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Iraq: Past, Present and Future

The Reves Center for International Studies and the Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding at William & Mary Law School are bringing together for the first time, four of the world's most renowned and knowledgeable experts to consider, debate and very likely disagree at a symposium at the Law School on The Future of Iraq, October 8-9, 2015. 

The event begins Thursday, October 8th at 4pm with "The Day After Tomorrow: Iraq and America," a keynote address by Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the 2015 Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence. On Friday, the conference continues with a roundtable discussion, Iraq: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Joining Ambassador Crocker for the discussion will be: Emma Sky, Director of Yale World Fellows and  Senior Fellow at Yale's Jackson Institute; Sarhang Hamasaeed, Senior Program Office for the Middle-East and North Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace; Zaid Al-Ali, Visiting Lecturer in Comparative Constitutional Law at Princeton's Program in Law and Public Affairs; and, Christie S. Warren, Professor of the Practice of International and Comparative Law at William & Mary Law School, who will serve as moderator.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Emma Sky and Zaid Al-Ali will participate in signings of their books, which will be available for sale before and during Friday's roundtable. All events will be held at the William & Mary Law School, 613 South Henry Street.


Photo of Ryan CrockerAmbassador Ryan Crocker is Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he holds the Edward and Howard Kruse Endowed Chair. He was the James Schlesinger Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia (2012-2014) and served as the first Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale University (2012-2013).

Ambassador Crocker retired from the Foreign Service in April 2009 after a career of over 37 years but was recalled to active duty by President Obama to serve as US Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011. He has served as US Ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993). He has also served as the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College, where he joined the faculty in 2003. From May to August 2003, he was in Baghdad as the first Director of Governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority and was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2001 to May 2003. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1971, he also has held assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Washington. He was assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983.

Photo of Emma SkyEmma Sky is Director of Yale World Fellows and a Senior Fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute, where she teaches Middle East politics. She is the author of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.

Ms. Sky served as advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010; as advisor to the Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2006; as advisor to the US Security Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in 2005, and as Governorate Coordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority from 2003 to 2004. Previously she worked in the Palestinian territories for a decade, managing projects to develop Palestinian institutions and promote co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition, she has provided technical assistance on poverty elimination, human rights, justice public administration reform, security sector reform, and conflict resolution in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. 

Sky has published numerous articles including in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, Atlantic, Slate, Survival, Center for a New American Security, US Institute of Peace, the Guardian, and the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies.  She is an Officer of the British Empire.

Photo of HamasaeedSarhang Hamasaeed is Senior Program Officer for the Middle-East and North Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He works on program management, organizational development, and monitoring and evaluation and also provides political and policy analysis on Iraq to USIP and other peacebuilding actors. 

As Deputy Director General of the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq from 2008 to 2009, Hamasaeed managed strategic government modernization initiatives through information technology with the goal of helping improve governance and service delivery. As a Program Manager for the Research Triangle Institute International (2003-2004), he managed civic engagement and local democratic governance programs in Iraq. Hamasaeed has worked as a planning and relations manager at Kurdistan Save the Children (1997-2002) and has also worked for the Los Angeles Times and other international media organizations.

Photo of Al-AliZaid Al-Ali, a dual Iraqi/British citizen, is Visiting Lecturer in Comparative Constitutional Law at Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs.  From 2011 to 2015 he served as Senior Advisor to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s Constitution Building Processes Programme office in Cairo, where he designed and oversaw constitutional reform projects in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Morocco and Jordan.

From 2005 through 2009, Al-Ali served as Legal Advisor to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, where he provided legal advice to the Iraqi Constitutional Committee during the drafting of the new Constitution of Iraq. He has written policy reports on Iraq for the International Crisis Group, the World Bank and other organizations and is the author of The Struggle for Iraq’s Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy.

Photo of Christie WarrneChristie S. Warren is Professor of the Practice of International and Comparative Law at William and Mary Law School, where she also serves as Founding Director of the Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding at William and Mary Law School. Over the past two decades Warren has contributed to constitutional and legal processes in more than 40 developing and post-conflict countries throughout throughout Africa, Central and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the Newly Independent States, the Balkans and East Timor, including in Iraq. She was appointed the 2010 – 2011 Senior Expert in Constitutional Issues on the United Nations Mediation Support Standby Team.

The Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence was established with a generous gift from Carole A. and Richard C. Kraemer ’65. It’s offered yearly, and provides the opportunity for a scholar specializing in Islamic law and governance to spend a short period of time at William & Mary sharing his or her expertise with the university community.

The symposium is sponsored by the Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding at William & Mary Law School, the Reves Center for International Studies and the Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence Program. Financial and logistical support is also provided by Lois Critchfield and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.