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23 September 2015

 MERI's Kirkuk Policy Report

7 September 2015 / Publication
The Future of Kirkuk: A Roadmap for Resolving the Status of the Province   

The political resolution of Kirkuk and the disputed territories remains as one of the most difficult issues yet to be fully addressed by the Governments of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Multiple issues regarding the final status of Kirkuk need to be addressed before breakthroughs can be achieved. For any political solution to be successful, political will is needed and compromises and concessions will have to be made by all parties, primarily local actors in Kirkuk. MERI’s Kirkuk Policy Report outlines clear recommendations for all relevant actors with the aim of bringing the issue of their province to the fore and fostering a constructive debate on Kirkuk’s future.
Read more, download the report & watch the video here.

The Brookings Institution

13 October 2015 / Announcement
"The Future of Kurdistan" in a Brookings Institution event

The Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution is hosting a special event in Washington DC for Professor Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, the Founding President of The Middle East Research Institute (MERI), and Samuel Morris, a Research Fellow at MERI, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Iraq’s Kurds. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm at The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington DC. 


20 September 2015 / Announcement 
Mark your agenda for MERI Forum 2015:       3 - 5 November 2015 - Erbil 

Building on last year’s highly successful forum, MERI Forum 2015 will bring together policy- and decision-makers, academics and opinion-leaders to discuss on "Sharing Visions for the Future of the Middle East". Over the course of three days, the conference will aim to provide a platform for dialogue and reconciliation, providing creative and constructive answers to a range of policy issues. Last year’s Forum was a significant event as it brought together the President of Iraq and Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, combined with the current and former Prime Ministers from the KRG, who sat down to debate current political, social and economic developments. It was first event of its kind in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. Details and photos of last year’s event can be found on our website.

Read more here.

Senior Officials & Diplomats at MERI  

20 September 2015 / Meetings
Initiating a dialogue on the future of the displace population in the Kurdistan Region

Since the onset of the current conflict in Iraq in early 2014, there have been approximately 3.2 million people internally displaced, out of a total population of 35 million people. Close to one million of these internally displace people (IDPs) sought protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which already hosts approximately 250,000 refugees from Syria. Although the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the international community have extended significant material and infrastructure assistance, the current approach to the crisis is not sustainable, in the long-term. Therefore, there is the need to initiate dialogue that addresses the future of the displaced populations in Kurdistan. 

A halted construction site in Erbil

20 September 2015 / Opinion
Negotiations for international loans for Kurdistan should resume with a clearer vision

The KRG recently sought to borrow up to $5 billion from international banks in order to meet its financial needs amidst a severe economic crisis. This decision seemed appropriate, given the KRG’s insolvency after disputes with the central government in Baghdad, which froze the budget transfer in early 2014. However, hopes of the KRG obtaining a loan promptly disappeared due to internal disagreements. The subsequent presidential dispute during the month of August was the last nail in the coffin. However, the only other way out of the current economic crisis, at least in the short term, is to re-take efforts to bring in fresh capital to cover for the money Kurdistan is unable to generate internally. 

Ms Nancy Lindborg, President of USIP with Mr Ala'aldeen

21 September 2015 / Meetings
The United States Institute of Peace engages with MERI

“The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is actively engaged with partners on the ground in Iraq and continues to explore ways of assisting further. We have heard much about MERI and were keen to visit and discuss issues of mutual interest with you” said Ms Nancy Lindborg, President of USIP, during her visit to MERI’s office in Erbil on 10 September, 2015. The delegation were particularly interested in issues relating to internally displaced people and refugees, and wished to learn more about current KRG strategies for both their short and long term future.

 Eckart Woertz, Senior Fellow at CIDOB

16 September 2015 / Events
Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East

"The Middle East is well known for being a pivotal actor in global oil production. It is less known that it also imports a third of the globally traded cereals. Middle Eastern states consider dependency on food imports a strategic liability, similar to the West’s perception of its dependence on oil imports, and this geopolitical stance shapes the global food markets." Eckart Woertz, Senior Research Fellow at Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, argued in a MERI seminar.

Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of Department of Foreign Relations 

22 September 2015 / Meetings
Department of Foreign Relations at MERI 

“Policy research institutes like MERI are indispensable to governmental institutions in democratic countries, and we would be delighted to engage in a collaborative partnership an sign an MoU with MERI” said the Head of Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) Minister Falah Mustafa in a visit to MERI’s office on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015. The aim of the meeting was to explore areas of collaboration and cooperation between the two institution, particularly on policy research, debating strategies and initiating projects.

Federica Mogherini and Minister al-Jaffari

14 September 2015 / Opinion 

Middle East in transition: can Europe shape the new order?

The Middle East has been, and will continue to be, the toughest neighbourhood on the planet. It is a region marred by turmoil, conflict and displacements, intervened by periods of lull and wholesale repression. These patterns are not entirely chaotic or random. They are ‘orderly’, structured and inextricably linked to changes in global power dynamics. They change and evolve with the emergence or collapse of global drivers, superpowers.

Minister Noori Othman, Head of Department of Coordination & Follow Up 

20 September 2015 / Meetings
MERI and Department of Coordination and Follow-Up discuss areas of reform and collaboration 

"We share MERI's objectives for reforming the system of governance in Kurdistan Regin" said Minister Noori Othman, Head of KRG's Department of Coordination and Follow Up while receiving MERI's team in his offcie in Erbil. In the meeting, the two sides agreed to initiate a number of collaborative engagements in support of the reform process in a number of KRG ministries. The two sides also decided to focus on priority areas for specific collaborative projects, including, quality assurance in administration and performance management in key institutions.


September / Press
MERI Mentions 

selection of recent articles where MERI received international media coverage.


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The Middle East Research Institute (MERI) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, focused on policy issues relating to the people, the land and the system of governance in the Middle East in general, and Kurdistan and Iraq in particular. It is based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.


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