Working in Iraq

During 2003-2004 I worked in Iraq.  I arrived in the country barely three weeks after the "Shock and Awe" of the US invasion.  My job was as Deputy Chief of Party of the RISE Project.  RISE was  and acronym meaning Rehabilitation of Iraqi Schools and Stabilization of Education.  My job as Deputy Chief of Party was as Operations Manager of the project.  Funded by USAID (US Agency for International Development), we fielded about 100 personnel throughout the country, in Baghdad, Mosul, Erbil, Al Hilla, and Basrah.  My job kept me working in all locations.  We had to shut down the Mosul office because of sporadic grenade attacks and we moved it to Erbil, in Kurdistan.  The expatriate personnel numbered about 20 professionals from many countries.  The managers of the field offices were all expatriates as a requirement of USAID.  My job also required me to have oversight responsibility for our office in Kuwait, which was our logistics office.  The thing I like best about working in wartorn Iraq was our Iraqi (and Kurds and Kuwaities) staff.  They were an intelligent and dedicated group of people.  Eventually, my contract with the RISE Project came to an end.  I next worked in Afghanistan. Not long after leaving Iraq I began receiving requests from the Iraqi staff for assistance in getting out of Iraq. I helped about 17 Iraqis to find work in Dubai, Kuwait, The Emirates, Sweden, Scotland and the United States.  We stay in touch to this day.