Statement of Purpose


The purpose of the Iraqi Narratives Project is to document, preserve, and archive stories of the larger Iraqi community in the diaspora. This information will be used for different educational purposes to inform and educate not only Iraqis themselves but also the broader population, of the history of Iraq told by Iraqis themselves. We particularly want to document the journey of Iraqis from Iraq to their place of settlement and document how they lived through major political events in the history of Iraq.

The interview is recorded in audio or audio/video. Both parties – interviewer and interviewee – sign an agreement form before the interview is conducted. The agreement form ensures that everyone understands what will be done with the information (and by whom and who will listen to it) and that the ethical issues are covered in terms of the ownership of the material. A copy of the agreement form stays with each party. We will get in touch with you before the interview to discuss the logistics of the day of interview, the agreement form, and any concerns you might have.

The oral history “interview” is actually more of a conversation. You should feel comfortable to tell your narrative, story, and your recollection of events to our interviewers. There are not many pre-set questions or conditions. We are mainly interested in your story and what you deem to be important.

Why are we doing oral history documentation?

Oral history is about contributing real people’s stories to a specific historical record. Oral testimonies of first hand recollections helps us to reconstruct the past by capturing the voices of people who are left out of historical accounts. What it entails is the collection of primary source information through an interview with a person who participated in or witnessed an event or period of time. Oral history can also be a historical account of the person’s whole life, rather than a specific moment, and this can be used to understand social history. This way of collecting material allows us to penetrate into deeper meanings and implications of the historical past. Spoken histories are dynamic; they involve documenting not the just the particulars of an event but people’s reactions, feelings and thoughts about it. Oral histories complicates traditional narratives by adding the perspectives and interpretations of real people onto the working knowledge we have of a given topic.


Yousef K. Baker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor at the International
Studies Program at California State University, Long Beach
. Co-Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program. He received his Doctorate degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he focused on the study of political economy, development, nationalism, and coloniality. He is currently studying the political economy of the 2003 American invasion and occupation of


Sana Aljailawi

Pharmaceutical student at Gothenburg University, with an interest in the interplay between health and culture. She has a passion for stories from Iraqis and sees limitless value in listening to and learning from their personal histories.

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Sara Ahmad
Founding Member
Web Designer

Educator, writer, and food blogger based in Los Angeles. Her food blog Add a Little Lemon, with the tag line "Changing the Narrative One Kubba At a Time," focuses on Iraqi food and culture in the diaspora as a way to reverse stigmatizing and dehumanizing narratives of Iraq and Iraqis. She has a degree in Philosophy from University of California, Los Angeles.

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Noor Aljawad
Founding Member

Student of social work passionate about raising awareness on the negative impacts of US imperialism and other forms of institutional, global-scale oppression on the world, and its impact on Iraqi mental health in particular. She is passionate about collecting our stories because they reflect our community's resilience.

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Shawk Alani
Founding Member 

Liberal Studies graduate student at Simon Fraser University, writing about personal narrative, nightmares, storytelling and intersubjective space. She is excessively preoccupied with reading Arabic literature.

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Zeena Aljawad
Founding Member

Pursuing a master’s degree in social work. Her dedication to documenting narratives, especially ones related to her homeland, is connected to her passion for social work, where stories of individuals and communities are powerful and provide great insight and lessons for current happenings and future generations.


Mostafa Fadhl

Student of Sociology at Lund university. He is currently undergoing an internship as an urban planner in a small municipality in Sweden, and is working with citizen participation. He finds himself drawn to the stories of Iraqis, as he pursues to understand the world around him


Thank you to

Ali Iğmen, Ph.D.
Director of Oral History Program at California State University, Long Beach

Iraqi Transnational


Stephanie Jabri
Technology Assistant


Ahmed Twaij, M.D.
Website Photographer
Instagram: @twaiji