About the program

The Atlantic Council is leading a long-term initiative on Iraq led by Dr. Abbas Kadhim. The Iraq Initiative seeks to provide US and European policymakers with unique perspectives from within Iraq as well as impartial, pragmatic policy recommendations. The Iraq Initiative addresses the current security challenges Iraq faces as well as identifies policies that will unlock Iraq’s potential to develop the drivers of any successful society: inclusive politics, economic development, and a vibrant civil society. It is critical that international conversation about Iraq moves from being solely focused on security and military engagement to broader policy issues such as attracting investment, improving governance and service delivery, and the country’s unique geopolitical role. The Iraq Initiative also works to develop relationships with Iraqi officials to bring them together with the right US and European policymakers and influencers to discuss how to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Introducing the Young Global Professionals Program

Sat, Oct 24, 2020

Atlantic Council’s Young Global Professionals Program – Spring 2021 (Paid)


The Young Global Professionals (YGP) Program, the Atlantic Council’s paid internship program, is designed to provide exceptional young people with in-depth exposure to international affairs and an opportunity to play an active role in shaping real-world solutions to global challenges. The Atlantic Council is non-partisan and welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds. International applicants are encouraged to apply.


Advisory Committee

  • Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi, Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Middle East, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Ambassador Rend al-Rahim, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States
  • Mr. Stephen J. Hadley, Former US National Security Advisor
  • Mr. Majid Jafar, CEO, Crescent Petroleum
  • Ambassador Srood Najib, Former Head, Multilateral Department, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan, Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Kennedy School, Harvard University
  • General David Petraeus, Chairman, KKR Global Institute
  • Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States
  • Mr. Olin Wethington, Founder and Chairman, Wethington International LLC

Past events

Wed, Jan 6, 2021

Iraq’s static budget process

Online Event A new paper by the Iraq Initiative outlines the inefficiencies inherent in Iraq’s current budget process and the need for a revamped, dynamic and transparent budget mechanism.

9:00am Economy & Business Fiscal and Structural Reform Iraq Middle East

Mon, Dec 14, 2020

Iraq’s energy security strategy: A path to diversity and energy independence

Online Event A new report by the Iraq Initiative outlines immediate and medium-term practical measures to tackle Iraq’s most pressing issues, in its quest to attain energy independence.

3:00pm Energy & Environment Energy Markets & Governance Geopolitics & Energy Security Iraq

Mon, Nov 16, 2020

Assessing perceptions of affected communities in Northern Iraq on peace, justice and governance

Online Event A new report by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Peace and Human Rights Data Program, details how northern Iraqi communities targeted by the Islamic State (IS) are denied justice.

11:30am Iraq Middle East Resilience & Society Security & Defense

Fri, Oct 30, 2020

Evaluating Iraq’s new White Paper on economic reform

Online Event The Iraqi government’s 95-page White Paper was formally approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s cabinet on October 13. With more than 200 actionable reform measures, the document offers an ambitious three-year plan for how Iraq’s financial predicament can be reversed. 

12:00pm Economy & Business Energy & Environment Iraq Middle East

Fri, Aug 21, 2020

A conversation with H.E. Ali Allawi and H.E. Fuad Hussein

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – H.E. Ali Allawi, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance and H.E. Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs, discuss bilateral relations as part of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s first visit to Washington since assuming office in May.

11:30am ONLINE EVENT Economy & Business Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Tue, Jun 9, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former foreign minister Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim

Public Event ONLINE EVENT — A discussion with Iraq’s most recent former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim moderated by Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim.

1:00pm ONLINE EVENT Iraq Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, May 14, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Luay Al-Khatteeb

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – An online discussion with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb.

3:00pm ONLINE EVENT Energy & Environment Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Apr 29, 2020

What’s next for US-Iraq relations?

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – Nonresident Senior Fellow Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff discusses his new report that analyzes the current challenges in US-Iraq relations and presents policy recommendations.

10:30am ONLINE EVENT Iraq

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

US-Iran tensions ratchet up in Iraq

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – A virtual event on escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, playing out in Iraq, the COVID-19 outbreak, and implications for the region.

12:30pm ONLINE EVENT Crisis Management Iran Iraq Security & Defense

Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Roundtable with Iraqi MP Sarkwat Shamsulddin

Private Event Iraqi MP Sarkawt Shamsulddin discusses the formation of the new government, US-Iran tensions, and the ongoing pro-reform demonstrations in Iraq.

1:00pm Washington DC Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Thu, Jan 9, 2020

US-Iran tensions rising with Iraq in the middle

Public Event The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and Future of Iran Initiative hosted a conversation on US-Iran tensions and the impact on Iraq with Congressman Seth Moulton and Senator Chris Murphy.

2:00pm Washington Conflict Economic Sanctions Iran Iraq

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Roundtable with KRG Head of Foreign Relations Department Safeen Dizayee

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private discussion with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s top diplomat to discuss recent events in Iraq.

10:00am Washington DC Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Fri, Nov 1, 2019

Iraq’s political and energy outlook

Public Event On November 1, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and Global Energy Center hosted an event on what’s next for Iraq amidst historic protests.

9:00am Washington DC Energy & Environment Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Oct 2, 2019

Roundtable with Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih Al-Fayyadh

Private Event The Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Al-Fayyadh for a conversation about US-Iraq relations and efforts to integrate the militias into the armed forces.

4:00pm Washington DC Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen

Public Event The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen.

12:00pm Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Tue, Aug 6, 2019

A view from Iraq: A conversation with Iraqi MP Sarkawt Shamsulddin

Public Event On August 6, the Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi Council of Representatives Member Sarkawt Shamsulddin for a public event.

12:00pm Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Resilience & Society

Wed, Jun 26, 2019

Arab Barometer Polling Data Event

On June 26, the Hariri Center, in collaboration with Arab Barometer, held a public event to release Arab Barometer’s latest public opinion survey data from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Following their presentation, Arab Barometer experts Mark Tessler and Kathrin Thomas joined Iraq Initiative Director Abbas Kadhim and Nonresident Senior Fellow Faysal Itani for a panel […]

Event Recap by Atlantic Council

Iraq Middle East

Sat, Jun 1, 2019

Private Roundtable on Iraq with DASD Mick Mulroy

On May 7, the Iraq Initiative hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Michael “Mick” Mulroy for a private, off-the-record discussion on Iraq. Middle East Programs Director William F. Wechsler moderated the conversation.

Insights & Impact

Iraq Middle East

Fri, Jul 19, 2019

Private virtual roundtable with Al-Bayan Center on US-Iraq relations

On July 19, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a roundtable with Al-Bayan Center, a think tank based in Baghdad. Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. The participants from Al-Bayan joined by videoconference.

Event Recap by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

All content

Mon, Jan 25, 2021

Iran’s hardliners think Biden might hurt their June presidential election strategy

Hardliners had hoped that Donald Trump’s re-election would help them to oust the reformist and moderate candidates in June’s presidential election. Now hardliners are concerned that the new US administration will destroy their plans.

IranSource by Saeid Jafari

Iran Middle East

Tue, Jan 19, 2021

Does Russia really want a US return to the Iran deal?

The Kremlin has also backed European efforts to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action since the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018. Below the surface, however, Russia’s views may be more complicated and ambivalent.

IranSource by Arman Mahmoudian and Giorgio Cafiero

Iran Middle East

Thu, Jan 14, 2021

Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal: Not so easy

President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, 2021, facing a litany of daunting foreign policy issues, from another massive cyber hack by Russian intelligence to alienated allies in Europe and beyond to a regime in Pyongyang that continues to proliferate weapons of mass destruction unchecked. But perhaps the stickiest—and most immediate—crisis the Biden administration […]

Issue Brief by Brian O’Toole

Economic Sanctions Economy & Business

Thu, Jan 14, 2021

Advice to Iran as a new administration takes over the White House

The end of the Donald Trump era and the beginning of the Joe Biden one offer Iran and its neighbors the best opportunity they have had in years to ease conflict and tension and boost prosperity.

IranSource by Barbara Slavin

Iran Middle East

Wed, Jan 13, 2021

Swedish trial paves the way for accountability for Iran’s human rights violations

Universal jurisdiction proceedings may help prevent another forty-one years of total impunity for perpetrators of grave human rights violations in Iran while granting redress for those affected by the violations.

IranSource by Aida Samani

Iran Middle East

Fri, Jan 8, 2021

Will the families of PS752 ever receive justice?

The efforts undertaken on behalf of those aggrieved include diplomatic efforts, arbitration, civil litigation, and the possibility of criminal inquiries.

IranSource by Gissou Nia

Iran Middle East

Wed, Jan 6, 2021

The rise and fall of the ‘crocodile ayatollah’

With the death of Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, hardliners lost their most outspoken representative.

IranSource by Raz Zimmt

Iran Middle East

Mon, Jan 4, 2021

FAST THINKING: What’s Iran thinking?

Tehran seized a South Korean tanker while also announcing that it had begun increasing its uranium enrichment levels to 20 percent. Why?

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Iran Korea

Mon, Jan 4, 2021

Slavin joins the Rick Ungar Highlight Podcast to discuss Iran-US relations and nuclear programs

In the News

Iran Middle East

Mon, Jan 4, 2021

Slavin joins Iran International to discuss US-Iran relations after the assassination of Qasem Soleimani

In the News

Democratic Transitions Iran
(function() { function async_load(){ var s = document.createElement('script'); s.type = 'text/javascript'; s.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://pi' : 'http://cdn') + '.pardot.com/pd.js'; var c = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; c.parentNode.insertBefore(s, c); } if(window.attachEvent) { window.attachEvent('onload', async_load); } else { window.addEventListener('load', async_load, false); } })();