Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2021 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
January 2021
End Date
December 2021
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview

IARP is proposing to form a traditional Iraqi dance troupe to study and perform traditional dances from different regions across Iraq and to perform for the general public of Minnesota. Iraqi Minnesotan youth and young adults will be trained by transitional dance instructor and musician Hisham Shallal.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications

Savita Katarya (Rochester, MN) Savita works in cross-cultural leadership development and was connected to the CEO Tour in 2019. She identifies as an immigrant from India.

Jose Losada-Montero (Marshall, MN) Jose was a contact of a former MHC staffperson (Kirk MacKinnon Morrow). He is a Spanish professor at SMSU. He identifies as an immigrant from Spain. 

Juan Fernandez-Iglesias (Winona, MN) Juan Fernandez-Iglesias is a Winona State University Global Studies and Languages professor, and has blogged for MHC previously. He identifies as an immigrant from Spain. 

Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Laura Benson

Minnesota Humanities Center


Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minn. State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d)
Appropriation Language

$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.

2021 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

- A group of at least eight youth and young adults train with dance instructor and musician Hisham Alshallal

- IARP, artists, and Dance Troupe work together to celebrate Iraqi culture and build a positive relationship

- Iraqi Minnesotans engage in dance music they identify with, uplifts their culture, and allows the next generation to actively participate in and preserve their culture.

- Provide career furthering opportunities for Iraqi Minnesotan artists

- Minnesotan general public engages with Iraqi dance and music that broadens their understanding of and appreciation for Iraqi culture and art.


Effectiveness and progress toward project outcomes will be determined through artist, participant, and audience survey and interview results. Audience members will be asked to fill out audience surveys for the exhibition that will include questions around community engagement activities designed by an outside evaluation consultant. The surveys will contain both evaluative and demographic questions. IARP project coordinator will record attendance numbers. Performance will be photo-documented. Local media attention will be recorded. After the performance is complete, we will conduct an evaluation session with the artists and dancers. We will review summaries of data and feedback, discuss the project’s successes and challenges, assess community engagement, and formulate recommendations for ongoing performances, trainings, and the future of the group, etc. Outside evaluation consultant Tricia Heuring, curator and director of Public Functionary will design the evaluation materials. She has an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from St. Mary’s University, where she studied program evaluation. She has worked as the outside evaluator on Iraqi Voices for the past four years and has built the repertoire needed to successfully interview Iraqi Voices participants and is familiar with IARP team and mission. Tricia will analyze the results and compile the evaluation data and the group’s conclusions into a final report that our board will review. We have a strong track record of implementing evaluation results into current and future programming.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In progress

Proposed Outcomes Achieved
outcomes data not yet available
Recipient Board Members
Dr. Azar Maluki, Hiba Qader Al Hasnawi, Kathleen Adam, Sally Othman, Rev. David Smith, Shaymaa Hassan, Ahmed Al-Sheikhli, Adil Al-Najji
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Belt Saem Eldahr
Organization Name
Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project
Administered By
Administered by

987 Ivy Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106

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