Although the United States is winding down its military operations in Iraq, it is ramping up its bilateral engagement in less dangerous and more convivial pursuits. One example was on display last Sunday (Oct. 17) when a group of Harvard military veterans participated in a 500-meter race with the Iraqi national rowing team on the Charles River, a week before the Iraqis compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta.

The U.S. military veterans are students at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, all of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Iraqi rowers were brought to the United States by a large group of supporters including Community Rowing, Inc., the largest nonprofit rowing organization in the world, and have been involved in rigorous daily training from the Riverside Boat Club in Cambridge.