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Iraq

A new political and economic settlement for Iraq: Barham Salih/Financial Times

"...dialogue among Iraqis will not succeed without the support of regional powers — Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey — and, most importantly, the US and other global actors including Russia and the EU, who share an interest in eradicating the scourges of terrorism and extremism." Read Dr. Barham Salih's perspective on reforming and resettling Iraq's political and economic crisis - a template that he thinks can go a long way in resolving the problems of the Middle East - for the Financial Times. 

AUIS and Ifpo Host Conference on Living Heritage in the Middle East

The French Institute in the Near East (Ifpo) in collaboration with the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) Department of Social Sciences organized their first conference in the Kurdistan region of Iraq on ‘Conflict and Living Heritage’ with the support of the French Embassy in Baghdad and the Institute français in Paris. The Conference was held at AUIS over the course of two days. The organizing committee included Dr. Geraldine Chaterland of Ifpo-Amman, Dr. Boris James, head of Ifpo-Erbil, Dr. Elizabeth Campbell, assistant professor at AUIS, and Dr. Hassan Nadhem, the UNESCO Chair for the Development of Interreligious Dialogue Studies in the Islamic World at the University of Kufa. View photo gallery of the conference by clicking on image below. The Conference brought together scholars, researchers, and doctoral candidates in the fields of social anthropology and history, intellectual and interreligious studies, archeology and philosophy, art history and architecture, and ethnomusicology from across the Middle East and Western world. Conference participants were asked to consider the interrelatedness of cultural heritage and identity with armed conflict and forced displacement. Popular art, traditions, religious beliefs and rituals, language and oral expression together with architecture are all forms of heritage that suffer in these on-going wars. Speakers answered broad questions about how living heritage, both tangible and intangible, and collective identities are affected by war and under new political authorities. More particularly, they examined and conceptualized the practices and discourses of local actors to highlight the nexus between cultural heritage, identity, armed conflicts, and population displacement in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. The main aim of the conference was to shed light on the importance of living heritage. Defined as that which gives a population a sense of collective identity, living heritage in the Middle East, especially in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, has been targeted as a result of the wars currently waged in these countries. Moreover, while most international organizations, governments, and heritage professionals have concentrated their efforts and attention on the damage and destruction of archeological sites and artifacts, this conference aimed at focusing attention on the aspects of living heritage which are being neglected. Panel discussions touched on heritage as a practice of resistance in times of crisis and conflict; on the destruction of heritage as a matrix for identity construction; on the initiatives being taken to safeguard intangible heritage; the roles heritage, identity and memory play in exile; on how built heritage can become contested space; and lastly, on perspectives on the conservation of tangible heritage. View or download the conference program  View event page   Listen to selected talks by participants on our podcast playlist below. 

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. 

A Briefing with IRIS Fellow Ahmed Ali

AUIS Institute of Regional and International Studies Senior Fellow, Ahmed Ali, talks to Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) about the flooding in Baghdad, the ongoing fight against ISIS, new challenges for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s reforms, the political crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan, and other key developments. Listen to the interactive talk in the Enabling Peace podcast below.   Follow Ahmed Ali on Twitter @IraqShamel.  Photo credit: EPIC  

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 

Iraqi Public Opinion and US

Thursday, November 19, 2015. 3:00 PM.   Iraqi Public Opinion and US: Strategic Hopes and Immediate Misunderstandings   Dr. Azhar al-Garbawi works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research center officially affiliated with the University of Baghdad. She also teaches at the university’s College of Law and Politics. She has done papers and presentations on regional and international affairs and appeared on TV as a guest analyst to discuss such affairs. Her guest lecture will focus on how the Iraqi public opinion about the U.S. has been shaped, post-2003, shedding light on the different forces that have influenced the shaping process. In the absence of a strategic, in-depth understanding of U.S. politics and aims in Iraq, the Iraqi public opinion tended to form around reactions to tactical US moves and policies in Iraq. This gap between strategic understanding and tactical behavior accounts for much of the misunderstanding about, and hostility towards the U.S. in Iraq.   View event photos: http://auis.edu.krd/focus/guest-lecture-iraqi-public-opinion-about-us   See vent

Female Journalists in Iraq: Challenges and Hopes

Zahraa Hameed Jassim Al Asadi is an award-wining Iraqi female journalist. ٍShe is the winner of the Open Eye Prize for journalism in 2012. She has written many quality reports that won her prizes and has attended several media conferences in the Middle East.  Currently she works a senior correspondent at Al-Mada News Agency, based in Baghdad.    Zahraa will be sharing her experience as a female journalist with the students of AUIS, especially the difficulties encountered by female journalists in Iraq. Mentioning the challenges, she will also discuss the progress female journalists have made in Iraq so far.

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.

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