American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) hosted the first class of the Leadership Academy for Development-Iraq (LAD-IQ) training program from July 1-6. The program is a partnership with Dr. Francis Fukuyama’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Thirty Iraqi participants -- mid- and high-level government officials, business and civil society sector leaders from all over the country -- were selected through a competitive application process. The instructors -- Associate Professor of the Practice, Mary E. Hilderbrand, from the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, and economist, social entrepreneur and policy innovator, Elena Panaritis -- are leading experts in their fields with decades of experience conducting such trainings. The four-day intensive program focused on addressing how government can encourage and enable the private sector to play a larger, more constructive role as a force for economic growth and development. It provided participants with an analytical framework to build these leadership abilities and operate effectively under adverse conditions. Major themes additionally covered during the training were: 1) the state and institutions as catalysts for private sector development and economic growth, 2) reforms to strengthen the quality of government, including anti-corruption initiatives and decentralization, 3) strategies for addressing informality, and 4) public-private partnerships in infrastructure. The last day of the training featured group presentations for which the participants were asked to prepare since the beginning of the training with their respective groups. In short, the groups were required to create powerpoint presentations that addressed an issue in their community and approached that issue using the analytical framework learned during the training. Some major issues addressed by participants in their presentations included plastic waste management in Babil, the unemployment rate among university graduates across Iraq, and women’s rights in the job market. Participants were awarded with certificates for their participation in the training.