Guest Lecture: State-building and Nationalism with Dr. Faleh Jabbar

The Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) hosted a lecture and discussion with Dr. Faleh Jabbar on "State-building and Nationalism in the Middle East," with particular reference to the recent events here in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.  Dr. Jabbar is one of the leading experts on Iraq, Kurds, Nationalism and has written extensively on these topics. His books include:  The Kurds: Nationalism and Politics The Shi'ite Movement in Iraq  Tribes and Power: Nationalism and Ethnicity in the Middle East Ayatollahs, Sufis and Ideologues A podcast of this talk is now available. Listen on SoundCloud or by clicking on link below:

U.S. & Turkish Foreign Policy, Post-ISIS Iraq & the KRG Referendum on Independence

On September 12, 2017, the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) hosted a guest lecture on foreign policy perspectives of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) referendum for independence. Speakers included Dr. Denise Natali, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University (NDU), Dr. Akeel Abbas, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at AUIS, and Dr. Barin Kayaoglu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at AUIS. Read the full discussion on the IRIS website.  A podcast of this discussion will be available soon on the AUIS Soundcloud channel. 

IRIS Publishes Stakeholder Report on War, Health & Refugees in Iraq

  On April 27, 2017, the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) hosted a roundtable entitled “War, Health, and Refugees in Iraq,” at AUIS, in partnership with the SEED Foundation and Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Anthropology. IRIS Research Fellow James ‘Mac’ Skelton, who is currently completing a PhD in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, chaired the discussion. The meeting brought together directors of public hospitals, humanitarian officials, and government actors to discuss the immediate and long-term realities of healthcare for the displaced and refugee populations. The importance of including both humanitarian organizations and public hospitals in the meeting arises from the fact that the vast majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) reside outside of refugee camps administered by NGOs and thus rely on local hospitals for healthcare needs. This report highlights key takeaways from the discussion and puts forth policy recommendations to improve mobility and access, as well as to address budget cuts and pharmaceutical shortages. Click here to read more, and download the full report in English, with executive summary in Arabic and/or Kurdish language.  About IRIS The Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) is an independent policy research institute 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. 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. Follow IRIS on  and .

Kurdish Geopolitical Futures, Russia and US Middle Eastern Ambitions: What Fortunes? What Fate?

  IRIS is happy to invite you to attend a guest lecture by Dr. Kevin DeJesus​ (Johnson and Wales University​)​ on Kurdish Geopolitical Futures, Russia and US Middle Eastern Ambitions: What Fortunes? What Fate?    The lecture will take place in A-F2: Trustees Boardroom from 11:30​ ​am until 12:30​ ​pm on Monday, May 22​, 2017. A poster with more information is attached.   Professor DeJesus’s scholarly work focuses on political violence, violently divided societies, global impacts of political violence on individuals and families in non-western contexts, geopolitics and international relations, the politics of refugees and displacement, terrorism, and US/Russian policy in the Middle East. We truly hope to see you there. It will be great opportunity to learn and discuss this discourse​ in a scholarly setting.   If you'd like to RSVP, please send an email to by Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 06:30 pm.​  

Rethinking Borders: The Aftermath of the Syrian Conflict

Dr. Filippo Dionigi, a fellow at the Middle East Center, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), will be giving a lecture to AUIS students on the aftermath of the Syrian conflict. This lecture will explore one the most extensive displacement crises the region has experienced in the aftermath of the Syrian conflict. It will primarily underline the way dynamics linking displacement from Syria to the neighboring countries and the nature of borders and statehood in the region.   

War, Health, and Refugees: A Panel for AUIS Students

Ever considered working in a humanitarian organization or NGO? Do you want to understand how some of the most complex emergencies are met? Have you wondered about how refugees obtain basic needs, especially healthcare? If so, this panel may be of interest to you. This panel will include leaders of MSF, UNHCR, and more. Come and ask them questions about how they do their work.  Contact: Mac Skelton, IRIS Fellow |  

The Fifth Annual Sulaimani Forum Proceedings Published

The Forum, hosted on March 8-9, 2017, allowed for a candid and free exchange of ideas on issues of critical importance for the future of Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider region through several panel debates as well as one-to-one conversations with distinguished speakers. Over 500 guests from Iraq and all over the world convened on the AUIS campus to participate in these discussions on a wide range of topics from the unprecedented human cost of the ongoing war against Da’esh to the prospects of sustainable reform in Iraq’s governance structure. “It is a unique forum in this region with this rich, honest dialogue,”                                                              Tamara Cofman Wittes, Brookings Institution The Forum was attended by national and regional political leaders as well as current and former ministers, diplomats, and senior officials from the European Union, United States and the Middle East. Guests and participants also included representatives from the world of academia and research, led by Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University. Correspondents from CNN, BBC, Politico, Economist, New Yorker, NPR, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Al-Monitor, Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as major Iraqi and Kurdish outlets also attended. Highlights of the Forum included a keynote address and exclusive interview with H.E. Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq; a conversation on Iraq’s prospects for governance reform with Professor Francis Fukuyama, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University and Dr. Barham Salih, founder of AUIS and member of the University’s Board of Trustees; and an update on the Mosul operation with the Head of Counter Terrorism Services of the Iraqi Security Forces, General Talib Shaghati. "It is probably the foremost event like this in the entire region. It's really become the Davos of the Middle East"                                                                                                                             Kenneth Pollack, Brookings Institution  The action surrounding the Forum was not confined to the event venue. A lively discussion of the conference took place on Twitter, as panelists, guests, and students took to the social media, sending more than 3,000 tweets with the hashtag #SuliForum causing the event to trend in Iraq, reaching around 6 million people on Twitter, and generating 65 million potential impressions. "It strikes me as a very unique event [...] It's kind of the gold standard where you get to see a place which is many ways totally different than the conventional wisdom back in Washington."                                                                                        Sussan Glasser, Politico Conference proceedings are available online and in print. Please email to request a print copy. The online version can be downloaded on this link. The panel discussions are available on our YouTube channel. View and download high resolution photos on our Flickr page.


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