Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change


Ammar Al Shahbander

Ammar Al Shahbander, long-standing Chief of Mission in Iraq for the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, was killed in a car bomb attack in Baghdad on 2 May 2015.


"Ammar’s death is a tragedy for his beautiful family and a profound shock for all of us at IWPR," said IWPR Executive Director Anthony Borden. “He was devoted to helping build a new and peaceful Iraq, and he was one of the most informed, creative and passionate members of the civil society community there – hugely respected by government officials, Western diplomats and the international press, and loved by his colleagues. His loss is a major blow to Iraq, and to us all."

"In the worst of environments, Ammar gave hope.  Will that hope be extinguished?  Or is it just possible that his passing may inspire those he touched to recommit to that dream?"

Anthony Borden

Friend and IWPR colleague

The Washington Post – A car bomb killed one of Iraq’s few optimists last week

"Iraq lost a great mind, a dedicated journalist and human rights activist. His work will never be forgotten, his commitment to change to be example for others."

Elias Hashimi

Friend and former IWPR colleague

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

"You've found the peace that Baghdad could not offer you and that shall be my consolation. My love, my friend, my husband and the father of my children. Rest in peace."

Angela Alaliaoui

Ammar’s wife

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

“Hivos is overwhelmed with grief and shocked by this tragedy. Ammar worked tirelessly to train journalists and photographers in the conflict-torn country that Iraq has become. He never stopped believing in a better future for the country where he was born in 1973.”

Hivos, West Asia

"It will be difficult to forget Ammar; it will be even more difficult to forgive the murderers for what they did. RIP"

Hiwa Osman

Friend and former IWPR colleague

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

"Ammar’s priority was to produce a new generation of journalists who’d be able to support the newborn democracy in Iraq. His projects created opportunities for dozens of media workers to acquire real professional training."

Hazim al-Sharaa

Chief editor of the satellite TV channel al-Sumaria and former IWPR trainee

Iraqis Mourn Ammar Al Shahbander - IWPR
"Ammar actually believed in Iraq. He was a patriot who remained, in a practical way, an idealist. He didn’t give up on the idea that Iraq could become more democratic, more free—that Iraqis deserved what the rest of us take for granted."

George Packer

IWPR Board member

The New Yorker – A Free Life in Iraq

"We’ve just lost a great man who cannot be replaced."

Mustafa Saad

Iraqi civil activist

Iraqis Mourn Ammar Al Shahbander - IWPR

“The United Nations family in Iraq pays tribute to the dignified defender of freedom of expression and human rights, who trained scores of his journalist colleagues on how they could help Iraq become more democratic, more free. May his soul rest in peace.”

United Nations Iraq

The United Nations in Iraq pays tribute to late Ammar Al Shahbander
"His loss is a tragedy to all in the country - it was clear - here was a man who made a difference in what he did, was a believer in what he did and inspired others to believe in those better tomorrows."

Laurie Clements

Iraq Program Director, Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

"Ammar was a great Iraqi, and he will be missed, not only by me and his other countless colleagues and supporters, but by his country."

Prashant Rao

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

"Ammar could have left the country again, like many others seeking lucrative careers or peaceful lives. Why do we keep on doing this? Because we appreciate beauty and we want to build, not to destroy."

Karim Wasfi

Conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra

The Washington Post - After car bombs explode, an Iraqi musician shows up with his cello

"Ammar's legacy will carry on and he will be remembered everyday by the countless lives he touched."

Reza H. Akbari

IWPR colleague

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

"There is an Ammar-shaped abyss in the heart of Iraq today."

Jacky Sutton

IWPR colleague

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence
Ammar Al Shahbander 
Book of Condolence

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"Ammar was a rare breed. When many others gave up on Iraq, finding the work far too life-threatening, difficult and thankless, Ammar stayed on. He lived and died as his countrymen did and for that he will always remain a legend."

Abir Awad, Aida Kaisy, Rebecca Emerson-Keeler and Ylenia Farina
BBC Media Action

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

"Ammar was a one of kind as all of the hundreds of tributes to him attest. He was also something of a rogue, able to ignore instructions or ideas that he did not agree with, but always done with consummate charm, a knowing smile and that characteristic laugh of his."

Duncan Furey

Friend and IWPR colleague

Ammar Al Shahbander Book of Condolence

“Ammar was a kind spirit, a connector and motivator for all who worked for peace, justice and rule of law in Iraq.”

Joyce Kasee

USIP program officer in Washington

United States Institute of Peace – Tribute to Iraqi Peacebuilder Ammar Al-Shahbander