SENIOR ADVISER ON CONSTITUTIONAL BUILDING FOR INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY AND ELECTORAL ASSISTANCE (IDEA)
Zaid al-Ali is the senior adviser on constitutional building for International IDEA and is quoted regularly in the international press on Iraqi developments on constitutional reform issues in the Arab region, including the New York Times, the Financial Times, the BBC and National Public Radio. He has contributed a large number of chapters to edited volumes on constitutional law and on reform efforts in the Middle East.
He publishes his commentary pieces on Iraqi and Arab developments mainly in Foreign Policy, Opendemocracy and Al-Hayat. He has lectured at Harvard University, the London School of Economics and Chatham House amongst many others.
He has worked for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and was a legal adviser for the Office of Constitutional Support which was mandated to provide advice to the Iraqi constitutional drafting committee. Since the Tunisian uprisings in 2011, he has been focusing on constitutional reform in the Arab region, with a special focus on Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. He holds law degrees from King’s College London, Paris Sorbonne University and Harvard Law School.
He started his legal career practicing international commercial and investment arbitration in Paris and London.
FOUNDER OF NATURE IRAQ AND AUIS BOARD MEMBER
Dr. Alwash is a member of the board of trustees at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, where he founded the Twin Rivers Institute for Scientific Research. Dr. Alwash divides his time between Sulaimani, Baghdad, and Iraq’s southern marshlands and speaks internationally about the need to address the many environmental issues facing Iraq, and the successes and work yet ahead for Nature Iraq. Dr. Alwash has worked for twenty years as a soil and environmental engineering consultant in southern California.
Alwash became active in Iraqi expatriate politics in 1997 and joined the Board of Directors of the Iraq Foundation, an Iraqi NGO based in Washington, D.C. Prompted by the release of a United Nation’s Environmental Program’s report in 2001 that detailed “one of the world’s greatest environmental disaster’s” – the desiccation of 90 percent of the Mesopotamian Marshlands at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s regime - Alwash and his wife, Dr. Suzie Alwash, founded the Eden Again Project and began to assemble a group of international experts to evaluate the potential for restoration of the marshes. Their scientific opinion was unanimous - the marshlands could and should be restored.
By August 2003, Alwash took a leave of absence from his consultancy work to direct the Eden Again Project operations in Iraq – the seed for today’s Nature Iraq. He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2013, in particular for his efforts on restoring salt marshes in southern Iraq that had been destroyed during the Saddam Hussein regime He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the California State University at Fullerton, and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Southern California. Alwash subsequently worked for twenty years as a soil and environmental engineering consultant in southern California.
INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO NEWS
Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News and her reports can be heard on NPR’s award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syrian youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.
She has won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School. In 2003, she returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC’s Nightliine and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline. She holds a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.
JOURNALIST COVERING THE MIDDLE EAST FOR AL JAZEERA ENGLISH
Jane Arraf is a journalist currently based in the Middle East for Al Jazeera English. She previously worked with the Christian Science Monitor and as CNN’s Baghdad Bureau Chief and Senior Correspondent. During the war in Iraq, she covered live the battles for Fallujah, Samarra and Tel Afar and was the only television correspondent embedded with US forces fighting the Mehdi Army in Najaf in 2004. Arraf headed CNN’s first permanent Baghdad bureau in 1998 and for several years was the only Western correspondent permanently based in the Iraqi capital. She has also covered India, Albania, NATO, Afghanistan, Jordan and the Gulf States for CNN.
Arraf joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as the 2005-2006 Edward R Murrow Press Fellow, focusing on Iraq and counter-insurgency, and was later adjunct senior fellow before returning to Iraq as an NBC News correspondent. She has also written extensively for magazines and has produced stories for NPR’s All Things Considered and Britain’s Channel Four television. Before joining CNN, she was a Washington D.C. based correspondent for Reuters Financial Television, covering Congress, the White House and the United States Treasury Department. Arraf studied journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa.
GOVERNOR OF DOHUK PROVINCE
HENRI J. BARKEY
CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AT LEHIGH UNIVERSITY
Dr. Barkey is the Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Professor in International Relations and International Relations Department Chair at Lehigh University. A leading expert on Turkey, from 1998-2000 he served as a member of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff working primarily on issues related to the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and intelligence.
Respected worldwide as an authority in the field, he has provided expertise and opinion editorials in all forms of media, invited lectures and conferences including the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, C-SPAN, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. He is widely published and has authored, co-authored and edited five books, among them Iraq, Its Neighbors and the United States, with Phebe Marr and Scott Lasensky. Barkey has taught at Princeton, the State University of New York, and the University of Pennsylvania.
He recently completed a two year position as a non-resident visiting scholar in the Carnegie Middle East Program, and was also visiting fellow at Columbia University. Professor Barkey is a member of the Board of Trustees at AUIS.
DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETATY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE MISSION FOR IRAQ (UNAMI)
György Busztin is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Special Representative for Iraq. Mr. Busztin heads the political, electoral and constitutional support component of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
Bringing a wealth of diplomatic experience to the position, Mr. Busztin recently returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Budapest after serving as Hungary’s Ambassador to Iran, and was previously Ambassador to Indonesia. He has also served in various capacities in Afghanistan, subsequent to his service in Libya and Egypt.
Mr. Busztin earned a degree in Arabic History from Damascus University in Syria, and a PhD in Arabic language and Semitic philology from Lorand Eotvos University in Budapest. In addition to his native Hungarian, he speaks English, French, Arabic, Farsi/Dari (Persian), Malay (Indonesian), and Russian.
TURKISH JOURNALIST AND FORMER WAR CORRESPONDENT
He began his career as a journalist in 1976 in the newspaper Vatan after living some years in the Middle East and Europe due to his opposition to the regime in Turkey following the military intervention in 1971. An expert for the Middle East (Lebanon and Palestine) and the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Çandar worked for the Turkish News Agency and for the leading Turkish newspapers Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Referans and Güneş as a war correspondent. Currently, he is a columnist for Radikal.
Çandar served as special adviser to Turkish president Turgut Özal between 1991 and 1993. He has also lectured on the history and politics of the Middle East at Bilgi University in Istanbul. He was also a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. Çandar graduated from Ankara University in 1970 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations.
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, BEIRUT INSTITUTE
Raghida Dergham is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the newly-established Beirut Institute, in addition to being a Columnist and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for the London-based Al Hayat, the leading independent Arabic daily, since 1989. She writes a regular weekly strategic column on International Political Affairs. Dergham is also a Political Analyst for NBC, MSNBC and the Arab satellite LBC. She is a Contributing Editor for LA Times Syndicate Global Viewpoint and has contributed to: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune and Newsweek Magazine.
She serves on the Board of the International Women's Media Foundation, and has served on the Advisory Council of Princeton University's Institute for Transregional Studies of the contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. She was also a member of the Women's Foreign Policy Group. She addressed U.N. General Assembly on the World Press Freedom Day when President of The United Nations Correspondents Association for 1997 and was appointed to the Task Force on the Reorientation of Public Information by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. She moderated a roundtable of 8 Presidents and Prime Ministers for UNCTAD at Bangkok in 1991. Dergham served as Chairman of the Dag Hammarskjold Fund Board in 2005.
GOVERNOR OF SULAIMANI
Aso Fereydun is currently serving as the Governor of Sulaimani. He received his bachelors of medicine from Baghdad University. He is a professor at Sulaimani University of Medicine. He is also the head of the Kurdistan Academies Association.
IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
Al-Fayyadh was appointed Iraq’s Minister of State for National Security Affairs by Prime Minister Maliki in January 2011. He is Director of National Reconciliation; President of the Supreme Committee for the security, communications, and information; Vice-Chairman of the National Coordination of Intelligence; and Deputy Minister of State for national security affairs.
Al-Fayyadh was a member of the Political Bureau of the Dawa Party and has had numerous high ranking government roles throughout his distinguished career, including serving as a member of parliament in 2005. He earned his B.A. in Electrical Engineering from Mosul University in 1977.
REBAZ MUHAMMAD HAMLAN
MINISTER OF FINANCE TO THE KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
MEMBER OF THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT
Sheikh Dr. Humam Hamoudi is an Iraqi law-maker and leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.He played a critical role in the drafting of the Iraq constitution. He is a member of the Council of Representatives of Iraq representing the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA).
Dr. Hamoudi was member of the Iraqi National Council in 2004-05. He was later elected as a Member of the Iraqi National Assembly in 2005-06. He was also one of the founders of the United Iraqi Coalition. He has been the Chairman of the Iraqi Constitutional Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee since 2006.
He occupied the political assistant’s position to the late Mohammed Baqir al-Hakeem, and was responsible for the Supreme Council’s relations with the Gulf countries and the United States in 1982. He was also in charge of the Supreme Council’s branches outside Iran.
Dr. Hamoudi obtained his bachelors and masters degrees in Psychology from the University of Baghdad. He received his doctorate in Islamic Economics from The American University in London in 2002.
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE ENGLISH AND JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT OF THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF IRAQ, SULAIMANI
Dr. Choman Hardi is a contemporary Kurdish poet, translator and painter, writer, academic and researcher. She has been a former chairperson of Exiled Writers Ink! and has organized creative writing workshops for the British Council in UK, Belgium, Czech Republic and India. She was a resident poet for 10 months at the Moniack Mohr or Scotland’s National Writing Center in 2004. She is a recipient of a Jerwood/Arvon Young Poet’s Apprenticeship. She was recently presented with the Woman’s Award in recognition of her achievements as a creative writer and academic as well as her work on women’s issues, in particular Kurdish women, by Andesha, an independent cultural center and publishing house based in Sulaimani.
She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Serdemi Jin, a bi-seasonal Kurdish journal of women’s theory, culture and art. She has published three volumes of poetry in Kurdish. Her only collection of English poems titled Life for Us was published in 2004. She studied psychology and philosophy at Oxford and University College London and was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Kent. Her dissertation focused on the effects of forced migration on the lives of Kurdish women from Iraq and Iran.
MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
Dr. Hawrami has served as Minister of Natural Resources since May 2006. Before joining the KRG, he held several senior oil executive positions in the private sector and has worked as an engineer in the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) in Basra and later the British National Oil Company in Scotland. From 1988 to 1999 he was the proprietor and director of DUK, a limited liability UK engineering and services firm. He became the Chairman and CEO of ECL Group Plc in 1999. He was appointed in the sixth cabinet on 28 October 2009 following the July 2009 Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections and was reappointed in the seventh cabinet, on 5 April 2012.
He holds a bachelors degree in Oil Engineering from Baghdad University and awarded a Ph.D. in Reserve Oil Engineering in Scotland.
BEN VAN HEUVELEN
MANAGING EDITOR OF IRAQ OIL REPORT
Ben Van Heuvelen is the managing editor of Iraq Oil Report and a contributor to the Washington Post and Foreign Policy. He has written freelance for The Atlantic online, Salon, and Killing the Buddha and has appeared as a guest on CNN, Al-Jazeera English, and NPR. He writes about Iraq, oil, and the geopolitics of energy, American foreign policy, politics and culture, and religion.
He worked at the New American Foundation as a research fellow and prior to that taught English at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
As MENA Program Director, Joost leads the organisation’s research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy in and about the region. Previously, he was Crisis Group’s Chief Operating Officer (2013-2014), in which capacity he was responsible for the oversight and management of the organisation’s programs and operations around the world. Prior to that, he was Crisis Group’s Deputy Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa, from 2007 to 2012 and Project Director for the Middle East from 2002 to 2007 and in that capacity managed a team of analysts deployed throughout the region.
CHIEF OF STAFF OF PRESIDENT MASOUD BARZANI
Dr. Fuad Hussein is currently serving as the Chief of Staff of the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Hussein has also served as the official spokesman for H. E. Masoud Bazani. He has also appeared in several interviews in the media on the Baghdad-KRG relationship.
CO-CHAIR, PARTY OF DEMOCRATIC REGIONS (DBP), DIYARBAKIR
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ
Ibrahim Al-Jaafari assumed the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2014. He is an Iraqi politician who has served as the Prime Minister of Iraq in the Iraqi Transitional Government from 2005 to 2006 and was one of the two Vice Presidents of Iraq under the Iraqi Interim Government from 2004 to 2005. He was the main spokesperson for the Islamic Dawa Party. He was chosen in 2003 as a member of the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council and served as its first chairman and Iraq’s first post-Saddam interim President for one month.
In 2008, Al-Jaafari launched a new political party called the National Reform Trend. He studied medicine in the northern city of Mosul where he obtained a medical degree in 1974. He returned to his hometown of Karbala after completing his studies and practiced medicine there until being forced into Exile. He lived in London from 1989 and returned to Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam’s regime.
SPEAKER OF THE COUNCIL OF REPRESENTATIVE OF THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT
Dr. Al-Jibbouri is an Iraqi political leader and law scholar. He was elected to the Iraqi Parliament in December 2005 and became Deputy Head of the Parliament’s Legal Committee. He is also been involved in the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee. He was elected to the Iraqi Parliament for a third time after which he was appointed Speaker of Parliament.
Al-Jabouri obtained a doctorate in law in 2001 and has worked as a law professor at Nahrain University in Baghdad.
STUART E. JONES
UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ
Ambassador Jones is a member of the US Foreign Service, with years of service in the Middle East. He served as the US Ambassador to Jordan before becoming the US Ambassador to Iraq in 2014. He has worked as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. He has also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Baghdad. Other foreign tours includes Turkey, El Salvador and Colombia. He was also special assistant to the US permanent Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright.
Ambassador Jones has extensive experience in Iraq and was Governorate Coordinator in al-Anbar Province in 2004 and as Country Director of Iraq at the National Security Council. He is a graduate of Duke University and holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PRESIDENT JALAL TALABANI
Mr. Kamran Qaradaghi is the former Chief of Staff and official spokesperson for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. He is also Chairman of media organization Mediawan. He writes a fortnightly op-ed for the London-based daily al-Hayat.
During his long journalistic career, he has served as senior political correspondent for al-Hayat from 1988-1998. Thereafter, he served as chief editor and deputy director for Radio Free Iraq until 2004. Later, he worked as editorial advisor for the War and Peace Reporting Institute in 2005. From 2005 to 2007, Qaradaghi served as the Chief of Staff and the official spokesperson for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. He was a visiting fellow to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in 1993, and regularly participates in conferences and forums that deal with Kurdish issues.
Qaradaghi is the author of “The Two Gulf Wars: The Kurds on the World Stage, 1979-1992,” published in People Without a Country (Chaliand, Ed., 1993). He speaks Arabic, Kurdish, English and Russian.
ASSOCIATE FELLOW AT CHATHAM HOUSE
Hayder al-Khoei is an associate fellow on the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House and his areas of expertise include Iraq and clerical authority in Shia Islam. In 2008-09, al-Khoei worked as public relations assistant at the al-Khoei Foundation. Later, he joined the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House as freelance research assistant in 2012. From 2010 to 2014 he was a researcher at Centre for Academic Shi’a Studies. He has also been a research fellow at Forward Thinking since November 2010.
Al-Khoei holds a masters degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His articles and opinions have been published in major media outlets including The Mirror, Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Reuters and NBC News etc.
FELLOW AT THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE
Michael Knights is a Lafer fellow at The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf Arab states. Dr. Knights has traveled extensively in Iraq and the Gulf states, published widely on security issues for major media outlets such as Jane’s IHS, and regularly briefs U.S. government policymakers and U.S. military officers on regional security affairs. Dr. Knights worked as the head of analysis and assessments for a range of security and oil companies, directing information collection teams in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. He has worked extensively with local military and security agencies in Iraq, the Gulf states, and Yemen. Dr. Knights has undertaken extensive research on lessons learned from U.S. military operations in the Gulf during and since 1990. He earned his doctorate at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and has worked as a defense journalist for the Gulf States Newsletter and Jane’s Intelligence Review.
DEPUTY SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR THE GLOBAL COALITION TO COUNTER ISIL
Ambassador Brett McGurk serves as Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the US Department of State. His previous assignment was Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs with a focus on Iraq and other regional initiatives. In the Obama administration McGurk has served as a special advisor to the National Security Staff and as Senior Advisor to Ambassadors Ryan Crocker, Christopher Hill and James Jeffrey in Baghdad. He participated in President Obama’s 2009 Iraq policy in these capacities and helped manage the transition from military to civilian lead following the US military drawdown.
McGurk has served as a lead negotiator and coordinator during bilateral talks with the Iraqi Government on both a long-term Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement to govern the temporary presence of the US forces and the normalization of bilateral relations between Iraq and the United States. For these assignments he received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor and Superior Honor Awards. McGurk had earlier served as a legal adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority and then the US Embassy in Baghdad under Ambassador John Negroponte.
McGurk is a graduate of Columbia University School of law and holds a B.A. in political science with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Connecticut.
BRITISH CONSUL GENERAL TO THE KURDISTAN REGION AND NORTHERN IRAQ
Angus McKee has been the United Kingdom’s Consul General to Kurdistan Region & Northern Iraq since 2014. He joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2000 and his previous postings include Head Middle East & North Africa Research Group (Research Analysts), Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy Damascus, and Head of the Syria Office in the British Embassy Beirut. He has an M.A. in International Relations & Arabic from the University of St Andrews.
ADIL ABDUL-MAHDI AL-MUNTAFIKI
MINISTER OF OIL OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ
Abdul-Mahdi is an Iraqi Shi’a politician and economist and served as Finance Minister in the interim government from 2004 to 2005. In 2005 he assumed the role of Vice President of Iraq along with Ibrahim Al-Jafari from 2005 to 2011. He has been serving as Minister of Oil since September 2014. He is a trained economist and lived in exile in France. He has worked for French think tanks and edited magazines in French and Arabic. He attended Baghdad College and was educated in France.
SALEH MOSLEM MUHAMMAD
CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC UNION PARTY
Salih Moslem Muhammad is a prominent Kurdish politician in the Syrian arena. He is co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the driving power behind the de facto autonomous Kurdish controlled region of Rojava in Northern Syria. Muhammad has served as the party’s president and was elected as General Deputy Coordinator of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the main opposition coalition inside Syria.
Mohammad began his political activity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He returned to Syria and joined the Syrian Engineers’ Syndicate. Muhammad became a member of the PYD’s Executive Committee in 2003. He was elected as joint secretary of the PYD. He studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Istanbul and he worked as a chemical engineer in a public company in Saudi Arabia where he met the organizing political groups in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE OF ORIENTAL STUDIES AT THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Professor Vitaly Naumkin was elected the Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2009, and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2011. He has been Professor and Chair at Moscow State University since 2003, leading the Department of Regional Studies at the Faculty of World Politics. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Vostok/Oriens journal, chairman of the Oriental Archive editorial board, as well as the editorial board member for many other journals and periodicals. He is a member of the advisory Scientific Council under the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, a member of the advisory Scientific Council under the Security Council of Russia, and chairman of the Scientific advisory board of the Russian Justice Ministry for studying religious materials. He is reputed to be the most prominent Russian expert on Islam and has been honored with Russian and foreign awards. He is the author of over 500 publications in Russian and other languages dealing with the history of Asia and the Arab world, Central Asia and Caucasus, international relations, political science, Islamic studies, philology and conflict resolution.
He earned his Doctor of Science degree with a dissertation on the history of South Yemen’s armed struggle for independence led by the National Front. The treatise related to his dissertation, based on multiple original sources, was published in Russian in Moscow and released in 2004 in English in Oxford under the title Red Wolves of Yemen.
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ
Usama al-Nujayfi is an Iraqi politician and currently serves as the Vice President of Iraq. Before assuming office in September 2014, he served as the Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq from 2010 to 2014. He has worked in the Iraqi government’s electricity ministry for 12 years and as Minister of Industry privatized many of the state-owned companies which included firms working in sectors from petrochemical and cement to sugar and heavy industry. He was nominated to be a member of the Council of Representatives in 2005 and subsequently headed a parliamentary committee.
He has his degree in electrical engineering from the University of Mosul in 1978 and was involved in building power plants in Iraq.
CEO OF MEDIAWAN.ME AND FORMER MEDIA ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT JALAL TALABANI
Hiwa Osman is the CEO of mediawan.me, the first agency of its kind in Iraqi Kurdistan that provides media, creative and communications services. He is also an award-winning Iraqi Kurdish journalist and commentator. He served as media advisor to President Jalal Talabani between 2005 and 2008 and is a leading commentator and analyst on the politics and media of Kurdistan and Iraq. He runs the blog Thoughts from Iraq and is widely quoted by the media. His writings are also published in Arabic in the respected Baghdad-based newspaper al-Alem. Hiwa Osman previously worked as the Iraq Country Director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and as a writer and produce with BBC News. In 2012, he won the Outstanding Contribution to New Media Award at the International Media Awards in London.
FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND COMMANDER OF US CENTRAL COMMAND
General Petraeus is a retired American military officer and public official who served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2011 until his resignation in 2012. Prior to assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a highly decorated four-star general, serving over 37 years in the United States Army. He commanded the Multi-National Force- Iraq and oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq. Petraeus was Commander of United States Central Command before becoming commanding general of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Petraeus relinquished command of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and retired from the US Army.
Petraeus holds a B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy where he graduated in 1974 as a distinguished cadet. He was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College class of 1983. He earned his M.P.A. in 1985 and a Ph.D. degree in international relations in 1987 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later worked as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the United States Military Academy and has completed a fellowship at Georgetown University.
DEPUTY MINISTER AT FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND MEMBER OF ITALIAN PARLIAMENT
Pistelli is a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament and was elected in 2013 for the Italian Democratic Party. In 2004-2008, he was elected as a member of the European Parliament where he served both as Head of the Italian Delegation and as a member of two Committees (Foreign Affairs and Financial and Economic Affairs). His political career has taken him to more than 70 countries around the world in different capacities, such as monitoring elections during transitions to democracy, lecturing and networking with leaders of progressive political parties.
He works with a number of progressive think tanks such as Policy Network in London, The Center for American Progress and Brookings Institution in Washington, the Foundation IDEAS in Madrid and the European Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Florence Faculty of the Bing Overseas Studies of Stanford University and has lectured in various universities around the world. He is a member of the Board of International Affairs Institute in Italy and of the Institute for Relations of Italy with Africa, Latin America and the Middle and Far East. He is also a member of the Council Italy-United States and of the Board of Editors of East. He has earned his masters degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Florence.
KENNETH M. POLLACK
SENIOR FELLOW AT BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY
Dr. Pollack is an expert on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, with a focus on Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the other nations of the Persian Gulf region. He is currently a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He served as the director of the Center from 2009 to 2012, and its director of research from 2002 to 2009. Pollack began his career as an Iran-Iraq military analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was worked from 1988 until 1995. During this time, he was the principal author of the CIA’s classified post-mortem on Iraqi strategy He received his B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His dissertation was titled The Influence of Arab Culture on Arab Military Effectiveness, 1948-1991.
MINISTER OF PESHMERGA AFFAIRS, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
Mustafa Qadir is currently the Minister of Peshmerga Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). He is also H.E. Jalal Talabani’s representative in Halabja.
ACTING HEAD, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME CHATHAM HOUSE
Dr. Neil Quilliam has over a decade of work experience in the Middle East. His areas of expertise include the GCC countries, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. He is also an expert on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) energy sector.
Dr. Quilliam was senior programme officer in the United Nations Leadership Institute in Amman, Jordan since 2003. For the next five years, he worked as senior analyst MENA, Control Risks, London. Later, he moved on to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London as senior MENA energy advisor at the from 2010-14. Before being appointed acting head, he was senior research fellow and senior consulting fellow at the Chatham House. Currently, in addition to his work at Chatham House, Quilliam is also Senior Advisor at Rapadin Group. Quilliam completed his Ph.D. in International Relations of the Middle East; Syria and Foreign Policy from University of Durham in 1997.
YUSIF MUHAMMED SADIQ
SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
Dr. Sadiq is currently the Speaker of the Parliament of Kurdistan Regional Government. He was awarded a Ph.D. in International Science Philosophy for his dissertation on Vital Factors on the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Political Future. He is a member of Goran, the 'change party'. He was also the head of the Political and Social Sciences Department at Sulaimani University from 2008 to 2010.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF IRAQ, SULAIMANI
Dr. Salih is the founder of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He is a veteran Kurdish politician with years of public service and leadership in both the Kurdish Region and Iraq. Salih served as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government most recently from 2009-2012. He was elected to leadership at the first conference of the Political Union of Kurdistan party after the liberation of Kurdistan from dictatorship in 1992, and was chosen to head the PUK office in the United States. Following the first parliamentary elections in the same year, he became the representative of the newly-formed Kurdistan Regional Government to the US. During his time in the states he was very active in improving Kurdistan’s relations with the West and his vigorous campaigning against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial Ba’ath regime helped to influence decision-makers in Washington. The PUK leadership asked Barham Salih to take over as Prime Minister of the KRG from 2001 to 2004.
After the fall of the Ba’athist regime, he became Deputy Prime Minister of the Interim Iraqi Government in mid-2004, Minister of Planning in the Transitional Government in 2005, and then Deputy Prime Minister in Nouri Al-Maliki’s cabinet after the 2005 elections. In addition to his role as Deputy Prime Minister, he was also in charge of the economic portfolio and Head of the Economic Committee. Salih earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Construction at the University of Cardiff, graduating in 1983. He went on to receive a doctoral degree in Statistics and Computer Applications in Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 1987. He is married to Dr. Sarbagh Salih, President of Kurdistan Botanical Foundation and a women’s rights activist.
MINISTER OF EDUCATION IF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ
Professor al-Shahrestani is an Iraqi politician who has served in different cabinet posts and is currently Iraq’s Minister of Education. He previously worked as an adviser to the International Technical Research Center, London before serving as the deputy speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly under the Iraqi Transitional Government. He was appointed oil minister in May 2006 and served in this role until 2010. He became acting Minister of Electricity in 2010. He assumed the role of Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq in December 2010 and served for four years. In July 2014, he assumed the role of acting foreign minister in addition to his deputy prime ministership. He has been awarded the Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Award in 2012.
Professor al-Shahrestani is a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom and has taught at Baghdad University. He holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London; he received a MSc from the University of Toronto, where he also was awarded a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. He specialised in design and building Nuclear reactors.
DIRECTOR OF THE TRACK II DIALOGUES INITIATIVE AT THE MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE
Dr. Slim is the Director of the Track II Dialogues Initiative at the Middle East Institute and an adjunct research fellow at the New America Foundation. She was the former vice president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue and has been a senior program advisor at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a guest scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, and a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. She is the co-founder of the Arab Network for the Study of Democracy, a group of academics and civil society activists from eight Arab countries. She is a member of the advisory committee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Peace building program and a member of the board of the Project on Middle East Democracy. She is the author of several studies, book chapters and articles on conflict management, post-conflict and peacebuilding, and Middle East politics. She received her B.S. and M.A. at the American University of Beirut and completed her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina.
BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF AT THE WASHINGTON POST
Liz Sly is the Bureau chief for The Washington Post in Beirut and is currently covering the turmoil in the wider Middle East. Before joining the Post, she covered Iraq for the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has over two decades experience as a foreign correspondent, based in the Middle East, Africa, China, South Asia and Europe.
CHRISTINE VAN DEN TOORN
DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE OF REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF IRAQ, SULAIMANI
Christine van den Toorn is the Director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at AUIS, where she has taught Middle East history for four years. She has conducted fieldwork all over the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with a particular focus on disputed territories in Nainawa and has delivered talks, moderated panels and been interviewed about her research. She is a reporter for Iraq Oil Report and has contributed to publications like Inside Iraqi Politics, Daily Beast and Niqash. Van den Toorn has also conducted baseline reports and social impact assessments for major international oil companies operating in the KRG, working with teams of student researchers from AUIS.
Van den Toorn received her M.A. in Middle East History from the University of Virginia and served in the United States Peace Corps in Morocco. She has studied Arabic at Middlebury College and Georgetown University, as well as at the University of Damascus in Syria and the French Institute for Near East Studies in Damascus.
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF IRAQ, SULAIMANI
Dr. Wahab joined AUIS in September 2012 as a lecturer in the Social Sciences Department. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Public Policy at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. His dissertation was titled Oil Federalism in Iraq: Resource Curse, Patronage Networks, and Stability: Case Studies of Baghdad, Kurdistan, and the Advent of ISIS. Wahab has written widely on energy policy, transnational crime, illicit trade, good governance and transition to democracy. He has taught at Salahaddin University in the Political Science and English Language Departments. He was also previously the managing editor of Foreign Policy Bulletin.
Wahab was an IRIS Faculty Fellow during 2013-2014 and in hi capacity as fellow, researched petroleum policy in the KRG and Iraq by identifying and analyzing key factors that have contributed to the shaping of that policy since 2003. His research delved into one of the region’s most complex and pervasive issues and specifically addressed how oil federalism in Iraq has contributed to the making of the KRG’s petroleum policy and how decentralization of petroleum policy potentially mitigates the harms associated with the ‘resource curse’. He received his M.A. in International Affairs from the American University in Washington D.C. as a Fulbright Fellow and received his Bachelor’s degree in English Language from Salahaddin University.
DOV S. ZAKHEIM
VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE FOREIGN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Dr. Zakheim is a former official of the United States government and is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He has served as Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) from 2001 in the Bush administration to 2004. In 2008, Former President Bush as a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired as a Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton in 2010. He currently is a Senior Fellow at the CNA Corporation, a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He also is Co-Vice-Chair of Global Panel America (Global Panel Foundation) with Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former UK Foreign Secretary and Minister of Defense.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Columbia University in 1970 and his DPhil in economics and politics at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. He has been an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College where he was presidential scholar.
TURKEY CORRESPONDENT AT THE ECONOMIST
Amberin Zaman is a Turkish journalist for The Economist. She contributes to various newspapers throughout the world. Her writing is centered around minority rights issues in Turkey. She has worked as Turkey’s correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph and The Washington Post. She has also worked for BBC World Turkey as a commentator. She is a proponent of normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.
H.E. HOSHYAR ZEBARI
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND FINANCE MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ
Zebari was born in 1953 in Aqra, Iraqi Kurdistan and was educated at the University of Jordan, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and the University of Essex in the UK, obtaining a Master of Arts in Sociology of Development. He participated in the armed national resistance campaign against Saddam Hussein’s regime from 1980-1988 and became an elected member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s Political Bureau and Chief Representative of the Kurdistan Front in Europe in 1989. Zebari held the post of the KDP’s Chief Foreign Representative from 1988-1991 and acted as spokesman during the 1991 Guld War.
Zebari became Head of KDP’s International Relations Bureau in 1992, a position he held until he was appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 1994, he became the principal negotiator in the Kurdish peace process and participated in peace talks held in Paris, Ireland, Ankara, London and Washington which produced the 1998 Washington Peace Agreement between the KDP and the PUK. Zebari was elected to the Executive Council of the Iraqi National Congress (INC). He became Head of International Relations of the Iraqi Opposition in 1992. He was elected as a member of the INC Leadership Council in 1999 and in 2002. Zebari was first appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad in 2003. He has been sworn in five consecutive times as the Foreign Minister, under the Iraqi interim Government, the Iraqi Transitional Government and each constitutional government after Saddam Hussein. Since 2014, he has assumed the responsibilities of Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and Minister of Finance.