This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the Kurdish Service of the Voice of America. Each day, VOA broadcasts to Kurdish-speakers in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East and the Caucasus. The service broadcasts in two major Kurdish dialects - Kurmanji and Sorani.
VOA Kurdish broadcasts news and information on events that affect Kurdish people everywhere. The service has a weekly call-in show, "Hello Washington," in which callers can question experts on everything from environmental protection to cultural rights and democratic representation for the Kurds. The program receives numerous calls from the Middle East and other parts of the world. Some programs and additional features are available on the service’s website: www.voanews.com/kurdish.
Iraq’s Kurdish population is now free to write and broadcast in the Kurdish language. Abbas Mandalawi, a journalist in Sulaimania, Iraq says VOA broadcasts are important:
“We thank the VOA for starting broadcasts in Kurdish. This means to us that a big country, like the United States is concerned about the conditions of this oppressed people, that was ignored by all. When the Kurdish service of VOA was established, it created a new hope for our people that we are not alone and neglected.”
“For fifteen years,” says Danforth Austin, Director of the Voice of America, “the VOA Kurdish service has distinguished itself with accurate, reliable news and cultural programming that Kurdish speakers in Iraq and other countries have come to find indispensable in their daily lives.”