The U.S. Institute of Peace has established a memorial at its headquarters for members of its staff who were killed while serving USIP in its mission of promoting peaceful resolutions of violent conflicts abroad.

memorial wall at USIP headquarters

The institute gathered staff members and guests June 29 to remember three colleagues killed in Iraq and Afghanistan:

  • Ahmed Abid al-Aziz al-Dori, a middle-aged father of four, and his cousin, Osama Dori, age 21, were serving as security guards for USIP amid frequent violence and a state of insecurity in Baghdad. They were killed by unknown attackers in January 2007.
  • Naqib Ahmed Khpulwak worked at USIP’s office in Kabul on programs to strengthen the rule of law. He was killed in August 2016 in a Taliban attack on the American University of Afghanistan, as he taught a class in Islamic law.

Humam Hassam, a former USIP staff member in Iraq, remembered Ahmed al-Dori as a friend with a calm presence and a ready sense of humor who was deeply respected as USIP’s senior security officer in Baghdad. Al-Dori’s younger cousin had begun working with the institute only weeks before being killed, he recalled.

USIP’s director in Afghanistan, Shahmahmood Miakhel, said of Naqib Khpulwak: “While we lost a colleague, others lost a beloved son, a committed brother … and many lost a committed teacher and mentor.”

Khpulwak as “was a rising star in Afghanistan … who lived his life with passion,” said Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, Hamdullah Mohib.

“By any measure, all three of these men were heroes to their families, to their communities, to their countries and to the mission that we collectively serve,” USIP President Nancy Lindborg told the audience.

Saifurrahman Qargha, an imam from the Washington area’s Afghan diaspora community, offered an Islamic prayer for the men killed, who were Muslims. “May God bless them and accept their sacrifice,” he said. “We ask God to inspire us to be … peacemakers.”

Inside the institute’s main entrance the three men are remembered with plaques in the shape of flying doves mounted on a wall beneath a quote from American diplomat, political leader and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt:

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”

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