Report Launch and Panel Discussion

The Long Game: Iraq’s “Tishreen” Movement and the Struggle for Reform

10:00 – 11:00 AM, Wednesday, September 29, 2021

This event will be hosted virtually


Join us for a timely panel discussion and presentation of the findings of EPIC’s year-long study of Iraq’s Tishreen movement and ongoing struggle for reform, moderated by Bilal Wahab of the Washington Institute. EPIC’s research team, Erik GustafsonOmar Al-Nidawi, and Mohammed Khalil, will present some of the report’s key findings from in-depth interviews, focus group discussions with activists from across Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, and a nation-wide public opinion survey. The presentation will be followed by a response from Marsin Alshamari of the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs with the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as Q&A.


Bilal Wahab (moderator) is the Nathan and Esther K. Wagner fellow at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on governance in the Iraqi Kurdish region and in Iraq as a whole. He has taught at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani, where he established the Center for Development and Natural Resources, a research program on oil and development. He earned his Ph.D. from George Mason University; his M.A. from American University, where he was among the first Iraqis awarded a Fulbright scholarship; and his B.A. from Salahaddin University in Erbil. Along with numerous scholarly articles, he has written extensively in the Arabic and Kurdish media.

Erik Gustafson (co-author) is the founder and executive director of Enabling Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Erik is a U.S. Army veteran and social entrepreneur, focusing on peacebuilding, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. He has written for the Middle East Institute, Fikra Forum, The Hill, and The Progressive, and has appeared on the PBS NewsHour, BBC World, and other media outlets.

Omar Al-Nidawi (co-author) is a program manager at EPIC, developing and overseeing the organization’s research and monitoring programs. He is a guest lecturer on Iraq’s modern history and politics at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, and a long-time Iraq analyst, focusing on energy, political, and security affairs. His reports and articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, and other publications. He earned his B.D.S. from Baghdad University and his M.I.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

Mohammed Khalil (co-author) is EPIC’s country representative in Iraq, directing the organization’s field work and connecting EPIC’s research and advocacy with key partners and stakeholders in Iraq. Mohammed has nearly two decades of experience in civil society, development, governance, human rights, and democracy building in Iraq and the Middle East. He has written many reports and studies on Middle East and Iraq issues for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, Democracy Reporting International, and other publications. Mohammed holds a master’s degree in political science from the Middle East University and a bachelor of economics from the University of Jordan.

Marsin Alshamari (responder) is a fellow with the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs with the Harvard Kennedy School. She holds a PhD in Political Science from MIT, where she studied Shi’a clerics and protest. Her book project examines the role of Shi’a clerics in anti-government protests in Iraq from 1920 to 2020. She has published in various academic and policy outlets, on topics ranging from civil society, elections, democratization to national dialogue and reconciliation.

“When we go to Najaf or Karbala or Baghdad, we see the same demands that we want being made there too. This is because the demands are known and the young people have a high level of awareness.”

– a focus group participant, EPIC #TishreenReport


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