American Univesity of Beirut

Deputy prime minister of Kurdistan Region speaks at AUB

​​​Safa Jafari Safa, ​Office of Communications,​

AUB hosted Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Qubad Talabani who briefed journalists and academics on the Kurdish situation and the challenges that face the region. Through discussions and talks that were held at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI)​, Talabani offered his insight on the various factors that impact present and future dynamics for the development of the Kurdistan and wider region. 

A discussion was held under the title “Iraq, Middle East: A Kurdish Perspective,” which tackled the political and administrative challenges facing Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Talabani highlighted KRG’s economic reform plan as a primary strategy to recover and reconstruct the region.

A public lecture followed on the challenges that face the Kurdistan Region. Moderated by Ben Hubberd, head of The New York Times Beirut office, the lecture underlined the difficult times that the KRG has endured since 2014 and the repercussions that still linger. It referred to the financial and humanitarian crises that the subsequent governments of the Iraqi Kurdish region were faced with, as 1.8 million people flooded into the Kurdish region, fleeing war and violence in Iraq. Along with the crises came social changes that resulted from displacement, and the dilemmas in dealing with trauma and social fragmentation were accompanied by insufficient social work and resources.

Talabani emphasized the importance of governance and participation for an improved quality of life and a necessary building of a society that can sustain crises. “Focusing on policy instead of politics is a good way of governance… The challenge facing the region as a whole is how to close the gap in governance in order to build better societies,” said Talabani.

He added that the proper management of resources, policymaking, and provision of services is essential for both the recovery, sustainability, and further development of KRG. Kurdistan grew exponentially between 2005 and 2012, when investments were flooding in, causing a short-lived boom that was unprotected by proper governance and legal setting. Reforms have started and a more gradual growth is aimed for. This, according to Talabani, requires streamlined governance, and collaboration with the private sector.  

“Success stories from controversial measures will breed more success in the future,” said Talabani.

“The visit of Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani to AUB was a great opportunity for our community and the wider Lebanese public to get more exposure to the challenges and realities facing the people of Kurdistan and the never-ending quest of the people of the region, including the Lebanese, to achieve good governance and wider participatory democracy,” said Dr. Makram Rabah, AUB history professor, who coordinated the event. 

“Talabani's talks were extremely engaging and the audience was reminded that the real challenges are seldom external and that in order for developing countries to stand up to extremism, they need to invest in proper state-building and the establishment of the rule of law,” added Rabah.

The IFI serves as a platform for public policy dialogue tackling international affairs with a special focus on the Middle East region. It hosts analysts, scholars, officials, and political figures to engage in dialogue and share their perspectives and analyses based on their experience.

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