This month marks the 17th 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 2 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 websites: www.voanews.com/kurdish and www.voanews.com/kurdi.
Dr. Najmaldin Karim, president of the Washington Kurdish Institute, a non-governmental research and educational organization, says VOA's Kurdish Service is important to Kurdish speaking people in the region:
"The establishment of the Kurdish Service in 1992 was a very important and necessary step to convey the news for [to] the people in Kurdistan – unbiased and unedited. And indeed, this was a big vacuum that was filled by the Voice of America. From my own experience, I know this is a very popular service and people from different walks of life listen to the news from the Voice of America and other programs and I hope the day will come that they will have a Kurdish television program, so people can see and hear the best news that is available."
Mahmood Osman, a member of the Iraqi parliament, congratulated VOA Kurdish for its positive role in fostering better relations between Americans and Iraqi Kurds and expressed the hope that Kurdish programming will be expanded.
For 17 years, the Voice of America's Kurdish Service has been committed to the mission of the Voice of America, a mission defined in VOA's first broadcast in 1942: "The news may be good. The news may be bad. We shall tell you the truth."