Summary of 28th KNC Annual Conference 2016 Ypsilanti, MI

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Dear Members and Followers,

It was a pleasure to see all those that had attended the 28th Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNCNA) Annual Conference on October 29th and 30th 2016 in Ypsilanti, Michigan and we thank those that were invited to speak at the event as well.

This year’s theme for the conference was “Kurdish Unity –The Roadmap to Independent Kurdistan”. 

On October 29th and 30th, the Kurdish National Congress of North America held its 28th annual conference at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan and included representatives from Kurdish communities all over the United States and Canada as well as representatives from most parties of Kurdistan and Non-Political Kurdish Organizations.

Over 150 people attended the conference. In attendance, key dignitaries included H.E. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Representative for the Kurdistan Regional Government in the United States, Honorable Congresswoman Deborah Dingell (D-MI), Dr. Asad Khailany, founder of KNC, and Dr. Ibrahim Salih, President of the Kurdish National Congress. Her Excellency, Mrs. Rahman praised and encouraged Kurdish unity in her address to the conference. “We’ve demonstrated over and over again,” she said regarding the military operations in Mosul, “when the Kurds are united, we are unbeatable”. The Representative also encouraged the conference participants to “reach out to your newly-elected officials and the new Presidential administration” and ask them “to remain engaged in Iraq and Kurdistan” after the Mosul operation.

Dr. Salih stated in his presidential address, that Kurdistan is going through an exceptionally hard time right now. Our Kurdish people are experiencing difficulties in many parts of Kurdistan. Dr. Salih called for all the Kurdish people in the United States and Canada to come together to have a stronger united voice and presence to lobby for new legislation to protect the Kurdish homeland, to secure military assistance, to help refugees to find new places for settlement and to support our aspirations for a Kurdish state.

Many of the conference programs addressed the topic of Kurdish unity, as well as the ongoing anti-ISIL military operations in Iraq and Syria. A panel discussion between Kurdish political organizations included representatives from all three major political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as representatives from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran and the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan.

The Kurdistan Region currently hosts over 1.8 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the majority of which are ethnic and religious components of the society, including Yezidi, Christians, Shabak, and others. The KNC realizes that unity also needs to be extended to these various communities that live in the Kurdistan Region. A panel on Human Rights and Genocide included Martin Manna of the Chaldean Foundation as well as a screening of the film Hope After Hell, a documentary on the displaced Yezidi population in the Kurdistan Region that has escaped the ISIL onslaught.

With the median age of the Kurdish people around 20 years old, it is vitally important to involve youth in the political process. The KNC organized a youth panel at this year’s conference featuring members of the American Kurdish Council of New York (AKC), the Kurdish Student Organization (KSO) at Eastern Michigan University, and other young Kurdish professionals to discuss how to best mobilize youth in the Kurdish political process.

The Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC) is a non-profit, member-driven organization representing Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan living in the United States and Canada.

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 2017 for our 29th annual conference.


With warmest regards,


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