Conference: The U.S. – Kurdish Collaboration in the Course of Reshaping the Middle East

25 05 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017, 9:45 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, 529 14th St NW Washington, DC 20045

Conference Schedule:

 9:45 am   Registration

10:10 am   Opening Remarks by Deniz Ekici, Executive Director, Kurdish Policy Research Center

 10:15 am – 11:45 am

Panel 1: Iran’s Internal Repression Overshadowed by Its Interventionist Foreign Policy

 Speakers:

Ardishir Rashidi, Founder and President, Kurdish-American Education Society

 Rebuar Reshid, Co-President, Kurdistan National Congress

 Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

 Moderator: Samira Ghaderi, Juris Doctor, International Affairs Expert

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Panel 2: The Changing Dynamics of Rojava in the Syrian Civil War

 Speakers:

Salih Muslim, Co-Chair, Democratic Union Party *via Skype

 Bassam Ishaq, President, Syriac National Council of Syria

 Brandon H. Wheeler, Executive Director, Freedom Research Foundation

 Moderator: Deniz Ekici, Executive Director, Kurdish Policy Research Center

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm

Panel 3: Turkey’s Deteriorating Governance and the Implication on the Kurds

 Speakers:

 Aykan Erdemir, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

 Hisyar Ozsoy, Vice Co-Chair, The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)

 Dirayet Taşdemir, Member of Parliament, The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)

 Moderator: Aliza Marcus, Writer and expert on Kurdish issue

Speakers:

Deniz Ekici

Deniz Ekici is the Executive Director at Kurdish Policy Research Center. He holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Center for Kurdish Studies at the University of Exeter and an M.A. degree in Political Science from Brooklyn College, CUNY. He is a former visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University where he taught such courses as Intro to the Middle East, Media in the Middle East, Nationalism in the Middle East, Kurdish Culture and Society and Kurdish Language Courses.

Aykan Erdemir

Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Turkish Parliament. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014) as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism. In 2016, Dr. Erdemir was awarded the Stefanus Prize for Religious Freedom in recognition of his advocacy for minority rights and religious freedoms.

Samira Ghaderi

Samira Ghaderi holds a Juris Doctor and a Master’s in International Affairs from American University in Washington D.C. She has worked at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, assisting with legal and policy advice for the Kurdistan Regional Government. She has also worked at the Public International Law and Policy Group, where she focused on transitional justice, post-conflict constitution drafting & justice sector reform. In addition, she was a co-director of the American University’s International Refugee Assistance Project chapter, where she assisted Iraqi and Syrian refugees with resettlement in the United States.

Bassam Ishak

Bassam Ishak is a Syrian opposition activist and the president of the Syriac National Council of Syria. He is the former executive director of the Syrian Human Rights Organization, a founder of the Syrian National Council, and a former member of the council’s general secretariat. Bassam is a native Hassakeh in northeast Syria. He earned his M.A. in ethno-political conflict management from Royal Roads University in Canada, and a B.S. in civil engineering.

Aliza Marcus

Aliza Marcus is formerly an international correspondent for The Boston Globe and lives in Washington, D.C. She covered the PKK for more than eight years, first as a freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and later as a staff writer for Reuters, receiving a National Press Club Award for her reporting. She is also a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant for her work (NYU Press).

Salih Muslim

Salih Muslim is the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). He is also the deputy coordinator of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.

Hisyar Ozsoy

Mr. Ozsoy is currently serving as the Vice Co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in charge of Foreign Affairs and as a member of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT). He holds a B.A. in Sociology with distinction from Bogazici University and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in political anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a former assistant professor at the University of Michigan-Flint where he taught courses in political sociology, political anthropology, social and political transformations as well as courses on Middle Eastern cultures, histories and politics.

Ardishir Rashidi

Mr. Ardishir Rashidi is a System and Products Design and Analysis Engineer. He is a founder of the Kurdish-American Education Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational information on Kurdish history. He also served as the Regional Director and as a National Board Member of the United Nations Association of the United States of America.

 Rebuar Reshid

Mr. Rebuar Reshid is the Co-chair of the Kurdistan National Congress and a human rights activist. He holds a Bachelor degree in Social and Political Science from Stockholm University. Mr. Rashed is an author of numbers of articles on gender equality, democracy, corruption, racism and anti-Semitism.

Michael Rubin

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations; and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly. He received a B.S. degree in biology from Yale University in 1994, and a Ph.D. in history from the same institution in 1999. He has previously worked as a lecturer in history at Yale University, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and at three different universities in northern Iraq. Rubin currently provides academic instruction on regional issues for senior U.S. Army and Marine officers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dirayet Tasdemir

Ms. Dirayet Tasdemir is a Kurdish politician and a member of the Turkish Parliament for Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). As a longtime women’s rights activist, she served as an advisor at Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality.

Brandon H. Wheeler

Mr. Brandon H. Wheeler, is the  Executive Director of the Freedom Foundation. As a former marine he served in various places in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. His expertise is in counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare. He regularly briefs the members of the congress, ambassadors and other diplomats. He lived in Syria for many years where he studied Arabic. After the rise of ISIS  he made numerous trips into Syria and Iraq and consulted leaders of Rojava and the KRG officials.

For details click here.





Summer Language Workshop: Intensive 1st and 2nd Year Kurdish

16 04 2017





Conference: Democratic Confederalism – Developments and Perspectives of Autonomous Elective Experiences in Rojava/Northern Syria

15 04 2017

EURAC Research Viale Druso, 1 – Bolzano, Italy, Friday 21st April 2017

 

 

14:30

Welcome

15.00 – 16.00

SESSION I:  Comparative Analysis of Mechanisms for Ethnic Conflict Resolution and Management of Diversity in Complex and Diversified Contexts

 

Speakers:

  • Joseph Marko (Eurac Research, and University of Graz):

Power-sharing without Reconciliation? Comparative Lessons from European Experience

  • Karl Kössler (Eurac Research):

Governing Diversity through Autonomy – Comparative Evidence and Challenges for Constitutional Design

Moderator: Mauro di Vieste (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker – South Tyrol)

 

16.30 – 17.45

SESSION II: Democratic Confederalism and the Experience of Rojava/Northern Syria

Speakers:

  • Kamran Matin (University of Sussex, Brighton)

Democratic Confederalism: Context and Prospects

  • Ghadi Sary (Managing Partner – Governance House):

Self-government in Northern Syria: Survival and Ambitions

  • Dilar Dirik (University of Cambridge):

Women’s Autonomy and Self-Defense in Rojava-Northern Syria

Moderator: Thomas Benedikter (POLITiS)

 

18.00 – 19.00

ROUND TABLE: Perspectives on Democratic Confederalism and Future Scenarios

Speakers:

  • Kamal Sido (Programme Manager for Middle East, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker – Germany)
  • Kariane Westrheim (University of Bergen)
  • Francesco Palermo (Eurac Research and Senator)

Moderator: Wolfgang Mayr (editor in chief of RAI Südtirol)

The conference is funded by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen,

Presidency and Foreign Relations, Office of Cabinet Affairs, Development Cooperation

 

For details click here.

 





Conference: Language Contact and Language Change in Western Asia

15 04 2017

Goethe University Frankfurt, 10-12 March 2017

The conference “Language Contact and Language Change in Western Asia” focuses on multilingualism in Western Asia. Within Western Asia, we aim at focusing the Kurdish-populated areas in the regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the neighboring countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In this area, several Indo-European varieties are spoken, including Armenian, Kurdish varieties, and Persian. A number of non-Indo-European languages are spoken as well, such as Azeri Turkic, Arabic, Neo-Aramaic, and Turkish. Finally Georgian and other Caucasian languages are also spoken in the region. Most of the above-mentioned languages exhibit a suprastratum of Semitic, Iranian and Turkic languages due to their close contact for centuries.

The conference explores the use of corpus methods in descriptive and theoretical analysis of word order change of natural languages in a multilingual area like Western Asia. Focal areas of interest include, but are not limited to language contact and language change in word order, information structure, and prosody. Furthermore, we are interested in theoretical and methodological issues pertaining to corpus-oriented research in language contact, i.e. tools, methods, and techniques in corpus assembly, annotation and analysis, the interaction between corpus linguistics and computational linguistics, the relevance of corpus linguistics and linguistic theory, the use of statistical and quantitative methods in detecting patterns of language change, as well as the impact of corpus-based vs. corpus-driven approaches on our view and understanding of morphosyntatic change in languages.

Click here for details.





New Book Out: Between State and Non-State Politics and Society in Kurdistan-Iraq and Palestine

11 04 2017

Gürbey, Gülistan, Hofmann, Sabine, Ibrahim Seyder, Ferhad (Eds.)

Palgrave Macmillan, 2017

  • ISBN 978-1-137-60181-0

This edited volume compares the internal dimension, politics and society in Kurdistan-Iraq and Palestine. In particular, it focuses on internal processes in Kurdistan-Iraq and Palestine (Palestinian Territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip) in their specific shaping, development and transformation. The contributing authors analyze the transformation processes of the internal power structures, the economic basics, and the civil societies and provide an overview of the current political, economic and societal situation and challenges in both regions.  The book presents the similarities and differences between both de facto states with regard to a set of guidelines: legitimacy, power relations, transformation of politics and society. It provides empirical explanations and contributes to a better understanding of both de facto states.

Click here for details.





New Book Out: The Modern Kurdish Short Story

18 03 2017

Shakely, Farhad

Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016

ISBN: 978-91-554-9774-3

The focus of this study is on the Kurdish short story, read from the viewpoint of literary history. The political course of events in Kurdistan, and the political and social circumstances which followed, have without question strongly influenced the Kurdish short story both in content, style, and language. The Kurdish short story has its origins in the second decade of the twentieth century. Kurdish prose arose in the beginning of the nineteenth century. There are few examples of Kurdish prose from that time; in every case, they are non-literary.Kurdish journalism played a central role in the development of the short story. The origin of the art of the Kurdish short story is directly related to Kurdish journalism. This development cannot be isolated from very conscious attempts to further the Kurdish short story with the help of translations of short stories into Kurdish from other languages – European languages in particular. This essay is an attempt to study the development of the Kurdish short story from its start until the beginning of the first decade in the 21st century.

For details click here.

 





New Book Out: Kurdish Hizbullah in Turkey – Islamism, Violence and the State

7 02 2017

greenKurt, Mehmet

Pluto Press, 2017

ISBN: 9780745399348

This study analyses Kurdish Hizbullah as a social movement and investigates this biggest Kurdish Islamist group by means of ethnographic fieldwork in their daily lives. As opposed to Hizbullah in Lebanon, whose followers are mainly adherents of the Shiite sect of Islam, Hizbullah in Turkey is populated by Sunnis, more specifically by Shafii Kurds. Mehmet Kurt charts the development of a particularly powerful Islamist social movement – Kurdish Hizbullah – from its origins in violent militancy to a more ‘civic’ mode of engagement, an engagement which nonetheless provides a rationale for disenchanted young Islamists to engage in political violence. It offers a unique insight into Kurdish Hizbullah, its political rise and the apparent power of Islamism amongst Kurds in the region, particularly in a context in which the leftist Kurdish political movement is the hegemonic political discourse. Through ethnographic field work and extensive interviews with members, leaders and supporters of Hizbullah, Kurt revelsa the manner in which Islamic civil society has taken root in a region where ethnic identity has been the primary organising tool against a repressive and violent state.

Dr. Mehmet Kurt studied Theology and Islamic Studies, and has a PhD in Sociology. He worked as a visiting researcher at Yale University Department of Anthropology. His areas of expertise are Kurdish Islamist groups, social movements, radicalisation, the Kurdish issue in Turkey, visual ethnography and oral history. He is the author of Turkiye’de Hizbullah (leti im Publication, 2015), and is the British Academy Newton Advanced Post-Doctoral Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.