News Release

Kurdistan Humanitarian Group Visits Church Headquarters

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomed representatives of the Barzani Charity Foundation to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 7–8, 2023. The humanitarian organization collaborates closely with the Church on a variety of projects in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The Barzani Charity Foundation is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profit organization that was founded in Kurdistan in 2005. Three members of the foundation's board of founders came to Utah: Musa Ahmad Agha, president of the foundation; Karzan Noori Othman, head of programs; and Awat Mustafa, a foundation board member.

"Our visit to Utah is very significant for our humanitarian work back home in Kurdistan region of Iraq," Masrour Barzani said. "We come here to bring a gratitude of Kurdish people, Kurdistan leadership and refugees who sought protection in our region to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ leadership and millions of followers who are the backbone of humanitarian work."

The group toured the Church's Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square and learned more about the Church's global efforts to help those in need. They also met with the Church's director of humanitarian services, Sharon Eubank. Barzani said the things they learned from the Church will have a positive impact on the work of the foundation. 

The Barzani Charity Foundation has joined with the Church to renovate schools, provide wheelchairs for disabled Kurdistani people, and drill boreholes to supply irrigation water to drought stricken farmers. Additional projects are planned, all with the hope of building a better life for a people who have suffered war, earthquakes and economic deprivation.

While in Utah, the three Barzani Charity Foundation leaders met with Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Anthony D. Perkins, president of the Church's Middle East/Africa North Area.

“I wish that every citizen in every part of the world could see all that you do for humanity," Elder Bednar told the Kurdish visitors. "You are servants and mentors to so many.”

Elder Bednar also shared that the Church's humanitarian efforts are motivated by a love for Jesus Christ and a love for others. 

The visitors also reunited with six Latter-day Saint couples who had previously volunteered for the Church in Kurdistan. All of these volunteers said they loved their time in Kurdistan and felt warmly welcomed by those working for the Barzani Charity Foundation. 

The visit was sponsored by the Stirling Foundation, a non-profit group founded by David and Laurea Stirling. The foundation seeks to work with trusted partners to overcome challenges facing families, communities and nations.

Karsan Noori from the Barzani Charity Foundation said the group learned a lot during their visit to Utah. 

"It's been an eye-opening experience for me, one that will benefit the lives of vulnerable people in the future. As a result, I will always be grateful for the support of the Latter-day Saints and the valuable lessons we've gained from them," he said. "I hope we can continue working together for an extended period, further expanding our collaborative efforts to benefit more vulnerable individuals. My only regret is not having been here earlier.”

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