Ibrahim Amin Baldar (Kurdish: Íbrahím Emín Balldar, ئیبراهیم ئهمین باڵدار) was born in 1920 in the city of Sulaimaniya/Silémaní, the capital of native Baban province in Kurdistan. He is the legendary author to the first official Kurdish textbook “Elfubéy Niwé” published in 1951.
Balldar finished his primary and secondary school in his hometown of Silémaní. He continued his education at the rural teachers school of Rustamiyya/Rostamia, receiving his diploma in 1940. He began his professional career as a teacher in the villages around Silémaní. Balldar taught in district villages in Hawraman, Surdash, Péjhdar, Soran as well as Sharízor. This imparted to young Balldar the practical experience with teaching in a rural setting with a very low literacy tradition.
Balldar was a passionate schoolteacher who was eager to go the extra distance to be more productive. He was only 31 years of age, when the Iraqi ministry of Education accepted the reformed Kurdo-Arabic writing system for Kurdish language. Balldar published the first standard Kurdish textbook Elfubéy Niwé (“The New Alphabet”) for primary schools in 1951. This textbook has been upgraded and republished over 36 times. This book is a turning point in Kurdish history of education. Many great Kurdish scholars of have ever since began their elementary school education with this same textbook.
His ambitions for higher education led him to enter the Trade and Economy School in Baghdad in the middle of 1950s where he received his Bachelor degree. In early 1960s he was accepted to study in a masters program at the San Francisco State Teachers College. After his study in the USA he returned to his hometown and started work as lecturer at the Department of Literature of the newly-established University of Silémaní in 1968.
The University of Silémaní was transferred to Arbil/Hewlér and renamed The University of Salahaddin in 1981. Balldar continued his career as lecturer in that university until late 1980s. Balldar then moved to Baghdad and continued his career at the Al-Mustansiriya University.
Balldar died on Friday the 10th of July 1998 in his home in Baghdad. His ashes were buried in Gardi Saywan cemetery in Silémaní.
Fig 1: The reformed Arabic alphabet for Middle Kurdish in Balldar’s Textbook “Elfubéy Niwé” in 1951
Fig 2: The revised alphabet in Balldar’s Textbook “Elfubéy Niwé” in 1960 edition
- I.A. Balldar, Elfubéy Niwé (New Alphabet), Ed 1, Najah Press, Baghdad, 1951
- I.A. Balldar, Elfubéy bo gewran (Alphabet for Adult), Ed 1, Baghdad, 1955
- I.A. Balldar, Elfubêy Niwé (New Alphabet), Ed 2, Furat Press, Baghdad, 1960
- I.A. Balldar, Al-Libinye Al-medresye Al-medaris Al-Ibtdayiye (الابنیه المدرسیه للمدارس الابتدائیه), Ed 1, Baghdad, 1965
- I.A. Balldar, Mashákil al-kutub al-dirásíyya al-Kurdíyya (Problems of Kurdish textbooks), Journal of Kurdish Academy, Vol. 14, 1986, pp. 232-247
- I.A. Balldar, Elfubéy Niwé, Ed 34, Apec Förlag AB Press, Sweden, 1999 , (KAL’s note: This edition of the book has been convreted into Yekgirtú Alphabet by Dr D. Roshani)
This short biography was prepared by Dr Dilan M R Roshani