Coalition Provisional Authority
Baghdad, Iraq

March 8, 2004 Office of Strategic Communications
Tel: 1-914-360-5774


Mansour Women’s Center Opens in Baghdad on International Women’s Day
Mansour Center is the First of Nine Women’s Centers to Open in Baghdad

Mansour, Monday, March 8, 2004 - Ambassador L. Paul Bremer celebrated International Women’s Day with a group of Iraqi women at a breakfast at the new Mansour Women’s Center in Baghdad. Bremer congratulated the group on the opening of the first women’s center in Baghdad and encouraged them to utilize the new Baghdad women’s centers to access the many resources and services available and to voice their thoughts and ideas.

The women’s center in Mansour is the first of nine women’s opportunity centers to open in the Baghdad area. The nine centers were made possible by a $1.4 million grant from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and implemented by Women for Women International.

The purpose of the centers is to provide women and young girls in Baghdad access to tools and training that will assist them in being able to improve their lives. The centers will serve as focal points for women, young girls and women’s non-government organizations (NGOs) to provided services such as:

· Leadership and rights awareness training

· Educational and vocational referral services

· Medical and legal referral services

· Numeracy/literacy/vocational training

· Business management

· Capacity building

· Access to legal, medical and financial assistance

· Women in government

· Library and research center with books and other research materials

An Iraqi women’s band, the Ishtar Iraqi Women’s Ensemble, entertained the open house guests. The Ensemble was formed in 2002 and began performing after the war. They perform Iraqi and Arabic folklore music.

In addition, the Fine Arts Institute for Girls exhibited artwork in the Mansour Women’s Center such as ceramics, paintings and graphic designs all made by students and budding local artists.

The Mansour Women’s Center represents another important step forward for democracy and freedom for all Iraqi women.