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 Baghdad-Denver Region Partnership


Baghdadphoto3 DRCOG is involved in a unique international partnership, known as the Baghdad-Denver Region Partnership for Peace. It is a program of Sister Cities International.

Download a flier about the Partnership.


The partnership promotes the exchange of ideas and understanding between government officials, citizens, college faculty and students, businesses and nonprofit organizations of the two regions. The primary benefit to Baghdad of participation in the program is exposure to the systems of government, education, business and nonprofits in a democratic civil society. The Denver area, in turn, gains increased understanding of the culture and history of Iraq and the Middle East. Strong professional and personal relationships are forged through the Partnership as well.


The Baghdad-Denver Region Connection

DRCOG has had a close relationship with Baghdad since 2003. Former Glendale Mayor and DRCOG Board Member Joe Rice was called to active duty and served as an adviser to the Baghdad Councils during their initial development in 2003 and early 2004. Former Clear Creek County Commissioner and former DRCOG Board Member Peter Kenney also spent time in Iraq advising Baghdad's local government officials. During this time, the principles of DRCOG, and materials provided by the Colorado Municipal League and metro area local governments, were frequently consulted as Baghdad's new local government officials developed their own system of democratic government.

Baghdadphoto2 International Partners for Peace

In October 2004, DRCOG and delegates from the Province of Baghdad officially signed a partnership declaration establishing the two regions as "partners for peace" through Sister Cities International.

The program is facilitated by Sister Cities International, but is not a traditional Sister Cities program. In a traditional program, one city is paired with another city. The Baghdad-Denver Region Partnership is a regional program where DRCOG, an organization of 56 county and municipal governments in the Denver area, is paired with the Province of Baghdad, which is composed of more than 100 local governments.

Baghdadphoto1 Partnership Activities

A key goal of the Partnership is to promote the exchange of ideas and understanding and one way the Partnership has achieved this is through visits. Several delegations from Iraq have visited the Denver region to learn about the workings of local government and to better understand how nonprofit organizations can help local communities.

Four members of the Baghdad City Council visited the Denver area in December 2003, followed by two small delegations from Baghdad in August and October 2004. A delegation of 18 government and NGO (non-governmental organization) officials visited in April 2005. A women's delegation of government and nonprofit officials visited in May 2006. In addition, the Partnership has supported student internships.

Delegations typically visit local governments to watch city council and county commission meetings; attend service club meetings, such as those held by Kiwanis and Rotary clubs; view public works projects; visit the State Capitol and state elected officials; and meet with nonprofit and educational organizations, among a host of other activities.

To learn more about a delegation visit, please download the Report of the April Delegation Visit. The report describes the visit of 18 officials from Baghdad to the Denver region in April 2005.

There have been several delegation visits since 2005. See the last page of the Partnership Flier for a current listing. More activities are in development for 2011 and beyond.

View pictures of school supply kit distribution in Iraq.

Articles about the Partnership

Iraqi youths revel in Colorado
Denver Post, July 31, 2007

Iraqi women looking to West for leadership role models
Rocky Mountain News, May 30, 2006

Read the USA Today news clip about Iraqi local government efforts.

Iraqis take lessons in municipal democracy
Rocky Mountain News, April 14, 2005

Iraqi delegation soaks up U.S. life
Denver Post, April 15, 2005

Observers of democracy
Denver Post, April 15, 2005

Visiting Iraqi officials taking notes
Denver Post, April 17, 2005

Iraqis taking home new sense of democracy
Rocky Mountain News, April 22, 2005

Sister City
TIME Magazine, June 21, 2004


Activities are funded by grants and monies raised locally. Sister Cities International provided the Partnership with an initial grant, and several generous contributions have been received from individuals and businesses in the metro area.

Please contact DRCOG if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation.

Contact Information

To learn more about the Partnership, please contact:

Connie Garcia, DRCOG Board Coordinator, 303-455-1000;
Joe Rice, Partnership Volunteer, 303-667-5555; and
Peter Kenney, Partnership Volunteer, 303-480-1947.

Section Highlights

Keep up with what's going on at DRCOG.

Selected Downloads

Partnership Brochure

Partnership Fact Sheet

Citizen Diplomacy

Report of the April 2005 Delegation Visit

Download PDF Reader

External Links

Sister Cities International