Wednesday 15, 2017 - The Consul General of the Netherlands to Erbil, Janet Alberda, visited the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) for an exclusive roundtable discussion with students. The event served as an open debate for students to ask questions and talk freely about the Netherlands’ and the European Union’s missions in Iraq. The discussions were mainly centered on topics like migration, politics, demining, economic reform and education. Consul General Alberda, also asked students questions about their future plans in an attempt to understand the youth’s points of view on the democratic system, migration, freedom of speech, and transparency in Iraq and its Kurdistan Region. The talk proved very fruitful and engaging, and AUIS hopes to hold similar discussions in the future.
Mark DeWeaver (IRIS Fellow) will host a roundtable on economic reforms for KRG, based on his research, for public/private sector officials. Some faculty & students may also be invited. (closed event)
They met with members of the AUIS staff and student body and gathered in a meeting where the Acting President Esther E. Mulnix spoke to them about the university and answered their questions. They asked about the different academic programs offered at AUIS, the student body and funding opportunities available to them, as well as the research and initiatives faculty members were engaged in, among others. The UK delegation had the opportunity to speak to the students and ask them about their experiences, not only in the context of the university, but also more broadly as students living in the KRG. This meeting between the AUIS community members and the UK delegation served as an introduction and an occasion to open dialogue between the two parties.
“We are very delighted to be here today,” said Sheikh Fuad al-Hentawi, an Arab from the Kurdish Shorja neighborhood and Council of Notables chairman. “We feel here that we are in the tent of peace,” he continued in his opening remarks, “we are calling for peace and believe that people who call for peace hold the key for opening the good and closing the bad” in society. The Council of Notables is a diverse group of prominent and influential tribal, religious and community leaders who address a variety of disputes in Kirkuk that, without their intervention, could lead to violence. The Council was founded in 2006 with the help of the Civil Society Organization of Iraq, which was represented in the audience among the seventy AUI-S students and faculty. Mr. Fahmi Qasim Saied, a prominent Kirkuki lawyer from the Turkmen ethnicity and a founder of the Council of Notables, called on AUI-S students to take advantage of their unique situation as peacemakers. “I am seeing in you myself,” he said, “I believe that your generation can apply democracy in this country.” He added that the visit and dialogue between students and the Council was unique in Iraqi universities: “You see that now there are people from different [ethnic] groups, tribal sheikhs, lawyers, students and members of civil society organizations. These kinds of things never happened when I was in school. This is very much a great development in Iraq.” The panel discussion was part of a two-week workshop on Conflict Resolution sponsored by the Center for Peace and Security Studies in partnership with Mr. Thomas Hill of New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.