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Kurdistan

AUIS Invites High School Principals

  AUIS was excited to host several high school principals for a lunch and discussion in April. The lunch discussion was hosted by AUIS President Bruce Walker Ferguson, and attended by senior faculty members and Chairs of academic departments to exchange ideas and deepen the communication and relationship between AUIS and private and local high schools. AUIS wants to increase its awareness of the impact of the recent economic crisis has had on local high schools, and learn more about how the university could support high schools in their quest to educate Kurdistan’s next generation.

Renewed Challenges for the Middle East

Ahmed Ali, senior fellow at the American University's Institute of Regional and International Studies reviews the immense challenges facing Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East as we gear up for hosting the fourth annual Sulaimani Forum on March 16-17, 2016. The annual Forum aims to convene prominent leaders, intellectuals and practitioners to the cultural hub of Sulaimani, Iraq to engage in meaningful dialogue and tackle the most complex issues facing the region.   "One hundred years after the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, there are serious questions about the current political structure of the Middle East. There are challenges of figuring out identities and governance systems. The old guard in Egypt, Yemen, and Tunisia has changed. The new leaders are yet to succeed in setting an agreeable collective direction for their countries. Syria is staring into the abyss of its status as a nation-state. It has become a base for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and it witnesses ongoing violence. This new regional order places Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan at a crossroads that is familiar yet is uncharted territory. Mosul is still under ISIS control, both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and federal Iraq are in dire financial shape, and the distrust among all communities is at a peak. With these ongoing developments, the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) is holding its fourth Sulaimani Forum in March of this year. This year’s Forum takes on extra significance given the 100 year anniversary of Sykes-Picot and it will seek to cover the myriad of national and regional challenges..." Read full article.       More about the upcoming Sulaimani Forum. 

Imagining Future in Iraqi Kurdistan

Imagining Future in Iraqi Kurdistan Documentary Film as a Visual Approach in times of Crisis While the Kurdish Regional Government has introduced new economic and political potential in the past decade, the current landscape has led to new concerns regarding national safety, democratic practices, and the future promise of Kurdish independence. How do people imagine, renegotiate and plan their future within these changing landscapes of “crisis” in Iraqi Kurdistan? Lana Askari is a PhD student in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester and a visiting researcher at AUIS this year. Together with the screening of her short documentary film “Haraka Baraka: Movement is a Blessing” on Kurdish return migration, in this guest lecture she will talk about her current research, which uses documentary filmmaking in exploring how people imagine, renegotiate and plan their future in Iraqi Kurdistan. An AUIS podcast is now available for this talk. 

Symposium on the Origins of Kurdish Civilization

  In the last five years there have been a tremendous amount of new discoveries relating to the earliest history of the Kurdish highlands. In a symposium organized by the AUIS Center of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHE) on October 28, 2015, local and international guest speakers discussed some of these latest discoveries. The symposium brought together scholars from the US, Portugal, Belgium and the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The panel included: Dr. Tobin Hartnell, director of AUIS Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Center Dr. Hashim Hama Abdullah, director of Sulaimani Museum Dr. Kozad Ahmed, director of Archaeology at University of Sulaimani Steve Renette, AUIS Archaeology/CACHE Fellow, University of Pennsylvania André Tomé, Universidade di Coimbra Dr.Kozad opened the symposium with a presentation on the historical evidence of the earliest states in the region of Kurdistan. You can listen to his talk in the AUIS podcast below.  The highlight of the discussion was a talk on the latest discovery of the Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh by Dr. Hama. The tablet has been acquired by the Sulaimani Museum and is on display there. André Tomé talked about the exciting findings from their excavation at the historical site of Kani Shaei near Sulaimani. He explained that the discoveries are related to different periods, including Ubaid, Uruk, early Bronze Age, Hellenistic period, and the Islamic period. Steve Renette then discussed some of the pottery and grave findings from the excavation site. The Portuguese team hope to continue their excavation project next year. You can find out out more about the Kani Shaei Archaeological Project on their website.  Podcasts of talks by all speakers will be posted here soon. Contributed by Shatoo Diyar Bakir - Communications student volunteer 

Threat Of ISIS In Iraq

On July 30th, AUIS students from various cities in Iraq and Kurdistan region joined a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., via video to discuss the impact of the ISIS threat to Iraq. The event was co-hosted by Stimson Center and the Institute of Regional and International Studies at AUIS. Watch discussion here.

Development, not just Daesh, poses a threat to Kurdish history

Alexander Whitcomb's latest article for Rudaw highlights the dangers to Iraq's and Kurdistan region's cultural heritage from extremist forces as well as unplanned and rapid development over heritage sites, as discussed by experts at the Iraq Cultural Heritage Symposium, hosted by the AUIS Social Sciences Department and the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS). 

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