Mission

The Free Yezidi Foundation is designed to assist Yezidis in need. The Foundation was established shortly after terrorists attempted to eradicate the Yezidi people in August 2014. The Free Yezidi Foundation seeks to implement projects to protect and support the most vulnerable members of the Yezidi community.

The Foundation

  • The Free Yezidi Foundation is a politically independent, non-profit organisation
  • The Free Yezidi Foundation is an officially registered charity in the Netherlands and is designed to operate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  • The Free Yezidi Foundation will operate under the guidance of a Supervisory Board and will be led by an Executive Director
  • The Free Yezidi Foundation operates under the following guiding principles:
    • Community
    • Responsibility
    • Growth
    • Commitment
    • Professionalism

Areas of Primary Focus

  • Child Protection
  • Support for victims of gender-based violence
  • Support for minority communities
  • Recognition of crimes against humanity and acts of genocide
  • General civil society organisation support for minority communities

Supervisory Board

Pari Ibrahim left Kurdistan with her family when she was three years old, fleeing attacks by the Saddam Hussein regime. She had lived outside the city of Duhok. She now resides with her family in the Netherlands, and leads the efforts to raise funds for the Foundation and awareness of the plight of the Yezidis.

After the ISIS attacks on Sinjar and the Yezidi population in August, Ms Ibrahim founded the Free Yezidi Foundation to help Yezidi civilians in need and raise awareness of the situation. On behalf of the Foundation, she has spoken at the United Nations, the British House of Lords, and a number of prominent universities in the United States, as well as to the BBC and the Dutch news show Brandpunt. After the first fact-finding missions to meet with survivors, Ms Ibrahim understood that the Foundation would be most effective by providing services and assistance to survivors in the IDP camps.

Ms Ibrahim is in the process of completing her law degree. She speaks Kurdish (Kurmanji), Dutch, English, and German.
Rolf C. Carriere studied development economics at Groningen State University in the 1960’s. From 1971 he served in the UN system for the next 34 years (mostly with UNICEF and World Bank, and mostly in Asia). His last field postings were as UNICEF Country Representative in Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, Bangladesh and Indonesia, and he also served for 7 years as UNICEF’s Head of Health and Nutrition in India. Immediately before retirement he was the first Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a new public-private-people’s partnership based in Geneva. In retirement Mr Carriere advises civil society organizations, mainly in unarmed civilian protection, trauma healing and global governance. He is currently Senior Adviser (pro bono) to the Nonviolent Peaceforce, Adviser to EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program (trauma treatment), and also Board Member of the Union of International Associations in Brussels.

A development economist by training, Mr Carriere has focused on the development and scaling up of programmes of malnutrition control, selective primary health care, maternal mortality, elimination of child labor, trauma recovery and educational reform.
Dr Derek Farrell is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, an EMDR Europe Accredited Trainer and Consultant, a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, and an Accredited Psychotherapist with the British Association of Cognitive & Behavioural Psychotherapies (BABCP). He is currently President of EMDR Europe Humanitarian Assistance Programmes (EMDR Europe HAP), is a member of the EMDR Europe Science & Research Committee, Co-chair EMDR Europe Practice Sub-Committee and is a member of the EMDR Europe Board, Past President of EMDR UK & Ireland, and Past-Chair EMDR UK & Ireland Accreditation Committee.

He has been involved in a number of Humanitarian Assistance programmes training mental health workers in the aftermath of the Turkish and Pakistan earthquakes and the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Dr Farrell is presently involved in a long-term project in Pakistan developing mental health psychological trauma services mainly around the intervention of EMDR. Other projects include Turkey, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Poland and Palestine. He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer in mental Health with the University of Birmingham and in addition is an Honorary EMDR Consultant/Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust. In 2013 Dr Farrell was the recipient of the ‘David Servan Schreiber Award’ for Outstanding Contribution to EMDR. Derek has over 25 years’ experience as a mental health clinician.
Mr. Schute went to Kurdistan in April 2003 as the commander of a US Army Reserve Civil Affairs battalion and within two months was the senior US Army commander responsible for the three governorates of the Kurdistan Region. He later served with the Army as the Chief of Staff for the Coalition Provisional Authority Northern Region Office in Erbil.

After his Army tour, Mr. Schute returned to Iraqi Kurdistan, working first as the Regional Security Coordinator for a Kurdistan based international private security company. He later established Point 62 Consulting, with its base in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Through this company he advises the Kurdistan Regional Government, most principally the Minister of Interior, as well as other clients. He also serves as senior advisor to the board of the private security company – Vigilance Security Solutions (VSC); and, he serves on the board of the NGO, the America Kurdistan Friendship Association (AKFA). Finally, Mr. Schute is an owner and the Managing Director of Kurdistan Iraq Tours, which is Kurdistan’s first inward focused tourism company.

Mr. Schute’s military experience was gained over 23 years of active and reserve service as an Armor officer and later as a Civil Affairs officer, where he retired with the rank of Colonel. He also has law enforcement experience having served 10 years as a trooper and detective with the New Jersey State Police. Mr. Schute has a B.S. from the US Military Academy at West Point and, has a law enforcement certificate from the NJ State Police Academy. He speaks Sorani Kurdish and basic German.
Allyson Nelson is a licensed attorney with an extensive professional history in the fields of women’s and children’s rights, as well as counter-terrorism. Ms Nelson began her career as a prosecutor of sex crimes, domestic violence, and child abuse in a large, metropolitan city, utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach that encompassed work with the Child Advocacy Center, Child Protective Services, and other advocacy groups.

Subsequently, Ms Nelson worked on anti-human trafficking initiatives in Moscow, Russia. She then served as an advisor on women’s issues to the Kurdistan Regional Government, and was a member of the High Commission on Violence Against Women. While in Kurdistan, Ms Nelson worked with both government and non-government officials, as well as law enforcement, women’s shelter staff, and medical professionals, to implement effective strategies and solutions to address the unique concerns faced by women and children impacted by acts of violence, including honor killings and domestic and sexual violence. Ms Nelson also served as an advisor with the United States Department of State, assisting Afghan prosecutors with cases of terror suspects at the Justice Center in Parwan, the National Security Court of Afghanistan.
Gay Rosenblum-Kumar worked with the United Nations for 25 years, and in her last post leading the Secretariat of the UN Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action (FT), an informal, interagency mechanism that supported UN Headquarters agencies and Country Teams to deepen their work in conflict prevention and transformation. In that capacity, she played a major role in developing new conceptual and operational approaches to early conflict prevention policy and practice in the UN system.

She has been involved in early warning, conflict analysis and response development, facilitation, capacity-building for mediation and dialogue, support to electoral violence prevention campaigns, and promoting conflict-sensitive policy and practice. Ms Rosenblum-Kumar has conducted educational and skills training workshops on conflict transformation for the UN at Headquarters, in field offices, for Pearson Peacekeeping Center in Canada and at a number of schools and universities. Since leaving the UN in July 2014, she is teaching courses on the UN and on peacebuilding at New York University, assisting the Nonviolent Peaceforce as a Senior Advisor for Advocacy and Outreach in NY, overseeing a research project on reconciliation in the Western Balkans, and working on an intergovernmental initiative to develop a knowledge network and resource centre on atrocity prevention and ‘dealing with the past’ after violence.
David Sklar has spent six years as an advisor for the Kurdistan Regional Government. He first worked in the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, and later in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Most recently he worked with the KRG Spokesperson to create a new Government Department – the KRG Department of Media and Information – responsible for sharing KRG activities and decisions with citizens and with local and international media outlets. In his years with the KRG, Mr Sklar has spent most of his time working to develop KRG relations with members of the international community, including advocating for a greater and stronger diplomatic presence in Erbil, as well as speechwriting and providing policy and communication advice. He studied at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Latif Yuzbashan is a 28-year-old Kurdish Yezidi from Armenia. He lives in Brussels where he’s studying Economics. He has been active on social media, where he strives to raise awareness about the genocide of the Yezidis, perpetrated by ISIS terrorists. Mr Yuzbashan has participated in protests and spoken at interfaith events in Belgium regarding peaceful coexistence. He is apolitical and wishes to focus solely on the humanitarian needs of the Kurdish Yezidis to the greatest extent possible.
Naomi Kikoler is an expert on conflict and mass atrocity prevention. She leads the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum policy engagement with the United States government, Congress and the United Nations. Previously she led the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect’s global policy and advocacy work, including its UN Security Council advocacy on crisis situations. She is currently leading a project on Iraq and the Islamic State to assess threats and craft policy recommendations for civilian protection. Her 2015 report on ISIS’ atrocities helped to galvanize the US government’s to recognize ISIS’ commission of genocide against religious minorities. A leading strategist, Naomi is a lecturer on international human rights advocacy at the New School University, a board member of the Canadian Centre for R2P, and an adviser to NGO’s working on atrocity prevention. Prior to joining the Global Centre in 2008, Naomi worked on national security law and policy for Amnesty International Canada. She has also worked for the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Brookings Institution’s Project on Internal Displacement and as a Carter Center election monitor in Kenya. Naomi is a graduate of McGill’s Faculty of Law, Oxford University and the University of Toronto. She also loves East African markets, Kurdish food, all things Canadian and is finally learning how to run.

Naomi joins the Free Yezidi Foundation board strictly in a personal capacity, advising FYF leadership on a number of objectives regarding the pursuit of justice, international and domestic legal options for survivors, and advocacy strategies.

Staff

  • Silav IbrahimCountry Director
  • Zazi IbrahimProgram Coordinator
  • Burhan ShamoAdministrative Coordinator
  • Mamo HajiCamp Center Manager
  • Tiffany ProegerAdministration and Finance
  • Eelke HalbertsmaWebsite and Communications