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Newroz, Speaker’s House

In February and March, we hosted a series of Newroz events across the UK, where we came together with the Kurdish communities to celebrate and mark the most critical event in the Kurdish calendar. Focused on the UUK’smajor cities, we joined with leaders in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester to mark Newroz.

We also held a special reception in Mr Speaker’s Speaker’s in the Palaces of Westminster.

Joined by senior politicians from across the UK Parliament and leaders and activists in both the UK and internationally.

Hosted by Shayan Talabani from the Tony Blair Institute, we welcomed a range of speakers from across the UK Parliament, British Kurdistani’s and from our friends across the international community.

Welcoming Mr Speaker, Sir Lindsey Hoyle MP, as our first keynote speaker, he paid special thanks to everyone in attendance, which included senior officials from a range of countries. Marking the importance of the occasion, Mr Speaker spoke touchingly as he welcomed us into his residence. You can watch his full speech here.

Hearing from the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP, spoke of the importance of protecting the Kurdish community. Honouring the hard-working individuals and organisations who have worked so hard to protect and help victims and communities afflicted with the ongoing tragedy of the Turkey/Syria earthquake, you can watch her full speech here!

We also heard from the Lord Billimoria, who recognised just how far Kurds had come in Britain. He spoke of how much a part of British culture the Kurdish people have become – to have a reception in Speaker’s House was a direct sign of that. You can watch his speech here!

We heard from Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, on how important an occasion this was. Paying respect to the victims of the Turkey/Syria earthquake, Kearns spoke passionately at how important it was to co-operate and work with leaders from across Kurdistan to help them in their struggles. You can watch her empowering speech here.

As well as welcoming senior officials from across the Houses of Parliament, we also heard from our international friends. Karwan Tahir, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Representative to the United Kingdom. Championing the closeness between the UK and Kurdistan, Tahir recognised the important trade relationships and continued friendship that exists between the UK and Kurdistan. You can watch his full speech here.

We also heard from Osman Baydemir, a vocal activist and human rights campaigner, fighting for the rights and freedom of the Kurdistani people. Exiled from Turkey, Baydemir was formally a Member of the National Assembly of Türkiye. He spoke of the importance of continuing to raise awareness for the Kurdish people, thanking Kurdish Progress and the hospitality of Mr Speaker for holding Newroz on the Parliamentary estate. You can watch his brilliant speech here.

Taking the opportunity to thank guests, speakers and Mr Speaker, as our host for the evening, we also heard from the Director of Kurdish Progress, Ibrahim Dogus. A vocal campaigner and activists on the issues of Kurdistan, as a Kurdish refugee himself, he expressed how touching it was to see so many of his friends in the room, celebrating with Kurdistan as we welcomed in the New Year. You can watch his speech here.

We can’t wait to be welcomed back next year.

Newroz pîroz Be.

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