Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q)’s three-day conference, “The Invasion of Iraq: Regional Reflections,” opens on Thursday, September 14, with discussions on the multifaceted impacts of the conflict and its repercussions for global diplomacy. 

Former president of the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Dr. Barham Salih, is set to deliver a distinguished keynote address and share further insights in a conversation with Peter Harling, founder and director of the Beirut-based Synaps Network. 


The conference is convened by GU-Q’s Dean, Dr. Safwan Masri, in collaboration with the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). Dr. Robert Groves, Provost of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and Dean Masri will present opening remarks. 

“It’s a great honor and pleasure to have the Honorable Barham Salih deliver the keynote speech at the conference. A long-term Kurdish Iraqi politician, who served as the eighth president of Iraq between 2018 and 2022, he has a profound, personal understanding of the complexities involved in Iraq’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious socio-political landscape. His participation is a significant element of the conference and will add an invaluable and authoritative voice to the discussions,” noted Dean Masri.

The opening will also feature a high-level panel, “The Iraq War and Global Diplomacy,” with senior diplomats sharing their perspectives on the role of international diplomacy during and after the 2003 invasion. The engaging discussion will be moderated by Al Jazeera’s Laila Al Shaikhli.

Running until September 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, the conference creates an inclusive space for an exchange of perspectives among top scholars including GU-Q faculty, policymakers, journalists, filmmakers, and the wider public.

“At the heart of this conference lies a dedicated effort to elevate diverse voices and perspectives from within Iraq,” emphasized Zahra Babar, Associate Director for Research at CIRS. “Our goal is to transcend the boundaries of scholarly discourse, and to ensure that the lived experiences and personal narratives of Iraqis are an integral part of the conversation.”

With a focus on Iraq’s current political, social, and economic dynamics, September 15 will feature a plenary on “Regional Security Perceptions Post-US Invasion of Iraq.” Discussions will probe youth and activism, relations with Iraq’s key regional neighbors, as well as the view from Kuwait and Qatar. The closing day on September 16 will consider the obstacles confronting future generations such as the emergence of Da’esh, the role of women, global governance, and natural resource management, with a final plenary on “US Foreign Policy towards the Region.”

GU-Q’s Hiwaraat Conference Series has been launched as a platform that brings together scholars, policymakers, and government officials from around the world to explore challenges and solutions for a better future.

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