NASUWT International Solidarity Award for Ahmed Jassam Salih

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has opened its Annual Conference in Birmingham by presenting its International Solidarity Award to Ahmed Jassam Salih, National President of the technical sector of the Iraqi Teachers’ Union (ITU).

The award was presented to Ahmed in recognition of his immense courage in defending the human and trade union rights of teachers in Iraq.

Ahmed has been active within teacher trade unionism since 2003, despite constant threats and intimidation against him and his family from forces opposed to social justice.

Three of Ahmed’s brothers have been murdered since 2008, one just last month.

Despite the threats to his life, Ahmed has travelled Iraq extensively to help build and develop the ITU.

He has played a leading part in supporting women teachers to play an active role in the leadership of the ITU and has led an NASUWT-supported training programme for ITU members in Iraq.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Ahmed has displayed immense courage in his work to defend the human and trade union rights of teachers in Iraq.

“He is a powerful symbol of resistance to all oppressive and violent regimes and an inspiration to us all.

“I am proud that the NASUWT has been able to play a part in supporting Ahmed and all the brave teachers and trade unionists across the world fighting for freedom, social justice and human rights.

“It is a great honour to have Ahmed here at Conference to receive in person the NASUWT International Solidarity Award.”

Ahmed Jassam Salih said:
“It is an honour and a privilege to receive this award.

“The ITU leadership wishes the NASUWT success in realising your members’ and that of all UK teachers’ objectives for fair pay, pensions and working conditions and for quality public education that cares for all.

“The ITU values the NASUWT’s principled international, political and practical solidarity and support that started soon after the end of the 2003 war and occupation of Iraq. The ITU jointly struggles with other Iraqi progressive and patriotic forces for peace, democracy and social justice and for an end to the onslaught of sectarianism and terrorism that has brought widespread corruption, mass death, destruction and mayhem.

The ITU values the NASUWT’s support as we endeavour to build a democratic, united and independent ITU which is, in our opinion, a vital factor in creating a free and secure federal Iraq that is free from the poison of sectarianism, terrorism and corruption.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Amanda Williamson 0774 124 6202

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham from 18-21 April.

The NASUWT International Solidarity award recognises the bravery and commitment of individuals around the world who work tirelessly to promote human rights and to defend the rights of teachers.

The Award highlights and celebrates the commitment of individuals to trade union values of solidarity, equality and democracy, and challenging violence, injustice, bigotry and hatred.

Previous recipients of the International Solidarity Award are:

Aung San Suu Kyi (2012)
Jalila al Salman (2013)

The National Executive has adopted seven guiding principles for conferring the Award to individuals whose contribution is to:

(i)              Defending human rights
(ii)            Defending trade union rights of teachers
(iii)           Working for quality education
(iv)           Demonstrating values of solidarity, equality and democracy
(v)             Educator/teacher
(vi)           Challenging violence, injustice, bigotry and hatred
(vii)          Working in countries outside the UK.

The NASUWT prioritises solidarity action in the following countries:
The MENA region (Middle East and North Africa)

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392 746