Our Mission

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The Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) is a center for policy research and training based in Iraq at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). The Institute’s researchers focus on the most complex challenges facing Iraq and the wider Middle East region, including climate change and environmental degradation, displacement, public health, economic development, reconstruction, and governance. IRIS convenes events throughout the year, including the annual Sulaimani Forum, to disseminate research findings and to promote dialogue among a broad range of stakeholders. 

Importantly, IRIS believes that the best research must always go hand in hand with advocacy and action. To that end, the Institute uses its research insights to build more effective political and civil society organizations. On an annual basis, IRIS recruits, trains and equips young leaders from across the country through programs such as the Iraq Leadership Fellowship (ILF).

IRIS partners with donor agencies, universities and foundations across the world who share the Institute’s belief that policymaking should be grounded in rigorous research and local expertise. International research partners include Chatham House, the Global Public Policy Institute, the Clingendael Institute, and the London School of Economics Middle East Centre. Partners in the aid and humanitarian sector have included the European Union Delegation in Iraq, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.

IRIS is part of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, which is registered/accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (Kurdistan Regional Government) and by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (Government of the Republic of Iraq).