Al-Bayan Center hosted a day-long seminar to discuss the political, economic and social challenges facing Iraq and the prospects of reform. The event included participation from leading scholars on Iraq in the United Kingdom, organized in conjunction with the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics (LSE).
The first session focused on political developments following national elections and the importance of tackling corruption. The session was chaired by Al-Bayan Center’s managing director, Sajad Jiyad, and included Professor Toby Dodge from the London School of Economics, Dr. Renad Mansour from Chatham House, and Ghazwan Rafiq, an expert on anti-corruption strategies. Discussants explored the nature of political configurations and alliances that currently prevail and questioned whether they would lead to more or less stability for the government. Emphasis was also placed on the need to tackle political and financial corruption, and to reassert trust and effective representation between the political elite and ordinary citizens.
The second session explored the country’s current economic status and addressed how Iraq can curtail public sector spending. The session was chaired by Al-Bayan Center’s head of research, Ali Al-Mawlawi, and featured Dr. Mudher Salih, finance advisor to the Prime Minster, Ambassador Ramon Blecua, head of the European Union delegation to Iraq, and Christine van den Toorn, director of IRIS at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimaniyah. Discussions focused on job creation in the private sector, provision of technical expertise through public financial management reform, and relations between Baghdad and Erbil.
The final session focused on the challenges facing women’s rights, exploring gender-based violence and political and societal representation. The session was chaired by Prof. Dodge and included presentations by Dr. Zeynep Kaya from the LSE, and civil society activists Hanaa Edwar and Hana Hamood. Panelists explored the multitude of difficulties faced by women in Iraq and noted the importance of enhancing access to education and employment opportunities.
Al-Bayan Center seeks to advance public policy in Iraq through interactions with policymakers and experts. The Center often collaborates with other likeminded organisations and has established numerous policy exchange forums with universities and research institutes in Iraq and abroad.