Noor Matti

Noor was raised in Ankawa, Erbil until his family was forced to flee in 1992 due to deuterating situation in Iraq. He spent two years in Greece as a refugee, until his family was allowed to reach Detroit. A stranger in the US, Noor looked to music as a way to escape the confusing new land, as he rode the MP3 wave and began to create mix CDs for classmates. His passion for media grew throughout his high school years, as he began to learn about video media. While still in high school, Noor created his own company called Nortorious Productions, where he would provide sports highlight reel for schools and wedding services. As he began his studies in Wayne State University, he would manage multiple jobs at the same time in order to support himself.

After graduating from Wayne State in 2008, Noor began to ponder on what to do with his future. His father accompanied him to California and Florida in search for media-related opportunity. With the financial crisis at the time, nothing was available and it was at that time Noor began to think about making a trip to Iraq to see his native land for the first time in 16 years. By then, Iraq was not something familiar that he remembered. He arrived in Ankawa and took the only job for an English speaker available at that time – teaching English. He first taught elementary class, then eventually joining the American Lebanese Institute as a head lecturer.

In 2012, the media opportunity finally came, as Noor was hired by Babylon Media in Ankawa to establish the country’s first ever all-English radio station. Babylon FM quickly reached unexpected success, with Noor managing the station and hosting the shows. The radio station’s shows and events became a leading force in introducing the local community to western music and culture, in order to combat religious and ethnic extremism in the country. By 2018, Noor was tapped to also host a weekly international Arabic show on Babylon TV.

In 2014 June, the Islamic State ravaged through Mosul city, leading to tens of thousands displaced, including Noor’s grandmother and aunt. At the time, Noor was visiting family in Detroit, and in response to the catastrophe, he joined young activists to protest and march through downtown Detroit. The protest was then followed by Noor and like-minded individuals to establish the Shlama Foundation in August 2014. Back in Iraq, now the displaced families of Mosul were joined by the tends of thousands from Nineveh Plains as ISIS continued its terror campaign. This led to Babylon Media host 100 families in their premises, with Noor managing the food support throughout the day. Since 2014, Noor has held the operations manager position for the Shlama Foundation, where he has coordinated 200 projects to be implemented.

In 2018, Noor began to work with Chemonics’s USAID-OTI program to implement major projects in the Nineveh Plains that saw major rehabilitation in Bakhdeda, Bartella, Tel Keppe, Batnaya, Tesqopa and Alqosh. He married Maryam Maleh in 2019. He still enjoys music, jogging, and makes time for his Nintendo Switch.

The Shlama Foundation is based in Ankawa-Erbil, Iraq. It is registered in the KRG as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). It is registered in the United States as a federal nonprofit with 501(c)3 status. EIN No: 47-1942727

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