Guest Lecture on The Kurdistan Parliament in Iraq | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Guest Lecture on The Kurdistan Parliament in Iraq

Sunday, April 22, 2018 - 15:00 to 16:30
IRIS is pleased to host the Senior Advisor to the Speaker of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Dr. Sardar Aziz (bio below). 
Dr. Sardar will discuss an important and timely topic, "The Kurdistan Parliament in Iraq: The Ignored Solution." 
The Kurdistan parliament is weak and reasons for this abound. In addition to culture, political system or lack of it and strong political parties, there is a clear policy of deliberate weakening of the institution that can be named as a ‘parliamentary marginalization ’ by the political elites. This makes the parliament in Iraqi Kurdistan, like the rest of the Middle East, ‘at best reactive and at worst pliant tools of the executive.’ This peculiar weak status of parliament has negatively affected all other areas of governing. This talk attempts to address this issue, and argues that parliament is essential for a functioning government and democracy. 

As scholars have argued “the evidence shows that the presence of a powerful legislature is an unmixed blessing for democratization.” Accordingly, its absence will weaken democracy and affect the democratization process. In this policy paper, I will argue that the parliament and a the parliamentary system constitute both the institution and the system to overcome the political, social, institutional and economic crises currently facing Iraqi Kurdistan.  

Dr. Sardar's bio: 

For the last four years, Dr. Sardar Aziz has worked as a senior adviser to the Speaker of the Kurdistan regional parliament in Iraq. The position, in addition to open access to regional politics and actors, granted him access to wider diplomatic community both Americans and Europeans. He worked extensively with a number of European countries: Germany, Sweden, and European External Action Service ‑ EEAS and various blocks in the EU parliament. Furthermore, the position provides him with access and insights to the most complicated and contentious issues in the region; social, political, economic and identities. Through his work with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) from Sweden and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Germany he gained the expertise on how to translate a complex situation into coherent accessible briefings and policy papers. 
In addition to excellent English, he has near-native Arabic and his mother tongue is Kurdish.  This background allows him to access a wide range of the Middle Eastern countries; this was the reason behind his passion of doing a PhD in UCC in 2011, after BSC in Government, on States in the Arab Middle East. In the doctoral thesis, he re-conceptualized the current states in the region as Failed Modern State, prior to the Arab spring. He has a good grasp of Persian and Turkey is one of his area of expertise as he lived and worked with ORSAM think tank and wrote a book on Turkey’s new role in the Middle East.  

Sardar Aziz’s areas of expertise are political economy, civil-military relationship, governing and also interested in cultural issues. In addition to teaching and consulting for companies, think-tanks and individuals; he has conducted scholarly and policy works in these areas. He has published with Palgrave and Routledge and also in Kurdish. Contributed to various outlets: Atlantic Council, Washington Institute for Near East Study, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and the Middle East Research Institute. Sardar Aziz was born in Iraqi Kurdistan and  became Irish citizen a decade ago.