by Rory Gremillion
It had been a long week of traveling, eating, learning, and sleeping for our Peace Studies Trip where we went through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and finally D.C. Throughout our trip we had been learning about many topics such as civil rights, environmental justice, and global warming, and now we were in D.C. walking to the Iraqi Embassy to learn about international relations. Before we got there, I remember being very nervous and not knowing what to expect, and also having some preconceived ideas that the diplomats might be very strict or think that the questions we would ask were rude and insulting. But when we got there, I was completely caught off guard.
When we walked in, we were intercepted by the Iraqi diplomats saying that they were very glad we had come and shook our hands. You could almost feel their warmhearted personalities on your skin. We were led into a room that looked like a conference room with beautiful Babylonian style art on the walls that really made the room pop, with the smell of a smooth, warm and toasty cabin.
After seating our selves around the long oval shaped table, several of the diplomats formally welcomed us and said that they were glad we had come. Then they presented a little bit about what's going on in Iraq currently and then asked if we had any questions. As we took the rest of our time asking questions about ISIS, the future president of the U.S., and their relations with other countries, I continued seeing their hospitality towards us which we all really admired. Throughout the Q and A session, they really surprised us with their answers because before coming, we had our opinions already set, thinking that Iraq was a completely foreign country that was dangerous, and that the different religions didn't get along. But we were easily corrected with them saying that Iraq is sort of like how we get along in the U.S. You don’t judge a person by their religion. Another question that one of my classmates asked was which presidential candidate did most Iraqis prefer to win, and the diplomats responded, saying Donald Trump because he had spoken a lot more about getting rid of ISIS. This led into a long conversation about how big of a threat ISIS is in Iraq.
After our long and deep discussion, they presented us with little food boxes that had gourmet sandwiches and kubideh that we could all agree were delicious, and probably the nicest thing we had received in days. Then the diplomats asked us if we wanted to take some selfies (we did), and we walked outside in front of the building to take one last picture to complete our Iraqi embassy visit, assisted by many goodbyes and thank you's.
Before we had gotten there we didn’t know what to expect, but as our visit went on we were all given a different view of Iraqi's. They were just like us in many ways (and love selfies just as much as us, too). I feel also that the Embassy was a great place for our peace studies because we talked about many things that are big problems in Iraq like ISIS and that we cant have peace without addressing them. Throughout our Iraqi embassy visit, the diplomats never ceased to surprise us with they're hospitality that gave us a little taste of modern day Iraq.