Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Representation in the United States

Washington, D.C.
October/November 2014 Newsletter

Senior KRG Delegation to visit Washington November 17-20


Chief of Staff of the President of the Kurdistan Region Dr. Fuad Hussein and Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir will be in Washington November 17-20 to meet with numerous US administration officials and members of Congress to discuss the military and humanitarian issues facing the Kurdistan Region. 


On November 10, President Obama asked US Congress to authorize $5.6 billion to fight ISIS. Of this, $1.6 billion is to be allocated for the Iraq Train and Equip Fund, which will be used to train and arm three Peshmerga brigades and several Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) brigades against ISIS. He also committed an additional 1,500 US military to Iraq to advise Peshmerga and ISF. 


The humanitarian situation remains dire. The Kurdistan Region continues to host over 1.4 million refugees and with winter approaching, hundreds of thousands are still in need of essential winterizing supplies. UNHCR recently reported a nearly $60 billion shortfall in their relief for this winter in Iraq, and winterizing supplies for many hundreds of thousands are critically needed.

Head of Foreign Relations addresses leading US academic and business institutions


The Head of the Department of Foreign Relations was in Washington, Boston, and New York in early November to address leading academic and business institutions. Among his stops, Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir spoke to audiences at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), and the Business Council for International Understanding. In his speeches, the Minister focused on the Peshmerga offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the conditions and needs of the 1.6 million refugees and internally displaced persons in the Kurdistan Region, and outstanding issued between Erbil and Baghdad, in particular Kurdistan's share of the federal budget.

Watch the event at SAIS here.

Read the official press release here.

KRG-US leads delegation of Congressional staff to Kurdistan


A group of six Congressional staffers concluded a four-day delegation to the Kurdistan Region on Friday, October 28. The delegation consisted of staffers from foreign affairs, homeland security, and armed services committees. The trip was coordinated by KRG-US Director of Congressional and Academic Affairs Karwan Zebari and conducted under the Iraq-US Department of State Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act.


During their visit, the delegation visited Erbil Citadel and numerous cultural sites, spoke with the President of the University of Duhok, and was hosted by several senior KRG officials. They also had an opportunity to speak with refugees about the challenges they are facing in their displacement.

KRG-US welcomes new Director of Congressional Affairs


KRG-US is pleased to welcome Remziya Suleyman as the new Director of Congressional Affairs. Remziya has long been active in advocacy in her native Nashville and in Washington. Prior to joining KRG-US, Remziya was the Director of Policy & Administration with the American Center for Outreach, a Tennessee based, political advocacy organization, that she co-founded in 2012 dedicated to the civic and political engagement of Tennessee Muslims. She holds a Master's in Public Administration and certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tennessee State University. She is known for her political activism on immigration issues, interfaith organizing, and her work to raise awareness on the Kurdish genocide. 


You can follow her on Twitter @Remziya

Chief of Staff of Iraqi Security Forces hosted at KRG-US Mission

KRG-US was honored to host the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Iraqi Security Forces General Babakir Zebari in October for a luncheon and discussion of the current security situation in Iraq. The General and his advisors provided status updates on the fight against ISIS. General Babakir Zebari was in Washington as part of a summit of over 20 international defense ministers hosted by top US military officials at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to discussion the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIS.

Kurdish-American activists rally support for Kobani, Kurdistan

Numerous protests, demonstrations, and marches in support of action to protect Kobani continue to take place throughout the US. The siege of the city by ISIS terrorists is ongoing. Local Kurdish militias are engaged in the battle with artillery support from a contingent of over 150 Peshmerga from the Kurdistan Region, as well as air support from US and coalition forces.
Through petitions, public demonstrations, marches, performances, and even a hunger strike, the activism by the Kurdish-American community was crucial to educating the public and garnering support for the defense of Kobani.  

KRG-US Director visits Harvard University to discuss archaeology in Kurdistan


KRG-US Director of Culture and Community Affairs addressed a group of distinguished archaeologists at Harvard University working in coordination with KRG-US and KRG Directorate of Antiquities to map and uncover Kurdistan's rich archaeological heritage. Harvard University is currently in the second year of the Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey, a project that has mapped over 1,200 ancient sites ranging from 6400 BC to 600 AD.

Valparaiso University holds panel on ISIS and Kurdistan with KRG-US Director 


KRG-US Director of Public Affairs Alex Ebsary visited Valparaiso University in late October to meet Kurdish students and Valparaiso faculty, and speak at a conference on Kurdistan and the threat of ISIS in the region. At the conference with 200 members of the student body and the public in attendance, questions from the audience sought information about the Kurdistan Region, the origin of ISIS, and the threat it poses for the future. Over 30 students from the Kurdistan Region are enrolled in graduate studies at Valparaiso University, many of whom are supported through KRG's Human Capacity Development Program.


Marywood University hosts Model UN exercise with KRG-US Director as keynote speaker


KRG-US Director Karwan Zebari delivered the keynote speech at Marywood University's Model UN conference. In his speech he provided updates on the current security, humanitarian, and political development in the Kurdistan Region, and highlighted the role that international diplomacy has played in the global response to ISIS. The students later conducted an exercise in which the drew up and voted on several UN Security Council Resolutions.

Founder of Kurdish Ronahee Foundation visits Washington 


Jiyan Merani, founder of the Erbil-based Ronahee NGO visited Washington this week to update local humanitarian organizations on the current needs of displaced families in Kurdistan. On November 9, Catholic University in Washington hosted a roundtable discussion headed by Mrs. Merani of NGO officials, Congressional staffers, and academics. Founded in 1999,  the Ronahee Foundation provides targeted relief to refugees, as well as medical procedures including critical surgeries to those in need in the Kurdistan Region. 


Their website can be found here.

Dr. Najmaldin Karim visits KRG-US Mission


KRG-US had the pleasure of hosting the distinguished Governor of Kirkuk Dr. Najmaldin Karim for coffee and a discussion of the situation in Kirkuk. 


Kirkuk is on the front lines against ISIS and currently hosts over 100,000 refugees and internally displaced persons. 


Kurdistan National Congress holds annual conference


The Kurdish National Congress of North America held their annual conference on September 27 and 28 at the Marriott Hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia. KRG-US Directors Najat Abdullah and Karwan Zebari spoke separately on economic development in the Kurdistan Region, and the complex challenges facing the KRG with the advance of ISIS. The event was well-attended by influential members of the Kurdish-American community. Najat Abdullah was elected to the KNC Board of Directors at the conclusion of the meeting.

Photo credits:
KRG-US, Ronahee

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter

Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Representation in the United States

1532 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA