The Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) is an independent research center based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Through multidisciplinary research, strategic partnerships, a fellowship program, and open dialogue events among experts and influential public leaders, IRIS examines the most complex issues facing the KRI, Iraq and the Middle East.

IRIS is housed at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), Iraq’s only independent, not-for-profit, American-style institution of higher learning. IRIS’s location offers academics, journalists and institutions access to areas of interest and a safe space in an otherwise unstable region, making it an attractive, unique meeting place.

The Institute’s main focus areas include but are not limited to: energy and the economy; IDP, refugee and minority issues; post-ISIS Iraq; and gender.

IRIS seeks to partner with institutes, think tanks and universities in four areas:

·       Fellowships
·       Fieldwork, research and publications
·       Events on pressing issues
·       Institutional partnerships


IRIS and AUIS seek to bring top academics, analysts and research practitioners in relevant fields with a focus on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Iraq, Turkey and Iran.

IRIS & AUIS can provide fellows with some or all of the following, depending on scope of their work and its fit with IRIS’s focus areas:

.       Housing
·       Access to university facilities
·       Facilitate the recruitment of student research assistants, translators, and/or fixers depending on needs
·       Technical, material and financial support

Depending on the length of their stay, fellows will:

.   Publish with IRIS or joint IRIS affiliation
.   Give lectures or workshops
.   Teach a course

Fieldwork, Research and Publications

IRIS can provide fieldwork, research and analysis on various relevant topics in the KRI and disputed territories for INGOs, policy groups, news outlets and humanitarian organizations interested in the area.

IRIS’s research capabilities are unique because of the team’s access to local communities, experience, education and language skills. Research teams are assembled on a project-by-project basis, with the makeup depending on the client’s geographic area of interest and the scope and subject matter in question.

Events on Pressing Issues

IRIS convenes dialogues and meetings in the form of panels, roundtables, lectures, and workshops throughout the year, all of which aim to engage leaders from various sectors in the KRI, Iraq and the international community.

The Institute seeks to partner with like-minded organizations to host meetings that examine the latest crises and developments unfolding both at local and regional levels.

Institutional Partnerships

IRIS currently has a number of projects and partnerships in place with leading institutions such as Stanford Law School (SLS), Free Press Unlimited, Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Chatham House, the University of Exeter, PAX, the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), and the Syria Research and Evaluation Organization (SREO). Partnerships can be open ended or project based, and all aim to build the Institute’s capacity and experience through mutually beneficial relationships. IRIS is eager to cooperate with compatible institutions, and aims to expand its network of partners as it moves forward.

Contact us to know more about our programs and potential avenues for collaboration.