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Iraq’s Economy: Challenges and Opportunities

08.30 a.m. – 09.30 a.m. Registration and light breakfast

09.30 a.m. Opening remarks

Introduction by:

  • Sasha Toperich, Senior Fellow and Director, Mediterranean Basin Initiative, CTR-SAIS
  • Michael J. Delaney, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South Asia
  • Lukman Faily, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the United States

10 a.m. – 11.15 a.m. Economic Mosaic of Iraq


  • Joseph S. Pennington, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Iraq, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Noori Abdulrahman, Chairman, Board of Investment and Minister of Coordination and Follow Up, Kurdistan Regional Government
  • James Parks, Financial Advisor to the KRG Deputy Prime Minister



11.15 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Coffee break

11.30 a.m. – 12.45 p.m. Centralization or Decentralization of Iraq’s Economic and Commercial Policy


  • Hoger Shalli, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Electricity, Kurdistan Regional Goverment
  • Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States
  • Sami Al-Araji, Head of the Iraq National Investment Commission (Via Skype)
  • Justin Carney, Regional Vice-President, Middle East North Africa at Business Impact Networks


  • Daniel Serwer, Professor and Director, Conflict Management Program, and Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS

12:45 p.m. – 1.15 p.m. Doing Business in Iraq

Iraq Commercial Office, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Washington, D.C.

12.30 – 12.45 p.m. Speech:

  • Jasim Husein, Commercial Attache’, Iraq Commercial Office, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

12.45 – 1 p.m. Presentation:

  • Qasim Basry, Executive Assistant, Iraq Commercial Office, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

1.15 p.m. – 2.30 p.m. Lunch Break

2.30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Business Challenges and Opportunities


  • Steve Lutes, Executive Director, Middle East Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Ginger Cruz, CEO, Mantid International LLC
  • Rebwar Berzinji, Founder and President, Pericles Capital Advisors, LLC


  • Sasha Toperich

4 p.m. – 5.15 p.m. Economic Growth and Trade Competitiveness  Through Job Creation and SME’s


  • Zainab Allawi, Advisor to Executive Director, The World Bank
  • Marc Tejtel, Deputy Chief Counsel for the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), US Department of Commerce
  • Christopher Schroeder, Venture Investor and Author, Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East


  • Rebeen Pasha, Founder & President SDH/REbuild Iraq and Middle East Young Entrepenurs’ Dreams

5.15 – 5.30 p.m. Coffee Break

5.30 p.m. – 6.45 p.m. Private Sector Growth – Strengthening Transatlantic Partnership



  • Sasha Toperich

6.45 p.m. Reception

Video recordings of all public events are available on the JHU SAIS YouTube Channel 48 hours after the event