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Poetry Used to Unify IRAQ

BAGHDAD (UPI) -- A U.S. national says he is working with an Iraqi arts professor to use poetry and other art forms to help unify war-torn Iraq.

John Dunlop of the U.S. government's Agency for International Development said he and professor Saad Shaker are attempting to revitalize Iraq's sense of culture through a poetry competition and an art exhibition, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

"It's a sense of normalcy, not war and instability -- of culture, of things happening, the kinds of spices that make communities worth defending," Dunlop said.

Dunlop, 43, is representing the U.S. agency in the Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team for Rashid District.

The U.S. national told the Globe that by helping revive Iraqis' love of poetry, he and Shaker are attempting to instill a sense of community amid the chaos of a major armed conflict.

"When you have art shows going on," Dunlop said, "people have a sense of a community functioning at more than a basic level."

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