IRI Training Focuses on Improving Constituent Communications

With the goal of improving communications between citizens and their elected representatives, the International Republican Institute (IRI) hosted a training in Baghdad for members of Iraq’s parliament that focused on techniques for effective television interviews and public contact.   

Volunteer trainer John Reid of Virginia and IRI staff led the Iraqi legislators through a discussion on public image, tips for television interviews and basic message development strategy.  Communications skills such as the need to establish a party message or brand and how to easily communicate it in a way average voter will understand were presented.  Other techniques discussed were means of describing public policy in a way that reaches the average citizen and speaks to their needs and concerns.  

The lawmakers expressed interest in how American political leaders communicated with constituents and maintained transparency in their work.  Participants described the challenges of communicating with a skeptical public and the need to instill confidence in the minds of Iraqis regarding the work of a truly elected legislature.  With the assistance of IRI’s Media Center, legislators participated in a mock public affairs television program where they practiced responding to questions from a moderator in front of a camera.  Questions focused on current events and likely topics which would be raised during an interview.  The taped segments were then played back for discussion and critique.

A broad segment of Iraq’s democratic political spectrum attended the training, including the Iraqi Islamic Party, Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Kurdish Coalition, Sadris and the Iraqi National List. 

Coinciding with the training was a visit to Baghdad by IRI’s President Lorne Craner, Executive Vice President Judy Van Rest and board members Ambassadors Rich Williamson and Stephan Minikes.  The delegation attended a portion of the training and spoke with the lawmakers about IRI’s work and the general political situation in Iraq.

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