Kurdish and Foreign Scientists Support Worldwide Cooperation

ARARAT NEWS PUBLISHING – Roni Alasor + Lorin Sarkisian – 6.10.2012 – Focus of the World Kurdish Congress 2012: Over 500 participants from four continents will attend the World Kurdish Congress (WKC) next week in the Kurdish capital Erbil. Kurdish and foreign scientists expect new opportunities for more development cooperation in Kurdistan Region.

Kurdish and Foreign Scientists Support Worldwide Cooperation

Brussels, October 6, Ararat News Publishing (ANP) -Focus on World Kurdish Congress 2012: Over 500 participants from four continents are expected to attend the World Kurdish Congress (WKC), in October 11th-15th in Erbil. Among them are people with different backgrounds, academic experience and specialization. Ararat News-Publishing (ANP) has spoken with some of the oral presenters about their expectations, wishes and critical suggestions.

Nabaz T. Khayyat:For Kurdish scientists working abroad, WKC is a unique opportunity to meet with other Kurdish colleagues and contribute to the development of their homeland. Nabaz T. Khayyat, PhD Candidate in Engineering at Seoul National University in South Korea, shares his pride to participate at the Congress: “I feel honoured to be attending the WKC. As part of my national obligation, I am happy to serve my nation in all possible ways”.

According to Khayyat, it is very important that Kurdish scientists“ participate in development programs in a wide variety of ways – such as technology transfer, tacit knowledge, scholarships for Kurdish academia, pursue business opportunities, make active links between universities and businesses and to visit Kurdistan on a regular basis to teach intensive courses, and offer possible advise”.

The Kurdish engineer hopes that Kurdish leaders and the KRG will involve the scientists in different activities, roles and responsibilities within the KRG on a permanent basis and also part-time so they will become integrated in the process of decision-making for Kurdistan.

Rang Nouri Shawis :The expectations of Rang Nouri Shawis, a Kurdish Paediatric Surgeon, are similar. He suggests the creation of “well supported Kurdish research and development institutions” in Kurdistan and the establishment of important consultation processes and discussions between experts about major issues prior to final government decisions.

The WKC attracts not only Kurdish scientists, but also foreigner academicians. Their opinions and critiques are very precious for Kurdish scientists and for KRG authorities since they provide an external and critical perspective on recent developments in the Region.

Boyan Hadjiev :Many of the foreign scientists and experts who will be participating in the Congress have done research on Kurdish history and politics in the region. Boyan Hadjiev, PhD candidate and assistant professor at the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria wrote his Master’s thesis on Iraqi Kurdistan As a Factor of Stability in the Region.

The Bulgarian researcher learned about the WKC through the Internet and he is very excited to be visiting the Kurdistan Region for the first time: “I expect to see one very fast developing region and a different culture. The Congress is also an opportunity to gain new information from prominent lecturers and specialists in many fields.”

Hadjiev underlines the importance of having a modern educational system in Kurdistan. During the first WKC 2011 in Holland, Hadjiev spoke about the problems in educational systems during periods of state and regime transformations. This year in Erbil, he will focus on Women’s Role in the Development and Stability of Society.

Marianna Charountaki, a Greek post-doctoral fellow at Reading University (UK), also underlines the importance of the Kurdish educational system, which she thinks should be “revised starting from the first class of the primary school up to the further upgrade of the Kurdish Universities.” Charountaki also supports “an institutionalized and legal framework for research. This mechanism could then act as a think-tank for reports and other analyses provided to the decision-making centres – and thus become a strong platform upon which organized decision-making system can be based, especially as far as foreign policy issues are concerned.”

Charountaki is a researcher and author of the book The Kurds and US Foreign Policy: International Relations in the Middle East Since 1945. She will speak about Turkish Foreign Policy Towards the KRG at the Congress.

Manuel Martorell: Beyond political analysis and theoretical topics, the WKC will also be a discussion platform for concrete ideas and projects. Manuel Martorell, PhD in History from UNED University, Madrid, Spain, and licentiate in Communication Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona, started to implement a project for rural development two years ago in the area of Suleimaniya, in Kurdistan Region: “The project is about the sport of skiing and involves a school program for children. But the final objective is to introduce the ideas of sustainable economy in poor and mountainous areas. For us, the Second Kurdish Congress is an opportunity to explain this work to the rest of Iraqi Kurdistan.”

Martorell expects “the Kurdish authorities, inside and outside Kurdistan, will open their collaboration to the groups and organization who like to help the Kurdish people.” He also suggests the creation of a “permanent Scientist Council to advise the KRG in the process of decision making.”

Joost Jongerden, a rural/development sociologist and researcher on the production of place/space and identity in Kurdistan and the reshaping of villages and cities in Turkey, appreciates the possibilities for networking, which the Congress will offer to all participants. He commented: “I will be able to meet professionals and academics in the Kurdistan Region and discuss possibilities for future collaboration. Joint projects and collaboration between scholars and universities are important dimensions of strengthening academia and improving the quality of research and education in Kurdistan”.

Wladimir van Wilgenburg, MA in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from the Netherlands, has visited Kurdistan many times in the past and said he has noticed, “slow improvement in the universities and education”. However, Wilgenburg emphasizes “the huge need for the development of the health sector in Kurdistan at all levels”.