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January, 2015
MERI & Al-Sharq Conference
  • Policy Debate on Turkey-KRG Relations, Erbil, January 26, 2015
MERI at Shaping Davos
  • MERI takes part in the World Economic Forum
MERI Research Projects Update
  • Rule of Law Initiative
  • Prevention of Violence against Women
  • Social Cohesion and Sustainable Livelihoods
  • The Middle East at Breaking Point: Turkey's Neighbourhood Policy and the Need for Enhanced "Soft" Power
  • Farewell to Growth in Iraq, until when?
Rule of Law Initiative

Democracy and Governance Program
As part of its Democracy and Governance Program, MERI has launched an initiative to strengthen the 'Rule of Law' in the Kurdistan Region. After a period of intense studies of Kurdistan Region's legal system and institutions of democracy, MERI is now collaborating with all relevant bodies to help reform the current system of governance.

The 'Rule of Law' is a critical force in the process of nation-building. The Ministry of Justice and the Judicial Council have been forthcoming in implementing MERI's proposal as an overall reform effort to improve the quality of services provided to the public and strengthen state action. In recent 
meetings with Chief Justice Ahmed Zubair, the President of the Judicial Counciland the heads of the Appeal Courts of Erbil, Sulemani, Dohuk and Garmian, the foundations for close future collaboration were laid. 

During the meeting, the empowerment of judges through the implementation of already developed and consensual strategies was debated in detail. The President of the Judicial Council stated, 'we are committed and open to reforms' and assured his will and support for collaboration.

For more information on our activities, please visit our website:

MERI at Shaping Davos

MERI was part of the World Economic Forum with Dlawer Ala'Aldeen participating online in a panel discussion on "Religion: A Pretext for Conflict?" Elaborating his views, Dlawer was of the opinion that a barbarian interpretation of Islam has filled the void in the Middle Eastern region which is characterised in recent times by the crumbling of several dysfunctional and crumbling states.

The roots of Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria stem from social and economic deprivation, the lack of investment in nation-building and state-building and the lack of rule of law and social justice. Critiquing the international stakeholders, Dlawer stated that the superpowers have over the decades established good relations with the elites in the Islamic world, while failing to connect with the grassroots and the general public. 

Now, the balance of power has changed, with radical non-state actors permeating the public sphere, and there is much greater need to make head ways to guarantee political, economic and social development so that the underlying causes of fundamentalism are eradicated.

Prevention of Violence against Women

Democracy and Governance Program
MERI is currently implementing, together with the Ministry of Interior, an extensive Quality Assurance program to improve public services provided by the police. In a recent Workshop on Quality Assurance, 25 police officers plus officials from the General Directorate on Violence against Women and the Ministry of Interior received extensive training. Karim Sinjari, the Minister of Interior, was presented a Quality Assurance Manuafor special police units for combating domestic and gender-based violence.

Furthermore, MERI recently hosted a 
debate to amend the Law to Combat Domestic Violence. This draft will be finalised on January 28 and subsequently presented to the parliament. With such an initiative, MERI's Democracy and Governance program has initiated a process to combine the efforts of various stakeholders to establish an efficient system of governance so as to address current and future challenges to the Kurdistan Region.

For more information on our activities, please visit our website:

Social Cohesion and Sustainable Livelihoods

Economics, Energy and Environment Program
The onset of 2015 has been marked by a turning point in activities related to the promotion of social cohesion and sustainable livelihoods among displaced and host communities in Iraq. As Peshmerga have recaptured much of Nineveh's northern districts, it has raised the prospect of mass returns to the areas of Sinjar, Zummar, Rubiya and Al-Qosh. This generates a drastically new scenario, where tensions between the 'stayees' and 'returnees' of different ethnic and religious communities will arise. The devastated condition of the district will definitely contribute to an already volatile situation.

UNAMI and OCHA have led the preparation of the so-called "Contingency Plan for Nineveh's IDP Return." The two major priorities are, firstly, restoration of the basic infrastructure and secondly, enhancement of social cohesion through the promotion of livelihood opportunities for all communities, an area which MERI has been actively engaged with.

When the wounds of conflict remain raw, initiatives for reconciliation or peace building have a high chance of failing. In order to address this, the promotion of early recovery activities where the individuals of different communities are interdependent for their success is a way to strengthen cohesion ties. This is the principle that MERI, as one of the partners within the contingency plan, has been endorsing.
Athanasios Manis - The Middle East at Breaking Point: Turkey's Neighbourhood Policy and the Need for Enhanced "Soft" Power
        Is Turkey's failure in the Middle East because of the changing dynamics following the Arab Spring transcending the country's foreign policy capacity or is it because of the under-performance of its foreign policy? Read the full Policy Note here....
Roger Guiu - Farewell to Growth in Iraq, until when?
        The political turmoil in 2014 has put an end to 10 years of robust economic growth in Iraq. Baghdad must undertake structural reforms in order to navigate the new economic scenario ahead. Read more here....
The Middle East Research Institute is organising a joint conference with Al-Sharq Forum, featuring a high-level delegation of Turkish policy-makers, academics and journalists. Together with KRG Representatives and local influential figures they will discuss an array of topics related to Turkey-KRG relations. During the course of the day, the following themes will be in focus:

Turkey's Kurdish Peace Process: Past, Present and Future Prospects
  • Where is Turkey in the Kurdish Peace Process?
  • The regional context of Turkey's Kurdish Peace Process
  • Kurdish Peace Process: What role for the KRG?
  • The Kurdish Peace Process: An imperative for intra-Kurdish reconciliation in a regional setting
  • Turkey's media and civil society, and the peace process: a facilitating force or an impediment
Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government: Politics, Economics and Security
  • Transformation in regional politics and its implication on Turkey-KRG Relations
  • Turkey and KRG Relations in pre- and post-ISIS period?
  • Turkey and KRG's view on war on ISIS
  • The case for closer cooperation between Turkey and the KRG in a crisis-ridden region
  • Turkey-KRG-Baghdad Triangle: View from Baghdad
  • The prospect of cooperation between Turkey, the KRG, and Iraq under a new government in Baghdad
  • Business as a catalyst of Turkey-KRG Relations: prospects and challenges
  • Turkey and the KRG: an energy partnership in motion
N.B. Attendance to the conference is by invitation only.
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