Kurdistan surprising facts pic

1. Today’s 30 million Kurds constitute one of the world’s largest ethnic groups – without a country. The Kurds are divided up among four countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

2. Kurdish, the most widely spoken language in the Kurdistan Region, is in the Indo-European family of languages. The Kurdistan Region’s official languages for government purposes are Kurdish and Arabic. The two most widely spoken dialects of Kurdish are Sorani and Kurmanji.

3. Respecting elders is an important part of the Kurdish culture, and every child is taught to stand up when someone older walks in, when you are around guests and not to speak louder or answer back someone older in arguments.

4. The Kurdish diet includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Lamb and chicken are the primary meats. Breakfast is typically flat bread, cheese, honey, yogurt, and a glass of black tea.

5. Iraqi Kurdistan was reformed after the second Gulf War and is now located in Northern Iraq. The state has been sovereign since 2008 and is governed by the democratically-elected Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

6. Freedom of religion: Iraqi Kurdistan is one of the only regions in the Middle East that teaches all religions of the world in public schools. Although 94 percent of Iraqi Kurdistan is Muslim, they are known for their religious tolerance, and have often been a safe haven for persecuted Christians and Jews fleeing other areas of the Middle East.

In 2012, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) made it mandatory that all public schools remain religiously neutral. Kurdish identity includes many religions – Shiite and Sunni Islam, Yazidism, Chaldean and Assyrian Christianity and Judaism.

7. Kurdistan has its own calendar. Besides the 1st of January, Kurds have another New Year celebration, on 21st March, the first day of spring.

8. The Kurdistan Regional Government has put rules in place to make sure that women are represented in the government. The KRG requires a minimum of 30% of its parliament be women. By comparison, only 22% of the UK Parliament is female and just 19% of the U.S. Congress is comprised of women. It is the highest percentage in the Middle East.

9. Kurdistan is a world leader in accepting refugees from Syria and Iraq since 2011. They have offered refugee status to over 2,250,000 Iraqis and Syrians in that time period, which is nearly 200,000 more than Turkey, which is next on the list. Approximately one in four people in Kurdistan is a refugee or internally displaced person.

10. There are approximately 14,000 eager, enthusiastic students in Stirling Education schools in Iraq, waiting to welcome TEFL teachers to help improve their English skills.

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