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.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM (EDT)
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
with comments by
Washington College of Law at the American University
Senior Director of Fellowship Programs
National Endowment for Democracy
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