MEI Political-Economy Cluster: Iraq - How Social Harmony can Promote Tolerance and Peace   
Date: 07 December 2017 Time: 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM  
Speaker(s): H.E. Lukman Faily,
Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States
Venue: MEI Conference Room, Level 6
29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace
Block B #06-06
Singapore 119620

(This event is organized by MEI’s Political Economy Research Cluster, as part of their quarterly public speakers series.)


Abstract

This lecture gives a brief overview of the unique history of Iraq; its many civilizations, distinctive geography, diverse culture, etc. It attempts to identify the factors of why and how Iraq, a rich country in so many ways, has been mismanaged in the past few decades. The speaker argues that because of Iraq’s abundant advantages, it could have played a major role in international politics leveraging on among others, its ability to influence the geopolitics of oil, being the melting pot of ethnicities and a capital of Islamic theological studies.

The speaker highlights the importance of social harmony and why lack of it has had an adverse impact on Iraq. He lists several “cultural narratives” that cause the breakdown of social harmony in Iraq which include:

  • Time and its relativity                    
  • Pride     
  • Nation building vs. state building
  • Cease of major national political projects            
  • Leadership types  
  • Rule of law
  • Legitimacy vs. power
  • Aspired democracy     
  • Undefined social contract

He also proposes various requirements, needs and enablers of social harmony in the country that will pave the way forward for its social and national development.

About the Speaker

Lukman Faily recently served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iraq to the United States from May 2013 until June 2016. He has been a high-profile spokesperson for his government and Iraqi affairs, engaging with members of Congress, academia and think tank communities. Regular appearances on English and Arabic TV and radio news and particularly active on social media. Frequently speaks at public events in Iraq, Washington and across the United States and United Kingdom. He served previously as Iraq’s ambassador to Japan for three years. He now provides some consultancy services for US and international companies on Iraqi and regional markets.

Ambassador Faily lived in the United Kingdom for 20 years and held management and leadership roles in the British affiliates of two American companies for over a decade. An active leader in the large Iraqi diaspora community, Ambassador Faily served as a trustee of several Iraqi NGOs while in the UK. He was an outspoken opponent of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and advocated for democracy, dialogue, development and rule of law in Iraq.

Fluent in English, Arabic and Kurdish, Ambassador Faily was born in Baghdad in 1966. He is married to Lameis Faily and is the father of four boys and a girl. An avid runner, Ambassador Faily participated in a number of marathons including Tokyo in 2012 and 2013, and in the Boston and New York Marathons in 2014.



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