The Iraqi Ministry of Culture held a celebration for a group of intellectuals at al-Rasafa al-Aula Educational Directorate in Baghdad on Sunday (April 25th).
The celebration, which was hosted by the Ministry of Culture's Cultural Affairs Department and al-Rasafa Educational Directorate, honored the individuals for their service in Iraqi education and culture.
"Honoring an elite group of creative teachers is an effort to extend bridges of communication between educational academics and intellectuals and to broaden the culture in all government institutions in Iraq," said Deputy Minister of Culture Fawzi al-Atrushi during a speech at the celebration.
Al-Atrushi added that the Ministry of Culture will continue to invest in and encourage talented Iraqis.
Sunday's celebration honored 20 intellectuals, including poets, writers, and critics, who are also teachers in al-Rasafa al-Thaniya Educational Directorate.
"Iraq is the country of innovation and science, and is full of enlightened minds," said Tahir Abu Raghief, director-general of cultural affairs in the ministry. "Any attention paid to creative figures and intellectuals will enhance the standing of the Iraqi people among other nations."
Hadi al-Frihi, media director for al-Rasafa al-Aula Educational Directorate, said the celebration will encourage the work of intellectuals.
"This step will be a good start and a step on the right path to cover these distinguished elites with care and attention," he said. "When these elites find someone who helps and pays attention to them, their innovations will be enriched and will increase. They will be like candles that light the road for the new Iraq."
Iraqi writers, intellectuals, and artists have suffered in the past from a lack of government support.
"Intellectuals and creative figures now receive great attention and care from the Ministry of Culture, unlike the negligence and lack of attention during the time of the former regime," said Adeeb Abdul Jabbar, a teacher and poet who was honored at the celebration.
"Intellectuals always need someone to stand by them and extend a helping hand to support the efforts they exert to provide the intellectual movement with their output," Abdul Jabbar added.
Honored novelist and Arabic teacher Abdul Salam al-Ubaidi promised that Iraqi intellectuals will "dedicate all of our energies and capabilities for the service of Iraqis."
Al-Ubaidi previously won several other prizes from different countries.
"However, this prize is different from the rest of the prizes because I received it in Iraq, and it will have great impact on my output," he said.
Nahedh Ibrahim, a writer and teacher honored at the event, said the award will encourage Iraqi intellectuals.
"When creative figures find someone who cares about them and feels their true worth in society, this will be a great moral push for their productivity," he said. "Other Iraqi ministries have to care for creative figures due to their great role in the development and prosperity of the country."
PHOTO: [Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images] Deputy Minister of Culture Fawzi al-Atrushi said the ministry seeks to discover talented and creative Iraqis.