we have shown ourselves to be a brave and efficient fighting force, unlike the others in the region. The panel also agreed that social media is now taking over as the main source for news and information and that it was best way to engage the youth in Kurdistan and the diaspora.
  • In the second panel discussion, the Kurdish political parties represented by PUK , KDP , Goran Movement , KNK, Toronto’s Kurdish House, and Christian Council of North America were asked about their vision and plans to promote Kurdish unity facing threats against our Kurdish nation. They expressed their strong willingness to work together to move forward in unity. The panelist were also asked how united they were regarding independence for Kurdistan and responded by saying the opportunity represented itself as the world witnesses wave of mass refugees fleeing our homeland due to war, lack of economic opportunity, lack of security, and turmoil.  A secure, prosperous, independent Kurdistan, that is rich of natural resources would be the answer to this human calamity that is facing us.  It requires true unity to achieve this goal and include all parties without leaving the small parties out of the discussion. However, strong lobby groups are needed to form abroad to highlight the advantages of independent Kurdistan. The Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq promotes this dream of every Kurd in our nation.
  • We also had the pleasure having the now former Defense Minister of Canada, Mr. Jason Kenney, the leader of Komala Party of Iranian Mr. Abdulla Muhtadi, and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Representative to the United States of America Ms. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman. They all agreed that more support needs to be done with regards to defeating ISIS and to support the Kurdish efforts in this endeavor. They also agreed that the refugees crisis should be addressed in the manor which is equal to treating people with dignity and helping those displaced find a home to settle.
  • On the final day of the conference, we had our signature youth panel, which had some insightful stories about growing up in North America and Europe and how we should engage the youth of Kurdistan better and also help advance Kurds in the diaspora to be more involved in civil society and the political process.

Once again we want to thank all those that came to attend, speak and donated at the conference and we cannot wait to see you all again next year in 2016 for our 28th annual conference, which we will determine in the coming months.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

With warmest regards,

The Board of Directors of the Kurdish National Congress of North America.