The centres of gravity in the region has changed dramatically over the decades with the older ones yielding place to new players, noted, the dean of Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) at the closing ceremony of the inaugural Hiwaraat Conference, “The Invasion of Iraq: Regional Reflections”.
“What has happened in the last several decades in the region is that the centres of gravity in the region has been evolving and changing. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s they used to be Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus among others but now they are Doha, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh,” said, Dr Safwan Masri, dean of GU-Q at the closing ceremony of the conference yesterday.
Dean Dr Masri Dr Sawfan Masri,noted that several transnational issues were taken up in the conference and intensely discussed.
“The dialogue doesn’t end here but begin now and starts all over. The objective of the conference is to provide a platform for these kind of conversations which otherwise may not take place. So the conference has made conversations such as these happen effectively and successfully,” he explained.
He noted that the conference has been successful because it could connect with one another and connect the ideas very well. According to the dean what happened in Iraq is important not only for Iraq but for the region and the world at large.
Bridging global and regional perspectives, the GU-Q conference marked the 2003 invasion of Iraq with reflections on the prospects of shaping a better future for the country, its society, and its youth.
The conference was convened by Dr Masri in collaboration with the Centre for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at GU-Q. Conceived as a platform for diverse voices and community engagement on shared global challenges, the conference encouraged collective and individual perspectives on lessons learned over the past two decades.
Current and former Iraqi ministers, officials, and government advisors, senior diplomats, journalists, authors, and academics from the region, joined international experts in sharing first-hand experience and knowledge, spanning historical retrospectives and analyses of Iraq’s progress and the complex challenges ahead.
Discussions over the three days created a sense of shared responsibility to usher in positive changes that will offer the Iraqi people, especially the new generation, a better future.
Dean Masri said: “As we approach the university’s 20th anniversary, Georgetown University in Qatar is reflecting on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go. Our eyes are focused on the next 20 years. We are embarking on an ambitious strategy to become the preeminent global campus in the region. We are investing in and expanding our academic offerings, and strengthening and growing our faculty. We are creating and innovating, and engaging with our communities locally, regionally, and globally. This weekend’s event offers a preview of what is to come.”
“In keeping with the intent of the Hiwaraat, the conference has brought together a variety of perspectives, and not always complementary views on difficult and challenging topics. We have heard from scholars and practitioners and had lots of forthright engagement from the audience. These conversations are not always easy, but they are necessary. Under Hiwaraat we hope to continue providing the space for these sorts of discussions on important regional and global affairs,” added, Zahra Babar, associate director for Research at CIRS.
A panel discussion at the conference.
Dr Safwan Masri speaking at the concluding session of the conference.