UNESCO Artist for Peace, renowned musician Naseer Shamma, welcomed the historic and unprecedented visit of Pope Francis to Iraq, which is scheduled to span from the fifth to the eighth of March, in his first foreign tour since the end of 2019. This visit brings to light a clear message from the Pope of the Vatican, Pope Francis, that Iraq is starting to recover. "
Addressing the Pope of the Vatican, Naseer Shamma said: “As UNESCO artist for peace, and as an Iraqi citizen, and as a human being, I am very pleased to say to the Pope of the Vatican, Pope Francis, you come to your home, your country, the Iraqi people have witnessed exactly what you have done since you came to the Vatican, you have replenished the role of the pope to it's spirituality, away from politics and placed it in perspective, and so the whole world respects your role and appreciates your coming to Iraq in these difficult circumstances and in light of the crises that surround Iraq and the world. " Naseer Shamma added, "This is a very clear message from the Vatican, Pope Francis, that Iraq is starting to recover." Naseer Shamma explained: “You will find the abode of the prophets, the Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, everywhere in Iraq. I am one of those who have observed your actions since the first day of your arrival to the Vatican, so I am very pleased to welcome you and your presence and your holiness to Mesopotamia. "
It is worth noting that the visit of Pope Francis will span over four days, during which he will meet with senior officials, along with the supreme Shiite authority Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf, visit the historic city of Ur, and hold a mass in Baghdad as well as visit the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with the preparations on going in the city of Ur. The historical site and the house of the Prophet Ibrahim and the main podium and the guests' tents were erected, at a time when the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities intensified its artistic and media efforts in preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to Iraq, the country of civilizations and religious and cultural diversity. The Ministry prepares and welcomes his succession, a cultural programme, it includes performances by the Iraqi symphony troupe, fashion shows, and other events.