Event Reports

MERI Forum 2019

Ending Wars – Winning Peace In The Middle East

The MERI Forum 2019, which was made possible by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation and the Middle East Research Institute, aimed to provide a forum for dialogue and networking for policy and decision-makers, academics, opinion-leaders, civil society leaders and journalists to provide creative and constructive answers to a range of policy issues. A diverse range of social, economic, security and political issues were on the agenda of the MERI Forum 2019. Centring on the key themes of stability, democracy, and governance, the conference also aimed to highlight areas for further improvement that could contribute to greater understanding of the current crisis and challenges facing Iraq and the broader region in this autumn of 2019.

The ultimate objective of the MERI Forum is to promote peace, stability and prosperity through dialogue, reconciliation and rule-of-law - all pivotal in working towards a long-term stability of Iraq and the wider Middle East.

The conference aimed not only to build bridges and enhancing networks between policy-makers but also to provide an opportunity to include academics, experts and practitioners into critical, open and democratic debates concerning issues of institution building, governance and conflict resolution in Iraq and in the region – specifically including Kurdistan. Additionally, it sought to improve leadership accountability by providing a platform for interaction between political leaders and the general public. Hence, the MERI Forum engendered opportunities for researchers and journalists to access information, creating opportunities for future publications and deepening discussions and analyses.

Timely planned just after the outbreak of the protest in central Iraq the forum also provided a platform for policy makers, civil society, experts and the international community to come together and discuss possible paths forward facing the political crisis, voicing concerns and exchanging views on the situation on the ground.

Through moderated panel-discussions, the Forum provided a neutral and independent setting for national and international academics, experts and political actors to share ideas and debate the issues at hand. Participants and panellists included both the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Masrour Barzani, and the President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, as well as Qubad Talabani, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, representatives from the central Iraqi government and several ambassadors, including the French, US, Russian and EU ambassador.

The MERI Form 2019 was a successful format in bringing together regional and international actors and will be continued in 2020. More information on the Forum 2019 and the Middel East Research Institute in Erbil, Kurdistan, can be found here.