About the Conference

The 2003 invasion of Iraq marked a critical turning point in America’s relationship with Iraq and its neighboring countries, a region of strategic importance encompassing vital energy and military interests, and reshaped its diplomatic relations worldwide. This conference was convened by the Dean of Georgetown University in Qatar, Dr. Safwan Masri, in collaboration with the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS). Taking a regional perspective, this meeting provided an opportunity to reflect on the many geopolitical and socioeconomic consequences of the conflict that continue to reverberate across the globe twenty years later.

Keynote Speaker

His Excellency Dr. Barham Salih

Former President of the Republic of Iraq

Dr. Barham Salih served as the eighth President of the Republic of Iraq from 2018-2022. In addition to serving as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region from 2009-2012, Dr. Salih is also the founder of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. A veteran Iraqi Kurdish politician with years of public service and leadership experience in both the Kurdistan Region and federal Iraq, Dr. Salih recently published an expert analysis piece titled “20 Years After Liberation, Iraq Needs Root-and-Branch Reform.”


The main objective of the conference was to bring together experts from the U.S., the Middle East, and other regions of the world to discuss the ways in which America’s invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq have shaped the U.S., MENA, and the world over the past twenty years. The conference focused on key geopolitical groupings of Iraq’s regional neighbors, and covered critical cross-cutting themes, including the emergence of Da’esh, women in post-invasion Iraq, issues of global governance, climate change, and natural resource management.