Executive Director for External Relations and Policy
November 12, 2017 (Sulaimani, KRG-Iraq): The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) announced today the appointment of Christine van den Toorn as Executive Director, External Relations and Policy. This new position reflects the University’s commitment to support current and future students by developing new and sustainable academic and research partnerships and programs, both locally and internationally.
In her new position, Christine M. van den Toorn will lead efforts to build and expand the University's relationships to generate support among private sector stakeholders, governmental organizations and policymakers in the Middle East and United States. She will serve as the primary University liaison to the U.S. Government. She will continue in her role as Director, Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS), where she oversees the annual Sulaimani Forum, one of the premier events for Iraq and Middle East policy debates.
Ms. van den Toorn has worked at AUIS for the past eight years, first as a faculty member and then as Director of IRIS. She speaks Arabic, and has published in Foreign Policy, Carnegie’s Sada, War on the Rocks, Iraq Oil Report, Inside Iraqi Politics, Daily Beast and Niqash. Ms. van den Toorn holds an M.A. degree in History (Middle East) from the University of Virginia and a B.A. degree in History from Washington and Lee University. Previously she served in the United States Peace Corps in Morocco.
AUIS is the first non-government, not-for-profit, American-style institution of higher education in Iraq. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, it is also the first non-government university in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to be accredited by both the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government. AUIS offers the only English as a Second Language (ESL) program in Iraq that is accredited in the United States. The University welcomes students, 35% of whom are women, from Iraq’s diverse communities, including Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Yazidis and Christians as well as Syrian refugees. Their critical thinking skills, fluency in English, and bilingual capabilities provide AUIS graduates with excellent employment prospects in both the private and public sectors.
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