Investing in Iraq: Reconstruction and the Role of the Energy Sector

April 26, 2018 - 5:00 pm

Investing in Iraq: Reconstruction and the Role of the Energy Sector
Opening remarks by:
Frederick Kempe
President and Chief Executive Officer
Atlantic Council

A conversation with:
His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen
Iraqi Ambassador to the United States
Majid Jafar
Chief Executive Officer
Crescent Petroleum
Ben Van Heuvelen
Editor in Chief
Iraq Oil Report

Hafez Ghanem 
Vice President, Middle East and North Africa 
World Bank
Moderated by:
Ellen Scholl
Deputy Director, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Please join the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center on Thursday, April 26 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of investment in Iraq as the country rebuilds, featuring Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Dr. Fareed Jasseen.

On the heels of the Kuwait conference in February, and with an oil and gas bidding round and elections on the horizon, this wide-ranging conversation will focus on the state of investment in Iraq, including the role the energy sector can play in enabling recovery, and the challenges ahead in terms of rebuilding and recovery.

A networking reception will follow the event.

On Twitter? Follow @ACGlobalEnergy and use #ACEnergy

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record.

Metro and parking info 


Hafez Ghanem, an Egyptian and French national, is the Vice President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa since March 2, 2015. He is a development expert with more than thirty years of experience. Dr. Ghanem leads the World Bank’s engagement with 20 Middle East and North African countries through a portfolio of ongoing projects, technical assistance and grants worth more than US$13 billion. Promoting peace and stability through economic and social inclusion is core to his vision for the Middle East and North Africa Region, as it continues to go through profound economic and social changes, fragility, and conflict.

Prior to his appointment as Vice President, Dr. Ghanem was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Global Economy and Development program leading the Arab economies project, focused on the impact of political transition on Arab economic development. Between 2007 and 2012, he served as the Assistant Director-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He has many publications in professional journals and was a member of the core team that produced the World Bank’s 1995 World Development Report. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics from the American University in Cairo and a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Davis. He is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

Majid Jafar is the chief executive officer of Crescent Petroleum, the Middle East’s oldest private oil & gas company, and vice-chairman of the Crescent Group of companies which includes interests in port management, logistics, contracting, private equity and real estate. He is also managing director of the Board of Dana Gas (PJSC), the leading publicly-listed natural gas company in the Middle East, in which Crescent is the largest shareholder. His previous experience was with Shell International’s Exploration and Production and Gas & Power Divisions.
In addition to his professional commitments, Majid Jafar is the founder and chairman of the Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) in partnership with INSEAD Abu Dhabi, and serves on several non-profit boards. He also serves on the International Advisory Boards of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the Prince’s Trust International, and the Atlantic Council, as well as on the Middle East Advisory Boards of the Carnegie Endowment and Harvard Business School. He is a member of the GCC Board Directors Institute and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), an accredited director of the Institute of Director (IoD Mudara), and has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Majid Jafar attended Eton College and graduated from Cambridge University (Churchill College) with Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Engineering (Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics). He also holds an MA (with Distinction) in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), and an MBA (with Distinction) from the Harvard Business School.
Frederick Kempe is the president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council. Under his leadership since 2007, the Council has achieved historic, industry-leading growth in size and influence, expanding its work through regional centers spanning the globe and through centers focused on topics ranging from international security and energy to global trade and next generation mentorship.

Before joining the Council, Kempe was a prize-winning editor and reporter at the Wall Street Journal for more than twenty-five years. In New York, he served as assistant managing editor, International, and columnist. Prior to that, he was the longest-serving editor and associate publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe, running the global Wall Street Journal's editorial operations in Europe and the Middle East.

In 2002, The European Voice, a leading publication following EU affairs, selected Kempe as one of the fifty most influential Europeans, and as one of the four leading journalists in Europe. At the Wall Street Journal, he served as a roving correspondent based out of London; as a Vienna Bureau chief covering Eastern Europe and East-West Affairs; as chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, DC; and as the paper's first Berlin Bureau chief following the unification of Germany and collapse of the Soviet Union.

As a reporter, he covered events including the rise of Solidarity in Poland and the growing Eastern European resistance to Soviet rule; the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia and his summit meetings with President Ronald Reagan; the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon in the 1980s; and the American invasion of Panama. He also covered the unification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet Communism.

He is the author of four books. The most recent, Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth, was a New York Times Best Seller and a National Best Seller. Published in 2011, it has subsequently been translated into thirteen different languages.

Kempe is a graduate of the University of Utah and has a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a member of the International Fellows program in the School of International Affairs. He won the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's top alumni achievement award and the University of Utah's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

For his commitment to strengthening the transatlantic alliance, Kempe has been decorated by the Presidents of Poland and Germany and by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Ellen Scholl is a deputy director at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. Ellen has worked on a range of energy issues throughout her career, most recently as Robert Bosch fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI). She also has over five years of energy-related legislative experience, having handled an energy portfolio as committee staff for the US Congress and Texas Senate. Her work on energy and geopolitics and energy governance has been published by SWP, and other work has appeared in the Berlin Policy Journal, Foreign Policy, and Lawfare, among others.

Ellen also worked on energy issues as a student fellow with the Robert S. Strauss Center on International Security and Law, and as a member of the inaugural cohort of the US Foreign Service Internship Program, during which she worked in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and at US Embassy Ankara. Ellen received her master’s degree in global policy studies, with a certificate in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where she was a Powers fellow. She earned a BA in humanities and government from the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with highest honors.

Ben Van Heuvelen manages the Iraq Oil Report’s editorial team and is responsible for all news content. He coordinates Iraq Oil Report's news coverage, which includes reporting from Iraq and the region. Prior to his role as editor-in-chief, Ben was managing editor of Iraq Oil Report. His reporting and analysis also frequently appears in Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy. Ben has briefed investors, diplomats, and non-governmental organizations on Iraq's political and business environment. Prior to joining Iraq Oil Report, Ben was a research fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC, and the chief researcher for two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Steve Coll’s new book Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.

His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen is Iraq’s ambassador to the United States of America. He previously served as the Iraqi ambassador to France for six-and-a-half years, from May 2010 until he stepped down in October 2016. Prior to the end of his tenure in Paris, the experienced diplomat was awarded the Republican Medal of Honor—an award rarely given to outgoing ambassadors—by Mr. Christian Masset, secretary general of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the French Presidency.
Before serving as Iraq’s representative in France, Ambassador Yasseen held a number of posts within the Government of Iraq, including as the head of policy planning of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic adviser to former Deputy President Mr Adil Abd al-Mahdi. He has also worked and consulted for numerous United Nations agencies and leading think tanks.
Ambassador Yasseen was educated in Iraq, Switzerland, and the United States. Prior to joining the diplomatic service, he trained as a physicist and worked as a researcher in Europe and the United States, and later developed a strong interest in political activism and human rights advocacy. His experience and achievements will prove vital in contributing towards a closer relationship between the US and Iraq, both economically and politically.