The Biden administration is prepared to shell out up to $12 million to teach Iraqis how to fight climate change and appreciate "gender diversity," an effort it says will help strengthen democracy in the Middle Eastern nation.
President Joe Biden's State Department on May 15 posted a grant solicitation offering three universities in Iraq up to $4 million each to develop programs to help fight climate change and advance gender equity. Recipients must develop "fields of study, course offerings, and/or majors" centered on "gender issues" and "the adaptation to and mitigation of the impacts of climate change," the grant offering shows. Additionally, the State Department wants Iraqi universities to develop recruitment programs for students who will work toward advancing "greenhouse gas reduction" and "other areas of study related to climate change."
Programs approved for funding must also have "progressive curricula" and "strengthen the diversity of the student body of American-style Iraqi institutions of higher education."
Iraq isn't the only majority-Muslim state where the United States has attempted to use taxpayer dollars to impose progressive ideas. A 2021 government report found that the United States spent over $787.4 billion on advancing gender equality in Afghanistan, with limited success. Trying to integrate women into anti-Taliban militias, a U.S. Agency for International Development official reported, "caused revolts" among fighters, and despite American efforts, female political participation declined between 2004 and 2019.
When asked how the grant advances America's interests in the region, the State Department told the Washington Free Beacon that "We know that more inclusive governments are better equipped to address global challenges."
"Diversity, equity, and inclusion," the department's statement continued, "are not only a matter of human rights and fairness, but when present together promote stability, prosperity, and security."
Simon Hankinson, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the Free Beacon that the State Department grant "is typical of Washington's current effort to export American ideas to foreign countries through diplomacy and aid."
"Gender identity and gender expression are the heart of a U.S. culture war, yet we are exporting them half-baked, before we agree on how far to take them ourselves," Hankinson said.
To promote gender equity in Iraq, 40 percent of all funding allocated through the grant "must directly benefit women in Iraq." The State Department's commitment to advancing gender equity, however, isn't confined to biological females.
The department "requires that all activities fully address intersectional gender and inclusion considerations, ensuring that individuals of all genders and diverse backgrounds benefit from support to the extent feasible, and that gender and inclusion awareness is a built-in component of project activities." This requirement applies to both "gender" and "gender identity," a grant footnote clarifies.
An interactive video link included in the grant materials also contains a section where the department defines gender as "socially constructed," prompting ridicule from Hankinson.
"I would doubt that [Iraqis] are sufficiently hip as to have many students or faculty who consider themselves agender, neutrois, bigender, butch, gender expansive, genderfluid, gender outlaw, genderqueer, nonbinary, omnigender, polygender, pangender, or Two Spirit," Hankinson told the Free Beacon. "But give it time and $10,000,000, and we'll see."
The State Department grant also makes an explicit request for diversity, equity, and inclusion to be pushed on Iraqi universities, listing them as among the acceptable activities for funding. In the "equity" section, the department describes the need to focus on equity for "transgender and queer" Iraqis. When reviewing grant applications, the State Department will evaluate prospective grantees based on how well they "incorporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility" into their staffing.
The Biden administration has a long history of sending taxpayer money overseas for questionable left-wing initiatives. In 2023 alone, the administration has funded projects that aim to help disabled people in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan become "climate leaders," develop a climate change podcast in India that inspires the country's "changemakers" to live "lifestyles with more sustainable choices," and teach more than two dozen Brazilian "trans activists" how to speak English.
The American University of Iraq Sulaimani, one of the larger American-style institutions of higher education in the country, has a number of left-wing trustees on its board. Among them are Eli Sugarman, who served on Facebook's content moderation oversight board and has criticized former president Donald Trump; David Skaggs, a former Democratic congressman with a liberal voting record; and Mina Al-Oraibi, a World Economic Forum-linked journalist.
The university, per its website, does not have a DEI office, but in 2017, it became the first university to offer a gender studies minor in Iraq. If approved for the State Department grant, the university could receive funding to establish a DEI office and expand its offerings on gender studies.