“Over the past quarter of a century AMAR has given us all reason to have faith in humanity. It has saved countless lives, created hope from despair, and achieved nothing short of miracles.”
-HRH Prince Charles
On December 13, 2017, AMAR International celebrated its 25th anniversary at Lancaster House in London with a very special guest: His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, who has served as patron to the organization for over a decade.
More than 100 guests, including long-time AMAR donors and volunteers, attended the exclusive luncheon event. Guests had the opportunity to meet with AMAR field staff from Iraq, experience interactive photo exhibits on healthcare, education, emergency relief, and religious tolerance, and hear remarks from Prince Charles and other renowned speakers.
It was an incredible day for the many AMAR staff and volunteers who also attended the event. AMAR U.S. Board member Jim Olson and his wife Sarah (above) flew in from Frederick, Maryland for the special event.
“I’ve volunteered with AMAR for many years,” said Olson. “This is an organization that is truly rebuilding lives for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Iraqis and underserved communities each year. I’m proud to be associated with this incredible team, and we are all honored by the patronage of Prince Charles.”
During the celebration, Prince Charles paid tribute to AMAR’s work throughout the Middle East stating, “It is the ethos at the core of AMAR’s work which is the most impressive thing of all – even in the most desperate and heart-breaking situations, where conflict has shattered lives and persecution has wrenched societies apart, AMAR has always maintained an unwavering faith in the future. It has not let itself be drawn into the complex causes of past miseries, but has instead focused on the here and now to help ordinary people rebuild their lives and regain the confidence that those lives are worth living.”
One of the most unique aspects of the 25th anniversary event included a round table discussion on religious persecution of the Yazidis, a minority religious group in Iraq. During the discussion, Prince Charles met with Yazidi survivor, Nehad Barakat, who spoke on her experience. The round table was also attended by AMAR Founder Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, LDS Charities Director Sharon Eubank, the British Prime Minister’s Special Representative on preventing sexual violence, and other faith leaders.
Prince Charles had the opportunity to meet with AMAR supporters and staff from offices in London, Washington D.C., Utah, and Iraq. He recognized the incredible work being done by the countless AMAR doctors, nurses, teachers and staff in Iraq stating, “During the past twenty-five years over ten million people in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan have been able to benefit from healthcare facilities made available through AMAR, with many more benefiting from the educational opportunities that AMAR provides.”
The event concluded with the cutting of an AMAR “birthday cake” followed by a delightful musical performance by the children of the Kensington Primary School Choir. Prince Charles left the event attendees with some final, inspiring words regarding AMAR’s work saying, “I know that each of you will share my confidence that, for as long as these challenges exist, AMAR will rise to them with energy, professionalism and the greatest possible humanity. “
All photography credits are due to Simon Jones of Pro Vision Photography Ltd