Promoting peace and stability in Iraq and Kurdistan is of utmost importance for the US interests in the Middle East, underlined the new US Consul General, Ken Gross, during his visit at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) on Wednesday, 24 August, 2016. Consul General Gross started his mission in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq two months ago.
In his meeting with MERI’s research fellows, the US Consul General showed particular interest in the Institute’s past and current research in the fields of international politics, economy, security and humanitarian aid. MERI’s President, Dlawer Ala’Aldeen and research fellows Dylan O’Driscoll, Athanasios Manis and Khogir Wirya had the opportunity to present the institute’s latest findings and observations regarding the war against the Islamic State, liberation of Mosul, conflict prevention among Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities and the political and economic situation in Iraqi Kurdistan.
During his visit, the US Consul General observed that Mosul is a key battle in the war against the Islamic State and that the international community has to come together to address the issue. MERI’s President mentioned that people have high expectations in the role of the US in the region. He stressed that the US should help the KRI to become the partner they deserve through constructive engagement.
The US Consul General underlined the role of think tanks in supporting policy- and decision-making in a country that aspires to establish good governance and democracy. He also emphasised the importance of fostering evidence-based research and constructive criticism that can help decision-makers to make informed decisions and therefore the role of MERI is particularly important.
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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).