“We are delighted about the existence of such a prestigious institute [MERI] in Kurdistan that conducts rigorous research and attempts to bring together the different key actors at different levels,” said Mr. Murtaza Abbadi, the Consul General of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Erbil in a visit to the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) on Tuesday, 29 September 2015.
During the visit, Mr Abbadi met with MERI team and discussed the current state of affairs in the Middle East in general and the nature of Iran-Kurdistan relations in particular. The focus was on ways to foster greater mutually-rewarding cooperation.
Addressing the root causes of the current turmoil in the Middle East, Professor Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, President of MERI, noted that “the previous Middle East order was supportive of oppressive regimes which undermined unity and nation-building. Once these regimes were removed, rivals actors failed to bring unity and polarised the communities and created voids which were filled by radicalised groups”. He went on to state that “stability in the region can be achieved via promoting dialogue and engagement, and building confidence between stakeholders.
Both sides agreed that building bridges between academics, decision-makers, diplomats, advisors and intellectuals from both Iran and the Kurdistan Region are necessary to achieve these objectives. Think tanks can create an impartial and appropriate environment for exchanging ideas, fostering good relationship and for experts to develop good insights that will be critical for informing policy- and decision-making.
In total agreement, Mr. Abbadi noted that, “Iran find it in its interest for Kurdistan Region to be stable and prosperous. Iran was the first country to come to the assistance of the Kurdistan Region during the war on ISIS.” He also expressed his enthusiasm to facilitiate MERI’s engagement with its counterparts in Iran, particularly the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS).
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About MERI: The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region. Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.
MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).