MERI Forum 2014

MERI Forum 2014

The Middle East in Transition: The Need for Dialogue and Reconciliation

4-6 November, 2014
Rotana Hotel, Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

The inaugural Forum of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI Forum 2014) was held from 4-6 November 2014 at the Rotana Hotel in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

MERI Forum 2014 brought together decision-makers, academics and opinion-leaders to discuss a range of social, economic, and political issues. Over the course of three days, the conference provided a forum for dialogue and reconciliation providing creative and constructive answers to a range of policy issues.

Providing a Forum for Debate

The Forum was a significant event as it brought together the President of Iraq and Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, combined with the current and former Prime Ministers from the KRG, who sat down to debate current political issues. The first event of its kind in Iraq. These senior politicians were also given the opportunity to answer questions from an audience comprising of diplomats, academics, students and the public.

Being the first time since the Islamic State advances in both Iraq and Syria that decision-makers and academic experts could openly debate complex and sensitive issues, gave the Forum added importance. The panel discussions touched on a wide range of topics that have an impact on Iraq, Kurdistan and the region as a whole. The panellists engaged in these debates in a neutral and independent setting which allowed the Forum to address the following topics:

  • The Future of the Disputed Territories
  • The War on ISIS
  • Sunni Re-engagement: Chances of Success
  • The New Middle East Order: Threats and Opportunities
  • Dialogue and Reconciliation: The State of Nation Building in Iraq
  • Iran and the US: The Impact of a Changing Relationship
  • Turkey in the Neighbourhood
  • The Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Political Dependence or Economic Independence

Promoting Dialogue and Reconciliation

The ultimate objective of MERI Forum was to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the wider Middle East through dialogue and reconciliation. MERI believes that this process and culture is pivotal in determining the long-term stability of Iraq and the wider Middle East.

During the Forum, Salim Al-Jubouri, Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, put forward the idea of the establishment of a Council of Wisdom in Iraq. This council would address the idea of Dialogue and Reconciliation in Iraq which prompted a favourable response from the President of Iraq, Fuad Masum. Salim Al-Jabouri proposed that Fuad Masum should preside over such a Council to which the President agreed. MERI hopes that this will remain as one of the positive long-term outcomes of the Forum, which will help foster a culture of dialogue throughout the Middle East.

To view videos and transcripts, click here