BAGHDEDE, Iraq – At the Mar Yaqoub of Sarug Center for the Syriac Language in Baghdede, Nineveh Plain, winners of this year’s Syriac language competition were honored with a certificate and present. Syriac language questions were published for Syriac contenders in Iraq and the diaspora and contenders could participate and hand in their answers via social media. The honoring ceremony was held in Baghdede and the 20 winners received a language certificate and present from Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Mar Youhanna Boutros Moshe.
Supervisor of the Syriac competition Mr Cissam Yako explained that the aim of the competition is to enhance knowledge of the Syriac language and the intention is to continue the competition as an incentive for Syriacs to teach and learn the language in Iraq and in the diaspora. On behalf of the organization he thanked all sponsors, participants, and volunteers of competition which was held despite the impacting consequences of the pandemic. No public ceremony was held due to the pandemic measures.
The Syriac Writers Union received appreciation for all its work and effort to teach and enhance the Syriac language.
The federal constitution of Iraq acknowledges Iraq as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country and Syriacs are recognized in the constitution as Assyrians-Chaldeans. Arabic and Kurdish are the official languages, but all Iraqi citizens are guaranteed educational rights in their mother tongues in the areas where they live. For the Assyrians-Chaldeans this is Syriac (native Sureth / Surayt).
Any language outside Arabic and Kurdish can become an official language if so approved by referendum. In Iraq Syriacs (native Suraye) have the right to establish their own schools and teach their language alongside the official curriculum. Regional government funding is allocated for Syriac schools, teachers, and textbooks.