Voice of America Kurdish Service marks its 21st year of service to Kurdish-speakers
This year, the Voice of America Kurdish Service marks its 21st year of service to Kurdish-speakers in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East and the Caucasus.
A proud people with a rich cultural tradition, Kurds form one of the largest ethnic groups in the Middle East. Most of the 38 million or so ethnic Kurds live in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, northwestern Iran and northern Syria.
Separated by national borders and local conflicts, the Kurdish people are spread far and wide, making the flow of information, and of even basic trans-national communication among the groups, problematic.
In 1992, the Voice of America recognized a growing need to provide reliable news and information to Kurds, a need that, over time, has only increased. In those early days, the Kurdish Service aired one fifteen minute radio segment a day, broadcast in the two major dialects of the Kurdish people, Kurmanji and Sorani.
According to Dr. Najmaldin Karim, former President of the Washington Kurdish Institute, who today serves as the Governor of Kirkuk Province in northern Iraq, VOA Kurdish Service became important to Kurdish speaking people because it filled a vacuum. The establishment of Voice of America Kurdish was a very important and necessary step to convey unbiased and unedited news to the people in Kurdistan, he said.
Over the ensuing two decades, VOA Kurdish Service broadcasting gradually expanded, adding a variety of programming to reflect the interests of the audience, and increased its presence by utilizing social media networks, television and internet programming. Most recently, the Kurdish Service began to offer direct-to-home satellite broadcast news programming.
As it has for the past twenty one years, the Voice of America Kurdish Service provides accurate, reliable news and cultural programming to Kurdish speakers all over the world.