BAGHDEDE, NINEVEH PLAIN, Iraq – The Directorate General of Syriac Study held its ninth festival of speech and poetry at St. Paul’s House in the Mor Emmanuel Beni Hall in St. Paul’s House of Ecclesiastical Services in the Syriac town of Baghdede. The annual poetry festival had the slogan “Hand in hand, we promote Syriac arts in poetry and speech,” and saw the performance of speeches and poems in Syriac and Arabic.
It was held under the auspices of Minister of Education Ali Hamid and supervised by the Director General of the Syriac Study Imad Salem Jajo in cooperation with the Syriac Culture Office of the General Union of Iraqi Writers.
The festival began with the Iraqi national anthem sung in the Syriac language, followed by an opening speech of the Imad Salem Jajo. The Director General of Syriac study talked about heritage and the importance of the Syriac language, stressing the need to preserve it and teach it as the mother tongue of the Syriac (Chaldean-Aramean-Assyrian) people.
Then Zuhair Behnam Barada, head of the Office of Syriac Culture in the General Union of Iraqi Writers, held a speech by the in which he noted the office’s readiness to support all literary and cultural activities and festivals of the Syriac (Chaldean-Aramean-Assyrian) people.
The last speech was delivered by the vice-president of the Syriac Writers ‘ Union Akad Murad, in which he noted the importance and permanence of holding activities and festivals in Syriac.
A group of poets then took the stage to deliver their poems in Syriac and Arabic, after which a group of children presented songs under the supervision of the poet Salah Sarkis, followed by a second group of poets who presented their poems in Syriac.