Ziyad Raoof, the Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to Poland
Ziyad Raoof was born in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, in 1956. There he began his education, which he continued until he finished the College and passed the graduation test. In the college he took an active part in the activities of youth and the political organizations of opposition. As a result of the repression of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 1977, he was forced to flee from his country to Turkey. In the years 1978 -1985, he studied at the University named after Patrice Lubumby in Moscow and received a master’s degree in law. He got the diploma of the Russian language teacher for foreigners and the diploma of the Russian language translator. In 1986 he came to Poland and started his PhD studies at the Faculty of Law and Administration at the Jagiellonian University. In 1990 he started his own business by running a restaurant in the Castle in Przegorzały. He created a chain of hotels and restaurants “ZR Hotels and restaurants in the architectural monuments”. Carefully and with great commitment of time and willingness, as the owner of the Tomaszowice Manor, the manor and park in Bobrek and historic castle of Kamienski Bishops in Karlino he devoted himself to the revitalization and restoration of monuments of Polish culture.
Since 2004, he is a representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to Poland. He puts a lot of effort in the development of political, economic, cultural and scientific relations between Kurdistan and Polish. He was the initiator and organizer of many Kurdish delegation visits to Poland and Polish delegation to Kurdistan on the levels of government, businesses and Chambers of Commerce. The result was the signing of an agreement of cooperation and partnership between the Malopolska Voivodeship and the Kurdistan Region. The ties of other polish regions such as Wielkopolska Region and the Lower Silesia Province with Kurdistan are successfully developing. Ziyad Raoof’s activities to promote the potential of the Polish economy and the possibility of its use for the development of Kurdistan led to the Kurdish government considering Poland as an important economic and political partner. As a result of invitations of many Polish scientific delegations, including the Minister of Higher Education of the Kurdistan Regional Government, led to the inclusion of twenty-one Polish universities on the list of the Human Capacity Development Programme run by the Kurdish Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. This means that the authorities recommend the students from Kurdistan to come to study in those universities and launches scholarships.
Scientific and cultural activity:
From his student days until 2010 he participated actively in the development of the student’s and academic culture governing the Association of the Rotunda Cultural Centre. As a member of the government he took an active part in the management of this organization, which organized the largest cultural events in Krakow, such as Cabaret Show Paka, Festival Jazz Juniors, Student Song Festival, a film festival Etude & Anima and many others. He was and still is a sponsor of these events. He is the founder and the director of the Kurdistan Information and Documentation Centre, which introduces the history and culture of the Kurdish nation to the Poles since 1992. In the cooperation with the Jagiellonian University, the National Museum, Deciusza Villa Association, the Academy of Music and Publishing house MARK Ziyad organized many cultural events and conferences, attended by eminent scientists, politicians, artists and people of culture from Kurdistan as well as other countries in the Middle East. On his initiative in 2003, an agreement was signed between the Jagiellonian University and three universities in Kurdistan (Salahaddin, Duhok, Suleymaniya). Thanks to it several Kurdish students could receive an education and graduate in Poland. Currently they use the gained knowledge to develop many fields of science in their homeland. Also in 2003, as a part of the Kurdish cultural festival, he organized an exhibition of contemporary Kurdish art, which at the end of the year received the title of the best exhibition of the year from the Minister of Culture. In March 2014 he organized the “Kurdish Month in Krakow” successfully promoting Kurdish culture and history. Every year Ziyad Raoof is also a host of Newroz – kurdish new year. He also supports and promotes Polish and world culture and art by organizing and sponsoring cultural events. Among others he organises an annual group exhibition „Tomaszowice Art Meeting” which is organized in the cooperation with The Association of Polish Artists and Designers, “Colors of Malopolska”, in the cooperation with the galery “U Jaksa” in Miechow, “Ukrainian Painting and Crafts” and exhibitions of individual Polish and Foreign artists such as Leszek Dudka, Jerzy Kędziora, Aleksander Żywiecki, Małgorzata Karp-Soja, Yoshiko Tsuboushi from Japan, Vladimir Gazowič from Slovakia, Igor Piačka from Slovakia and many others. Since 2011, the annual Art Fair “Kraków Art Expo” is organised in Tomaszowice Manor, which due to its unique atmosphere attracts many artists and galleries from Poland and the whole world. He is a collector and a lover of art. In 2012 the exhibition “Witold Chomicz -Reminder” in the National Museum in Krakow was organised from his collections. He is a producer of a film about the Krakow painter Janina Kraupa – Świderska called “I want to be a painter …”, which was first shown in February 2013 in Malopolska Garden of Art.
Other functions and duties:
- The Member of the Board of the Foundation for Children’s Health Children’s Hospital. St. Louis in Krakow,
- The board member of the International Cultural Centre,
- The board member of the National Museum in Krakow for the period 2012-2016.
Honored with many awards including:
- The title of Patron of Culture in Kraków (2002).
- Medal “Honoris Gratia” awarded by the President of Krakow in 2011 for services to the city of Krakow in particular, on the development of culture.
- The medal awarded by the regional government of Malopolska “for special contribution to the development of Małopolska” (2012).
- The medal of the 100th anniversary of the Polish Artists for patronage of the arts.
- The medal “Vive L’art” of the Polish Artists Association in Krakow (2014).