Jalal Talabani

Secretary-General

Mam Jalal is the son of Sheik Hisamadeen of Sheik Nuri, the son of Sheik Ghafour. He was born in Kalkan village at the foot of Kosrat Mountain, which overlooks Dukan Lake. He spent the years of his childhood in that village, where he completed elementary school. Later, his father became the head of Talabani Shrine, or Takiya, in Koya.

Ever since childhood, Mam Jalal was ahead of his friends in attending funerals and other social events, which are signs of being a true leader. Every morning when the students lined up in the school yard, Mam Jalal was chosen by his teachers to perform the national anthem and read national poems. Moreover, he actively took part in school activities such as performing in the theatre and reading articles. 
Since then, the idea of nationalism in Mam Jalal has blossomed.

In 1945, when Mam Jalal was only 13, he read a very enthusiastic statement during a popular event arranged in Koya amid the Nawroz Festival, an event which was banned then by consecutive Iraqi regimes. His teachers and the participants of the event were highly impressed by this reading.
In 1946, upon the recommendation of one of his teachers, he founded a secret learning association, which was called the “Reading Development Association".
He was elected as the chief of the association, which encouraged students to keep reading other things besides their school lessons.
Later this year after the establishment of the Party Democratic Kurd on August 16, he was influenced by that party and began his political activities among the students. He also wrote articles under an anonymous name "Agir" for Rizgari, a newspaper issued secretly by the party.
In 1947, he became a member of that party and successfully performed his political activities. 
In 1948, after completing elementary school, he attended secondary school in Koya town. That year was known as the "Year of Uprising" as the Iraqi people repudiated the Portsmouth Treaty and overthrew Salih Jabir's government and replaced it with a new government led by Muhammad Sadir.
During that period, freedoms were brought about and a comprehensive election was held to elect representatives of the students across Iraq. Mam Jalal was elected to represent the students of Koya town and attended for the first time the Iraqi students‌ congress held at Sabah Square, Baghdad, in 1948.

During the congress, Mam Jalal attended a session in which the well-known Iraqi poet Muhammad Mahdi al-Jawaheri read his well-known poem “Martyr‌s Day”, a poem which was written for his late brother and other martyrs of the Uprising. That was a historic moment in the life of Mam Jalal and he has been influenced by that great Iraqi poet since. Later, he began to establish a sincere friendship with him. 
In 1949, Mam Jalal was promoted to be the chief of Koya Area of Party Democratic Kurd.
In February 1951, he was elected to be a member of the PDK‌s central committee during the second congress of the party. However, to keep unity in the party, he did not take that position and gave it to one of his comrades who had been recently released from prison. 
In 1951, he was arrested along with a number of his friends and sent to Mosul, where he kept conducting his political activities. Then, he went to Kirkuk to complete his education and re-establish the political organs of the party and there became the chief of the Kirkuk political organizations.
In 1952, he attended the college of law in Baghdad.When the organizations of the party fell apart, he managed to re-align them.

In January 1953, he took part in the third congress of the PDK during which he was elected a member of the PDK central committee. Later, upon his new assignment, he supervised the first congress of the Kurdistan Students Union, a student organization which is affiliated with the PDK. During the congress, he was elected the Secretary General of the Union. He was also one of the founders of the Kurdistan Youth Union. 
In 1954, he was elected a member of the PDK political bureau. 
He paid a visit to a number of countries such as the former Soviet Union and China.
In 1957, he paid visits to Moscow and Syria, where he took the opportunity to meet Syrian Kurds. After his return, he became the chief of Xabati Kurdistan which was secretly formed in Sulaimani.
During the first day after victory in the July 14, 1958 Revolution, he supervised the popular uprisings in Sulaimani. Later he went back to Baghdad, where he contributed to the issuance of Rizgari magazine.

In 1959, he was elected a member of the PDK central committee and again contributed to the publication of the Xabat newspaper, which was published in Arabic, where he published his articles under an anonymous name, Perot.

In 1960, he was assigned to be the chief of the Sulaimani Branch of the PDK and he opened a capacity building training center for members of the party within Sulaimani.

Later, he was assigned to become editor-in-chief of a Kurdistan newspaper after the previous Kurdish paper was shut down by Iraqi authorities. During this assignment, he wrote an article in support of the late Barzani and in protest over the brutal acts of the former Iraqi prime minister Abdul-Karem Qassim who accused Barzani of some alleged crimes. As a result, the Iraqi authorities issued an arrest warrant for him and thus he went back to Sulaimani.
In 1961, when the revolution was reignited, he set up the first military base in Chami Rezan and he was first assigned as commander of the Sulaimani Branch of Peshmarge forces. Later he was assigned as general commander of the Kurdistan Peshmarga forces.

During that revolution, he outlined many military plans and conducted ambushes, leading to the liberation of many parts of the outskirts of Sulaimani.
After the notorious February Coup in 1963, Mam Jalal was assigned as leader of the Kurdish delegation to Baghdad to hold negotiations with the Iraqi authorities over the rights of the Kurdish people in Iraq. Later, he visited Egypt and Algeria to hold meetings with the top senior officials of both countries.

He further expanded his travels into Europe, where he would introduce the question of the Kurdish people and gather support from European countries for the Kurdish revolution.
In 1964, he went back to Kurdistan and resumed commanding Rizgari Peshmarge Forces.

In 1967, he took part in the Arab socialists‌ forum held in Algeria, in which he issued a well-informed statement on the status of the Kurdish people, the legitimate rights of the Kurdish people and the road to friendly relations between Kurds and Arabs.

In 1970, he played a vital role in re-uniting the two wings of the PDK political bureau, which had fallen apart.

In 1972, he paid a visit to a number of countries such as Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. After the Algiers Agreement between Iraq and Iran in 1975, Mam Jalal had to stay in those countries.

On June 6th, 1975, he and some of his friends co-founded the PUK in Damascus, Syria, which was later officially announced on June, 1st, 1976, and he was assigned as the Secretary General.

As many political observers have noted, Mam Jalal was a catalyst for the unification of all Iraqi opposition groups and he provided support for these groups before the collapse of Iraqi Baath regime.

After the liberation of Iraq, he was elected a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, and in November 2003, he took over the leadership of the Council, playing a vital role in the governing of Iraq in general.

On April 6th, 2005, the Iraqi Parliament chose Mam Jalal to be the first elected president after the fall of Saddam Hussein. He received 227 votes out of 248.

In 2010, he was re-elected for a second term as Iraqi president.

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