The Kurdish Role in the New Middle East
Organized by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Representative Office in the U.S.
Date: Monday, 28 October 2013, 09:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.
Place: The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
529 14th St NW Washington, D.C., 20045
The Kurds have emerged as crucial regional actors out of the rapid political transformations that have been sweeping the Middle East over the last decade. This trend has accelerated with the Arab Spring. The “Kurdish problems” that have been compartmentalized across the four nation-states in the Middle East are now more interconnected and more globalized. This has been pressuring Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran as well as global powers to revise their conventional Kurdish policies.
The Kurds have been viewed as an element of regional instability throughout the twentieth century. Recent political developments, however, strongly suggest that while the provision of justice for Kurds is essential for the restoration and maintenance of order in the Middle East, the Kurds themselves command valuable political, economic, social and human resources to contribute to the advancement of peace and stability for the states and peoples of the region in the twenty first century.
With such vision, we invite you to this conference which brings together academics, experts and politicians from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and the US to discuss the changing situation and role of the Kurds in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the developments in Turkey and Syria and the Kurdish National Conference to be held in Erbil in November 2013, and foster constructive dialogue among conference participants as well as with public opinion leaders and policy makers in the United States.
The Kurds in a Changing Middle East
09:00 – 10:45 a.m.
Moderator: Dr. Hisyar Ozsoy (Assistant Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Michigan-Flint)
- Salih Muslim (Co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD); Member of the Kurdish Supreme Council in Syria)
- Kejal Rahmani (Prof. of Anthropology and a scholar with special interests in Mesopotamia)
- Kirmanj Gundi (Department of Educational Administration College of Education Tennessee State University)
- Karwan Zebari ( Director of Congressional and academic affairs for Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq representation to the USA)
The Kurds of Syria and their Vision for the Future
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Moderator: Mutlu Civiroglu (Journalist, Political Analyst on the Kurdish Issue)
- Alan Shemo (Member of Democratic Union Party (PYD) foreign affairs Committee)
- Amberin Zaman (Turkey Correspondent, The Economist magazine)
- Saif Badrakhan (Representative of the Kurdistan National Congress- KNK in the USA)
- Christian Sinclair (Assistant Director, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Arizona; President, Kurdish Studies Association)
The Imrali Peace Process: Can Turkish-Kurdish Relations be Remade?
01:30 – 03:00 p.m.
Moderator: Prof. Mehmet Gurses (Associate Professor of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University)
- Cengiz Candar (Journalist, Columnist)
- Nazmi Gur (MP From Peace and Democracy Party – BDP)
- Prof. Michael Gunter (Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Tech University)
- David L. Phillips (Director, Peace-Building and Rights Program Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University)
The US, Turkey and the Kurds: Towards a New Vision
03:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Moderator: Michael Werz (Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress)
• Selahattin Demirtas (Co-chair of BDP)
• Lincoln Davis (Former US Congressman, 2003-2011)
• James Jeffrey (Former US Ambassador to Turkey)