Multicultural Project Planning in Iraq

Multicultural Project Planning

Pre-war and post-war has devastated the Iraq people and the country. According to Ghabra (2001), “No Arab people have been so traumatized by dictatorial rule, foreign adventurism, and war as the Iraqis under Saddam Husayn” (p. 39). The war in Iraq has relieved the Iraq people of Saddam, but the aftermath of the war has created harsher living conditions (Narrator, 2003). For example, there is no clean water for Iraq people to drink because the water will make them sick. During the Gulf War, a Coalition aircraft bombed Basra’s power station cutting the power of Basra’s waterworks, and the system has not been fully restored (Narrator, 2003). The country needs aid in rebuilding effort. To help aid the country’s rebuilding effort Humanitarian’s Organization will be expanding into Iraq. Multicultural project planning is the first step Humanitarian’s Organization will have to take before expanding into Iraq. The Organization will examine the different cultures in Iraq. For example how the Iraq people “learn from others in the form of familiar associations or interpretations, beliefs, attitudes, and values” (Lott, 2010, p. 25). The purpose of this paper is to discuss topics to help gain a better understand before starting the project, ethnocentric challenges, and types of questions the researcher should ask.

Topics to Gain a Better Understanding the Problem

Topics the author would like to gain a better understanding before beginning the organization’s project to help aid in the country’s rebuilding efforts in Iraq is the culture in Iraq. Cultures differ in basic premises that shape the worldview because culture is described as the embodiment of a worldview through learned and transmitted beliefs, values, practices, and way of living informed by historical, economic, ecological, and political forces (American Psychological Association, Inc., 2003). The second topics how that war has affected the Iraq people, both physically and mentally. The impact of the war will affect people in different ways. “Each of us will bring our complex and unique multicultural selves into our social interactions with others and into our interpretation of events” (Lott, 2010, p. 14). The last topic the author would like to gain a better understanding of is what the Humanitarian’s Organization can do to assist in the countries rebuilding efforts. The country is in need of immediate help. According to Campaign against Sanctions on Iraq (as cited by Ashraf, 2003) humanitarian needs are as followed:

1. Bridging, material handling, and transport

2. Food and necessities for 5.4 million people

3. Health supplies for 1.23 million highly vulnerable people

4. Health supplies for ongoing needs of 5.4 million people

5. Nutrition supplies for 0.54 million people

6. Water treatment equipment for 5.4 million people

7. Chemicals and consumables for 5.4 million people

8. Sanitation materials and chemicals (pg. 627)

Ethnocentric Challenges

One form of cultural bias is ethnocentrism because it refers to “thinking one’s own group’s ways are superior to others or judging other groups as inferior to one’s own” (Min-Sun, 2009, pg. 413). Culture influences how we see the world, which “leads us inevitably to see it from the only vantage point we know-our own” (Keith, 2010, p. 23). The ethnocentric challenges that the organization may encounter is stereotyping or bias opinions towards different groups. Stereotyping is a tendency to apply generalized knowledge or belief about a group to all members of the group indiscriminately and most common when we first encounter a culture about which we know little or nothing (Gillmor, 2000). For example, thinking that cookie-cutter plan will work with the different cultures in Iraq. A cookie-cutter plan will not work because Iraq is divided into multiple areas that is based on religious affiliation, language, relations to other groups, etc. When aiding the country’s rebuilding effort the organization must have an “understanding of the cultures they are studying and the language issues, and being aware of their own ideological and value-based bias” (Keith, 2010, p. 36). Language barriers and the meaning of different words in another challenge because words have different meanings depending on the culture. Body language is also a challenge. Different expressions or body language may vary from culture to culture. The last challenge is research ethics, such as “anonymity, confidentiality, informed consent, and other elements of planning and conducting research” (Keith, 2010, p. 49). The participant’s safety is a high priority. Researchers who are not sensitive to the different cultures in Iraq could draw inferences that result in stigmatization and generally unwarranted conclusions (Keith, 2010, p. 50)

Research Question

Research questions an important part of multicultural planning. The questions will help the researcher gain a better understanding of his or her topics interest. The first question the researcher would ask are questions that will help him of her gain a better understanding of the different cultures in Iraq, this includes beliefs, values, political forces, religion, etc. The second question would be about the Arab world views. “The Arab worldview is based upon six concepts: atomism, faith, wish versus reality, justice and equality, paranoia and the importance of family over self”) Federation of American Scientists n.d., Arab World View). The third question would be questions about ethnoreligious groups and tribes. There are four major ethnic groups; Arab, Kurd, Turkoman, and Assyrian (ProCon, 2015) and each of these groups have different religious beliefs. The fourth question would be about the different languages in Iraq. According to Country Reports (1997 – 2015), the different languages are “Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions, Assyrian, and Armenian” (Iraq stats). In the video Post War Conditions in Iraq the narrator discusses the countries harsher living conditions after the war (Narrator, 2003). The fifth question would be about how the Iraq people had been affected by the war physically and psychology before and after the war. The sixth question would be about the countries economics, changes in religious beliefs, and experiences encountered during and after the war. For example, asking Iraq people about Washington officials taking days to help restore order. According to the Narrator (2003), the invasion forces were focused on fighting Saddam holdouts and looting went on for days because Washington officials said it would take time to restore order. The seventh question would be about how the organization can aid in the countries rebuilding effort. The humanitarian needs are all highly important, but the researcher needs to ask questions to determine which needs are a higher priority.


Pre-war and post-war has devastated the Iraq people and the country. The country needs aid in the country’s rebuilding effort. Multicultural project planning is essential because it focuses on topics the researcher needs to research, ethnocentric challenges and the different types of questions the researcher should ask. It is important that researchers understand the issues that need to be addressed and the cultures of the country. Ethnocentric Challenges refers to the way one group believes their group is better than other groups and the organization may encounter is stereotyping or bias opinions towards the different groups. Ethics in research is also very important, such as participant’s informed consent and the safety of the participants. Researchers should ask questions that will help him or her gain a better understanding of the different cultures, how the organization can help aid the country’s rebuilding effort, and prioritize the humanitarian needs.


American Psychological Association, Inc. (2003).Guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice, and organizational change for psychologists. American Psychologist, 58(5), 377–402. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.58.5.377

Ashraf, H. (2003, February). The people of Iraq face a grim future with or without a war. Lancet, 361(9358), 626. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Back to Basra: After Saddam . (2003). In Films on Demand. Retrieved June 19, 2015, from

Country Reports. (1997 – 2015). Iraq facts and culture. Retrieved from

Federation of American Scientists. (n.d.). Soldier’s guide to Iraq – Federation of American scientists. Retrieved from

Ghabra, S. N. (2001, summer). Iraq’s culture of violence. Middle East Quarterly, 8(3), 39-49. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Gillmor, M. (2000, December). The hazards of stereotyping. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 15(4), 8-8. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Keith, K. D. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Contemporary themes and perspectives. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Lott, B. (2010). Multiculturalism and diversity. A social psychological perspective. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Min-Sun, K. (2009, December). Cultural bias in communication science: Challenges of overcoming ethnocentric paradigms in Asia. Asian Journal of Communication, 19(4), 412-421. doi:10.1080/01292980903293338

ProCon. (2015). What are the different ethnic groups in Iraq. Retrieved from

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *