The Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) has released the proceedings of the fifth annual Sulaimani Forum “Beyond Daesh: Ending the Cycle of Conflicts, Toward Durable Solutions.” The publication includes an executive summary, detailed overviews of each panel, and selected quotes from participants.
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
The panel discussions are available on our YouTube channel.
View and download high resolution photos on our Flickr page.