Iraqi Kurdistan at the Crossroads?


With a referendum on independence in speculation for autumn 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan stands at a crucial political juncture that has global implications. The increasing autonomy of the region promises to have a significant impact both on longstanding international efforts to stabilize Iraqi democratic institutions and attitudes. U.S. security policy, which relies on Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria as vital allies in the fight against ISIL, may also be affected. Amid these high stakes, it is yet unclear whether civil society in the region is sufficiently independent and democratically minded to facilitate crucial social dialogue about the political future of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Journalist and political commentator Nawaf Haskan will draw on his experiences with Kurdish civil society to trace its evolution from the 2003 American-led international coalition intervention of Iraq to the upcoming independence referendum. Reporting on the state of civil society in Iraqi Kurdistan, he will offer recommendations for how domestic and international actors can most effectively facilitate positive change. Comments from Sherizaan Minwalla will follow.

International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM (EDT)

Washington, DC


Nawaf Haskan

Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

with comments by

Sherizaan Minwalla


Washington College of Law at the American University

moderated by

Sally Blair

Senior Director of Fellowship Programs

National Endowment for Democracy

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