23. May 2005 · Comments Off on Spirit of America, Iraq, School Partners, Lebanon and more · Categories: Iraq: The Good

A message from Spirit of America, presented in full:

Dear Friends & Donors,

This message has updates, photos and lots of links on projects that your support has made possible:

* America-Iraq School Partners program.
* Support for Lebanon’s independence
* Friends of Democracy
* Gifts for Iraqi children
* Orphans day in Iraq

This entire message with photos is also on our website here:



The America-Iraq School Partners Program pilot launched in April, 2005. It is designed to establish friendships and enable exchange between American and Iraqi schoolchildren. The pilot phase features 13 American schools and 17 schools in Iraq. More than 1500 schoolchildren are participating. Here is a photo of a participating classroom in Basra, Iraq:

We are looking for more schools (elementary, middle and high schools) in the U.S. to join for the 2005-2006 school year. There is no cost to participating schools although schools may exchange gifts. If you have a school interested in participating in the program, click here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/projects/13 for more information or send inquiries to tamara@spiritofamerica.net.


On April 6 we kicked off a project to support Lebanon’s struggle for independence. We had been asked by some Lebanese and Lebanese Americans if we could provide assistance to the tent city demonstrators who were keeping national and world attention on ending Syria’s occupation and achieving free elections in Lebanon. The original project description is here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/projects/96

This was our first project outside Iraq and Afghanistan and some of our supporters asked why we would do something in Lebanon and what happened to supporting requests from Marines in Iraq. Our view on “Why Lebanon?” is here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/584. We also asked Marines we have assisted in Iraq for their perspectives. Their responses here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/583

Thanks to your support more than $60,000 was quickly contributed to the Lebanon project. We helped the tent city demonstrators achieve their main goal: free elections. This involved pressuring for a “Call for Elections.” Our support helped them increase the visibility of their demands – the countdown clock in the photos below that was erected in Martyrs Square is one example.

The official call for elections by Parliament came with only one day left on the countdown clock. Elections are now scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 29. With that goal achieved tent city has been dismantled. There is still a long way to go for genuinely free, stable and peaceful Lebanon but this was a great step forward.

We also provided Internet connectivity to tent city itself and provided the resources, technical assistance and training that allowed the tent city demonstrators to create a website to tell their story to the world. You can visit Pulse of Freedom at http://www.pulseoffreedom05.org/.

A letter of support to the demonstrators from former Czech President Vaclav Havel was arranged by Ambassador Mark Palmer, a Member of Spirit of America’s Advisory Board. It did a lot to boost morale in tent city. You can read it here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/565

For the first time we deployed a blogger to write about one of our project. Michael Totten was in Beirut for a month and did a great job. You can read his fascinating blog posts here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/lebanonblog

Other acknowledgements: Tiran Kiremidjian was onsite in Lebanon for Spirit of America for 3 weeks serving as a liaison: helping to define and responding to needs of the tent city demonstrators. And, Harish Rao of EchoDitto was also on site for SoA and was the lead on providing the training and technical assistance that got the Pulse of Freedom website and blog launched.


Friends of Democracy is the Iraqi pro-democracy organization Spirit of America has supported since last October. They have done great work under very dangerous circumstances. Click below for an extensive update on Friends of Democracy and our activities in support of Iraq’s January 30 election, including details on funds raised, expenditures and results.


Photo below is of a women’s workshop by Friends of Democracy that involved training and use of our Arabic blogging tool. Read the story here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/580

On February 24 Friends of Democracy sponsored a seminar to educate and involve children in discussions on democracy as part of the “children parliament” project. Photo below. Read about it here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/FoD_Nurturing_the_Next_Generation


The 2nd Marine Division at Camp Blue Diamond, Iraq has received 7500 watches from Timex, 4554 pairs of children’s Elan-Polo athletic shoes and 6000 Champion soccer balls to distribute as part of the “Gifts for Iraqi Children” project. The project is described here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/projects/18

The Marines are using the gifts to brighten the day of children in Al Anbar province – the scene of some of the worst continued fighting and terrorism in Iraq. Some photos and links to stories on our site are below




Spirit of America provided gifts, clothing and personal items to children in Baghdad and Basra on “Orphans Day.” Photos below are from an event for orphans by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Read about it here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/Orphans_Day_Success

We are working on providing ongoing assistance to orphans in Iraq: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/projects/91. More on this next week.


Read this page on our blog for answers to some recently-asked questions:


Thank you for your support. Please contact us at staff@spiritofamerica.net if you have any questions.

All the best,

Jim Hake and the Spirit of America team

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