Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 22, 2011

Embassy Baghdad has appointed Assistant Chief of Mission for Assistance Transition, Ambassador Peter Bodde, as Coordinator on Minority Issues. Ambassador Bodde will head the Embassy’s effort on the ground, working with local minority communities on issues of mutual concern and coordinating outreach to minority populations. Ambassador Bodde’s efforts will complement those of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq Michael Corbin, who as the Secretary’s Coordinator for Iraq’s Religious and Ethnic Minorities, has led the Washington-based outreach to Iraq’s minority diaspora community as well as coordination on minority issues with Embassy Baghdad. Minority communities are an historic and integral part of Iraqi society and this appointment will assist in reassuring Iraq’s minority communities that the U.S. government remains committed to addressing the issues they face.

Since the first week of January, Ambassador Bodde has chaired an interagency working group within Embassy Baghdad to focus on these issues and work with the Government of Iraq on its efforts to assist this vulnerable community.

The U.S. government’s commitment to the sustained presence of Iraq’s minorities is integral to our foreign policy goals. While strengthening the Iraqi Security Forces’ operational and intelligence capabilities is key to increasing long-term physical security for everyone in Iraq, we recognize the equal importance of careful advocacy, capacity building, educational, cultural, economic, and humanitarian programs to assist Iraq’s minorities.

PRN: 2011/251