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The Third Annual Conference

The Evolving Geopolitics in the post-ISIL Middle East


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

11:40 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The National Press Club

First Amendment Lounge

529 14th St NW Washington, DC 20045

* RSVP is required

All attendees will receive a valid QR code via email to pass through security gates at the entrance of The National Press Club.

We are pleased to announce the KPRC’s Third annual conference which will be held on November 14, 2018 at 12:00 at The National Press Club, in Washington, D.C.


The conference aims to bring together leading academics, journalists, commentators, politicians and policy makers to offer perspectives on the fast-evolving situation in the Middle East, and particularly on Kurdish people’s rise to political and military significance in the region against the backdrop of the fall of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the rise of Iran as the new regional power.

Deliberations will be on the following themes:


How is Tehran’s rapid rise in the Middle East and its interventionist foreign policy undermining regional and global power relations while posing an existential threat to the Kurdish political gains in Iraq and Syria?


How has the campaign of violence and intimidation become the basis for the grip on power that Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party maintain? What are the geopolitical implications of Turkey’s policies towards the crisis in the Middle East and the Turkish involvement in Syria, which are frequently at odds with U.S. policies? Could Turkey resume its so-called ‘Democratic Initiative’ or ‘Kurdish Opening’ as the country is suffering through one of its worst economic and political crises stemming from its anti-Kurdish position? 


What will be the new phase of U.S.-Kurdish relations in the post-ISIL period as ISIL subdued leaving its place to a much serious and strategic threat posed by Iran and its proxies in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere? Will the Trump administration continue and consolidate its partnership with Kurds in an effort to compel Iran and its proxies to leave Syria and Iraq? How long the US will tolerate the Turkish occupation of Syria? Could an agreement that disregards the Kurdish interests remedy fundamental issues in the Middle East and serve long-term U.S. interests in the region?


We hope that you can join us for this exciting event that aims at offering a better understanding of the enduring conflicts in the Middle East and potential solutions.


11:40 a.m.   Registration

                    Snacks and coffee available

12:00 p.m. Opening remarks by Dr. Deniz Ekici, Executive Director, Kurdish Policy Research Center (KPRC)


Panel I: Geopolitical implications of Turkey’s policies towards the crisis in the Middle East


Speakers:  Dr. Aykan Erdemir, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

                  Mr. Giran Ozcan, The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Representative to the US

Moderator: Dr. Nazan Bedirhanoglu, Postdoctoral Fellow, Wellesley College; Visiting Fellow, Middle East Studies at Brown University

Panel II: The new phase of US-Kurdish relations in the fast-evolving Syrian conflict

Speakers:   Ms. Ilham Ahmad, Senior Member of the Syrian Democratic Council

                   Mr. Bassam Ishak, President, The Syriac National Council in Syria

                   Ms. Sarah N. Stern, The Founder and the President of Endowment for Middle East Truth

Moderator:  Mr. Ethem Coban, Research Associate, Public International Law & Policy Group; Coordinator, Kurdish Studies Network

Panel III: Tehran’s growing influence in the Middle East: How did Iraq and Syria become satellite states of Iran?

Speakers:    Dr. Najmaddin Karim, Former Governor of Kirkuk

                    Dr. David Pollock, Bernstein Fellow, Director of Project Fikra, The Washington Institute

                    Dr. Harold Rhode, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Gatestone Institute


Moderator:   Dr. Amy Austin Holmes, Fellow, The Wilson International Center for Scholars; Visiting Scholar, Weatherhead Scholars Program, Harvard University

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