Details

When

October 15, 2019
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Where

Middle East Institute
1763 N Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

Registration

Thank you for your interest. Registration is now closed.

For More Information

Programs Department
programs@mei.edu
202-785-1141 ext. 202

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host its second Iraq Conference, which will bring together leading policy voices to explore the key challenges and opportunities confronting current and future generations in Iraq. Four panels and two keynotes will explore the ways in which Iraqis, the United States, and the international community must adapt to the political, economic, and social changes facing Iraq.

Agenda:

10:00-11:30AM | Panel I: Regional Cooperation: Operationalizing the Baghdad Declaration

The opening panel will examine opportunities for growth in regional cooperation. Specifically, panelists will propose economic, security, and trade policies which encourage bilateral and multilateral solutions to systemic regional issues.

Joey Hood
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Randa Slim
Director of Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program, MEI
H.E. Fareed Yasseen
Ambassador to the United States, Republic of Iraq
Ross Harrison, moderator
Senior Fellow, MEI

11:30AM-1:00PM | Panel II: Rebuilding Iraq's Social Fabric: A Way Forward for IDPs and Communities Liberated from ISIS

This panel will address the urgent humanitarian concerns, economic desperation, and legal limbo facing internally displaced persons in Iraq, and propose policy solutions regarding livelihoods, safe resettlement, and minority rights protections. Panelists will also explore the legal and social challenges Iraq is facing in dealing with the aftermath of the war against ISIS.

Basma Alloush
Policy and Advocacy Officer, Norwegian Refugee Council
Amb. (ret.) Rend Al Rahim Francke
President, Iraq Foundation
Rasha Al Aqeedi
Managing Editor, Irfaa Sawtak
Hallam Ferguson
Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for the Middle East, USAID
Joyce Karam, moderator
Washington Correspondent, The National UAE

1:00-1:30PM | Lunch

1:30-2:45PM | Panel III: Energy, Water, and Climate Change

This panel will explore the ways in which the water crisis and the long term effects of climate change have impacted Iraq. Panelists will explore policy solutions to these challenges and prospects for energy innovation. 

Omar Al Nidawi
Program manager, Enabling Peace in Iraq Center
Abbas Kadhim
Director of Iraq Initiative, Atlantic Council
Bilal Wahab
Nathan and Esther K. Wagner fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Randa Slim, moderator
Director, Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program, MEI

2:45-4:00PM | Panel IV: Forecasting Local Provincial Elections and the Popular Mobilization Forces

The closing panel will focus on the upcoming local provincial elections and the importance of political pluralism and participation of Iraqis. The panelists will examine the influence of the PMF and will propose policy solutions to Iraq’s political system and institutional crisis.

Naufel Al Hassan
Former Chief of Staff, Prime Minister’s Office, Republic of Iraq
Shahla Al Kli
Principal Development Specialist, DAI 
Michael Fleet (via skype)
Senior researcher, Institute on Governance
Hafsa Halawa
Independent Consultant and Political Analyst
Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein, moderator
Senior Vice President, MEI

4:00pm | Close

 

Co-sponsor:

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Speaker Biographies:

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Managing Editor, Irfaa Sawtak
Rasha Al Aqeedi, formerly a 2018-2019 Robert A. Fox Fellow in FPRI’s Middle East Program, is Managing Editor of Irfaa Sawtak (Raise Your Voice) and a researcher and analyst of contemporary Iraqi politics and political Islam. She is also a non-resident fellow of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. Previously, Rasha was a researcher at the Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center in Dubai, and an analyst at Inside Iraqi Politics. Her work on Mosul and Sunni politics is frequently cited by The New York Times, Washington PostAP and Buzzfeed. Rasha received an M.A. in Translation, a B.A. in Translation, and a B.A. in Computer Engineering from Mosul University.

Basma Alloush
Advocacy and Communications Officer, Norwegian Refugee Council
Basma Alloush is the policy and advocacy advisor at NRC USA covering the Middle East, Afghanistan, and West Africa. Additionally, Alloush is a Syrian researcher looking at conflict-related economic activities and human security issues in Syria and across the region. Alloush obtained her Master's degree at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where she focused on Transitional Justice, Human Security, and Conflict Resolution. Alloush completed her thesis project on the role of diaspora in transitional justice processes with a particular focus on the Syrian and Liberian cases.

Ambassador (ret.) Gerald Feierstein
Senior Vice President, MEI 
Amb. (ret.) Gerald Feierstein is senior vice president at MEI. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in May 2016 after a 41-year career with the personal rank of Career Minister. As a diplomat he served in nine overseas postings, including three tours of duty in Pakistan, as well as assignments in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Tunisia. In 2010, President Obama appointed Amb. Feierstein U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, where he served until 2013. From 2013 until his retirement, Amb. Feierstein was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. In addition to his career-long focus on the Near East and South Asia, Amb. Feierstein also played a prominent role in developing and implementing State Department policies and programs to counter violent extremism.  

Hallam Ferguson
Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for the Middle East, USAID 
Hallam Ferguson is Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau at USAID, overseeing programs in Iraq, Egypt and the West Bank and Gaza. Ferguson joined USAID after 13 years with the International Republican Institute (IRI), where he began his development career in Afghanistan in 2004. While there he helped Afghanistan prepare for the country’s first-ever presidential elections and subsequent parliamentary elections. In 2006 Ferguson returned to Washington to manage programs throughout the Middle East. In 2008 he once again returned to the field as Director of Operations for IRI’s Iraq program, and in 2010 assumed overall management of that program, at that time the largest at IRI. In 2011 Ferguson became Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, with responsibility for programs from Morocco to Pakistan accounting for one quarter of IRI’s total grant dollars. Prior to joining IRI Ferguson completed his Master’s degree in international security at Georgetown University, where he received fellowships to study Central Asia and Afghanistan.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Colby College in Maine.

Michael Fleet (via skype)
Senior researcher, Institute on Governance
Michael works as a Senior Researcher with the Institute on Governance in Ottawa, where he works with the Iraq Team to implement the Fiscal Federalism, Decentralization and Resiliency Building Project. His research focus is on Iraqi politics, federalism, state-building, and conflict dynamics.Mike completed a Master of Arts degree in Global Governance from the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Ross Harrison
Senior Fellow, MEI 
Ross Harrison is a senior fellow at The Middle East Institute and is on the faculty of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. From 2007-2013, he was professor in the practice of international affairs at Georgetown, serving as chair of the international commerce and business concentration in the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program. Ross is also on the faculty of the political science department at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching courses in Middle East politics. He annually teaches a course on strategy and international security to senior Georgian government officials at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi, Georgia, funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Naufel Al Hassan
Former Chief of Staff, Prime Minister’s Office, Iraq 
Naufel Alhassan is Former Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, for the previous Iraqi Prime Minister. He worked in the Ministries of Industry and Trade, then served as Commercial Counsel. He was the first Iraqi Commercial Attaché́́ in the USA after 2003. He served in the prime minister’s office in many positions such as general director, deputy chief of staff, head of Economic Reform Unit, heading many high governmental committees. He was also responsible for coordinating the government’s foreign policy agenda representing the Prime Minister in key international conferences such as the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, delivering strategic projects as part of the Government’s 2030 vision in the World Bank and IMF annual meetings. Alhassan has B.E from Basra University, MSE from Arizona State University, and PhD from the University of Phoenix.

Joey Hood
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Joey Hood is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Mr. Hood has spent much of his career working in the Middle East, and particularly on the Arabian Peninsula. He has served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq and in Kuwait, as well as Consul General and Principal Officer in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Prior to these assignments, Mr. Hood was Acting Director of the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Hood has also served in Riyadh, where he coordinated U.S.-Saudi military cooperation, and in Asmara, where he was a liaison to rebel leaders from Sudan’s Darfur region. He has also been assigned to U.S. embassies in Yemen and Qatar.

Abbas Kadhim
Director of Iraq Initiative, Atlantic Council 
Abbas Kadhim is the Director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council. In addition, Kadhim is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and senior adviser to the UNESCO shair at Kufa University (Iraq). His research interests focus on Iraq, Iran, and Gulf Arab States. Between 2005 and 2013, Kadhim was an assistant professor of National Security Affairs/Middle East Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a visiting professor at Stanford University. Kadhim held a senior government affairs position at the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, DC from 2013 to 2014. Among his books are: Reclaiming Iraq: the 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State, Austin: University of Texas Press & Governance in the Middle East and North Africa, London: Routledge. His current research project is focusing on rebuilding Iraq’s political economy.

Joyce Karam
Washington Correspondent, The National UAE 
Joyce Karam is the Washington Correspondent for The National, a leading English daily based in Abu Dhabi, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University, school of Political Science. She is a native of Lebanon and has covered US politics and American foreign policy in the Middle East since 2004. Joyce has interviewed regional decision-makers, former US presidents and vice presidents including George W Bush and Joseph Biden. Prior to covering the US, Joyce worked as a Journalist in Lebanon covering the post-war period. She holds a BA in journalism and a Masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Shahla Al Kli
Principal Development Specialist, DAI 
Shahla Al Kli is a Principal Development Specialist at DAI Global, based in Bethesda-MD. She directs Political Economy Analysis and Complex Aware Monitoring at the USAID-funded project: Iraq Governance Performance and Accountability Project (IGPA/Takamul). Shahla is a former senior advisor to the Speaker of Iraqi Parliament, and the Speaker of Kurdistan Parliament, and former Country Director for Counterpart International's Iraq programs. She graduated from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Ph.D. program in International Relations and given Fletcher’s Peter Ackerman Award for an outstanding scholarly work for her Dissertation “Decentralization and State-building in Iraq”

Omar Al Nidawi
Program manager, Enabling Peace in Iraq Center 
Omar Al-Nidawi is the Program Manager at Enabling Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), developing and overseeing EPIC’s research initiatives. He is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project and guest lecturer on Iraq’s modern history at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Before joining EPIC, Omar spent a decade in the private sector as an analyst of Iraqi energy, political and security affairs. He is the author of numerous articles on Iraq and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and various other publications. He has a B.D.S. from Baghdad University and an M.I.A. from Columbia University’s SIPA.

Randa Slim
Director of Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program, MEI
Randa Slim is the Director of the Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program at the Middle East Institute and a non-resident fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute. A former vice president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, Slim has been a senior program advisor at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a guest scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, a program director at Resolve, Inc, and a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. A long-term practitioner of Track II dialogue and peace-building processes in the Middle East and Central Asia, she is the author of several studies, book chapters, and articles on conflict management, post-conflict peace-building, and Middle East politics.

Bilal Wahab
Nathan and Esther K. Wagner fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy 
Bilal Wahab is the Nathan and Esther K. Wagner fellow at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on governance in the Iraqi Kurdish region and in Iraq as a whole. He has taught at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani, where he established the Center for Development and Natural Resources, a research program on oil and development. He earned his Ph.D. from George Mason University; his M.A. from American University, where he was among the first Iraqis awarded a Fulbright scholarship; and his B.A. from Salahaddin University in Erbil. Along with numerous scholarly articles, he has written extensively in the Arabic and Kurdish media.

Ambassador (ret.) Rend Al-Rahim Francke
President, Iraq Foundation
A native of Iraq, Ms. Rend Al-Rahim is co-founder and President  of the Iraq Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the support and promotion of democracy, human rights and civil society in Iraq. As President of the Iraq Foundation, Ms. Al-Rahim represents the Iraq Foundation with governmental and international institutions in Iraq and worldwide. From 2003-2005 she joined the Iraqi diplomatic service, serving as Iraq’s  Chief of Mission to the United States. In 2007 Ms. Al-Rahim was awarded a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship at the United States Institute for Peace, contributing reports, research papers and articles on Iraq and organizing panels for USIP. In 2008-2009 she continued with USIP as Senior Fellow for Iraq. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C.

Ambassador Fareed Yasseen 
Iraqi Ambassador, United States
Fareed Yasseen is currently Iraq's ambassador to the United States, a posting he assumed in November 2016. He Joined Iraq's Ministry's of Foreign Affairs in July 2004, and has previously served as head of the Ministry’s Department of Policy planning, as diplomatic advisor to Deputy President Adil Abd al-Mahdi and , prior to his posting in Washington, as Ambassador to France. He has worked and consulted for various start-ups, think tanks, and UN agencies, in particular, the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, where he led pioneering notable efforts in the use of the Internet. In 2016, he was Awarded the Robert and JoAnn Bendetsen Public Diplomacy Award at Tufts university, and was made Commander of France's National Order of the Legion of Honor.

Hafsa Halawa
Political Consultant
Hafsa Halawa is an independent consultant working on political, social and economic affairs and development goals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Horn of Africa regions. As a lawyer, she began her career in the corporate world. Following the dramatic shifts across the MENA region in 2011, she has built an all-encompassing portfolio of experience in advocacy, civil society, policy and planning, development and political risk. Halawa has been based in the heart of the MENA and Horn of Africa regions for over 13 years, building a robust network of contacts that expertly guide her analysis and provide a substantial pool of resources to enhance her understanding of various countries and thematic issues. Halawa has previously held positions in government, the UN, INGOs/NGOs, corporate multinationals, private firms and think tanks, her experiences from which now guide her consultations. 
 

 

Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images