The Board of Trustees of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani is a self-perpetuating body that establishes policies for, and has oversight of, the University and its management and operations.
Barham Salih, Chair
Jill Derby, Vice Chair
Azzam Alwash, Secretary
Kamaran Ahmed, Chair of Land and Buildings Committee
Henri J. Barkey, Chair of Academic and Student Relations Committee
Newman T. Halvorson, Jr.
Narmin Othman Hassan
Khider Masum Hawrami
Richard D. Legon, Chair of Governance Committee
Raghida Ghandour Al-Rahim
Salahaldinn Saeed Ali
David Skaggs, Chair of Audit Committee
Dov S. Zakheim, Chair of Advancement and External Relations Committee
Barham A. Salih
Barham Salih is the founder of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He is a veteran Kurdish politician with years of public service and leadership in both the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq. Dr. Salih served as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region most recently from 2009-2012. He was elected to leadership at the first conference of the Political Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party after the liberation of Kurdistan from dictatorship in 1992, and was also chosen to head the PUK office in the United States. Following the first parliamentary elections in the same year, he became the representative of the newly-formed Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the US. During his time in America he was very active in improving Kurdistan’s relations with the West and his vigorous campaigning against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial Ba’ath regime helped to influence decision-makers in Washington. The PUK leadership asked Barham Salih to take over as Prime Minister of the KRG from 2001 to 2004.
After the fall of the Baathist regime, he became Deputy Prime Minister of the Interim Iraqi Government in mid-2004, Minister of Planning in the Transitional Government in 2005, and then Deputy Prime Minister in Nouri Al-Maliki’s cabinet after the 2005 elections. In addition to his role as Deputy Prime Minister, he was also in charge of the economic portfolio and Head of the Economic Committee. Dr. Salih earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Construction at the University of Cardiff, graduating in 1983, and went on to receive a doctoral degree in Statistics and Computer Applications in Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 1987. He is married to Dr. Sarbagh Salih, a women’s rights activist, and they have a son and a daughter. He is fluent in Kurdish, Arabic and English.
Jill Derby is a governance consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), where she has worked for over ten years to enhance governance effectiveness and performance among American and Canadian higher education boards. Derby is a cultural anthropologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis with a concentration on the Arab Middle East. She served on two Nevada college faculties before transitioning to a policy role on the Nevada Board of Regents. In 1988 she was elected to three terms, (18 years) on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents where she served three terms as board chair. In 2011 she received a U.S. Senate appointment to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which is a federal advisory board that advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on the accreditation and certification process for institutions of higher education.
Azzam Alwash, born in Kut, is the founder and CEO of Nature Iraq, a nongovernmental agency that works to protect, restore, and preserve Iraq’s natural environment. After earning a postgraduate degree and a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Southern California, he spent 20 years working with Pacific Soils Engineering, a consulting firm specializing in geologic, geotechnical, and environmental services in Southern California. He has served on the board of directors of the Iraq Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit organization promoting democracy and human rights in Iraq. In 1998, Alwash started Eden Again, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, to bring attention to the environmental disaster caused by Saddam Hussein’s destruction of the marshlands in southern Iraq. He gives speeches to international audiences and continues to promote the restoration of Iraq’s southern marshlands, as well as education reform in Iraq.
Kamaran Ahmed is the Minister of Construction and Housing in the Kurdistan Regional Government. Prior to joining the government, Mr. Ahmed had a successful career as an engineer in the private sector, first as a site engineer for a variety of private companies in the region, and then as the founder of an engineering bureau to design and supervise private sector projects. During this time, he also worked with Kurdistan Save the Children to create computer training centers as well as variety of other projects. In 2003, Mr. Ahmed began working with the Sulaymaniyah International Airport, as the head of the Supervision Board, a consultant for the Civil Aviation Organization, and finally as the General Director of the Sulaymaniyah International Airport from 2006 to 2009. Mr. Ahmed graduated with a Bachelors degree from the Engineering College at the University of Sulaimani.
Henri J. Barkey
Henri Barkey is the Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Professor in International Relations and International Relations Department Chair at Lehigh University. A leading expert on Turkey, from 1998-2000 he served as a member of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff working primarily on issues related to the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and intelligence. Respected worldwide as an authority in the field, he has provided expertise and opinion editorials in all forms of media, invited lectures, and conferences including the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, C-SPAN, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. His most recent interviews have focused on Turkey’s status as one of America’s regional allies amidst the uncertainty of the Arab Spring and also on the escalating tensions between Turkey and Israel, and the affects of the Syrian crisis. He is widely published and has authored, co-authored and edited five books, among them Iraq, Its Neighbors and the United States, with Phebe Marr and Scott Lasensky. Barkey has taught at Princeton, the State University of New York, and the University of Pennsylvania. He recently completed a two-year position as a non-resident visiting scholar in the Carnegie Middle East program, and was also visiting fellow at Columbia University.
Rachel Bronson is the Vice President, Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs where she is helping to create a nationally and internationally recognized foreign policy think tank in Chicago. Her previous position, Vice President of Programs and Studies included overseeing the more than 150 programs The Chicago Council runs annually. Her shift in responsibilities is a testament to the increasing focus that the organization is placing on its research capacity and policy impact. Prior to that, she served as Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Earlier positions include Senior Fellow for International Security Affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. Dr. Bronson's book Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia (Oxford University Press, 2006), has been translated into Japanese and published in paperback in June 2008. Her writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest,The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. She has commented widely on foreign affairs in outlets such as NPR, CNN, The Lehrer News Hour, The Charlie Rose Show, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Dr. Bronson has served as a consultant to NBC News and the Center for Naval Analyses. She has testified before the Congressional Anti-Terrorist Finance Task Force, Congress’ Joint Economic Committee and the 9/11 Commission. In 2012, Dr. Bronson was named by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine as one of 100 Women to Watch. She was named by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of 20 Women to Watch in 2008. In 2003, Rachel was named a Carnegie Corporation Scholar. She earned a B.A. in history at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 1997.
Raghida Ghandour Al-Rahim
Raghida Al-Rahim is a member of the acquisition committee of the Middle East and North African Art Collection at the Tate Museum as well as at the British Museum. Born in Beirut, her family soon moved to Amman, where she spent her formative years. After spending several years in the United States and Europe as an artist, she moved back to Amman and managed the Flying Carpet Art Gallery where she met artists and patrons of the arts, an experience which encouraged her to further expand her role in the art world. In 1984 she moved to Washington D.C. where she directed the Arab American Cultural Foundation and helped run the Alif Gallery in Georgetown. In 1996 she relocated to London, where she has remained since, as an active patron of the arts at the Serpentine Gallery. Raghida Al-Rahim earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree in History from the University of Santa Clara in 1974. And has painted at the Ecole des Arts Plastiques in Paris. Her philanthropic work is extensive. Notably, she is a member of APPEAL, which works towards creating scholarships for art students in Lebanon and a member of Give a Child a Toy, a charity based in the UK and Lebanon which raises funds for medical treatment to underprivileged children all over Lebanon. She has three daughters: Rawan, Noor, and Mira. Presently, she divides her time between London and Beirut.
Newman T. Halvorson, Jr.
Newman T. Halvorson Jr. is a retired partner of Covington & Burling LLP who practiced in the areas of federal income tax law; federal tax litigation; state tax law; exempt organizations and trade associations law; criminal law, and general litigation. He was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in the civil, grand jury, and felony trial sections from 1983 to 1985, and an Associate Independent Counsel under the Ethics in Government Act from 1987 to 1990. Mr. Halvorson is a former trustee and chairman of the board of The Potomac School; former director and chairman of the board, and current officer and member of the audit and investment committees, of the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation; trustee and member of the executive committee, and former chairman of the board, of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.; former president of the Cleveland Park Historical Society; and trustee and member of the finance committee of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum (Decorah, Iowa). He received his LL.B., magna cum laude, in 1961, from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a member of the Board of Student Advisors. He received his A.B., magna cum laude, in 1958 from Princeton University.
Narmin Othman Hassan
Narmin Othman is a Kurdish politician with experience in both the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and the government of the Republic of Iraq. She most recently served in the cabinet of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki as Minister of the Environment, a post which she also held under his predecessor, Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jafari. In that cabinet she also served as Minister of Human Rights. In the interim government after the fall of Saddam Hussein she was Minister of Women’s Affairs and briefly Minister of Health in the cabinet of Ayad Allawi. Narmin Othman constructed the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues in the KRG and became its first minister. She was the Minister of Education and a temporary Minister of Higher Education and temporary Prime Minister of the KRG on numerous occasions. She currently sits as a member of the Central Committee of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Additionally, she is responsible for the Professional Board in the Democratic Organization Bureau of the PUK. She is currently affiliated with a number of women’s and democratic organizations in Iraq, including Nergis Magazine, a publication of women’s issues, where she is editor-in-chief.
At the same time she is managing director of Hewtaw, an organization that advances democratic causes in Iraq. She has founded or helped to found numerous charitable organizations including the Kurdistan branch of Save the Children; ‘Asuda’, an NGO fighting violence against women; KORD, a Handicap International sanctioned organization; the ‘BAS’ (Balad As-Salam) movement against violence; and Education TV, the first education-based television channel in Sulaimani. Narmin Othman earned a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Baghdad in 1971. Upon completing her degree she worked in the education sector until 1979. She has published extensively in Kurdish and Arabic and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees. Narmin Othman speaks: Kurdish, Arabic, Farsi, Swedish, and English.
Khider Masum Hawrami
Khider Hawrami is the President of Koya University in Koya, Iraq. Between 1974 and 1975, he was the Director of the Health Division of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, after having served as the Director of the Health Division 2 of the Sherwane Mazen Hospital in Kurdistan. He was an Honorary Lecturer and Senior Research Assistant at the London Hospital Medical College, followed by 8 years as a Research Fellow, in different capacities, at the Virology Department at St. Bartholomew’s and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry. In 2002, he became the head of Research and Development in Respiratory Viruses, the Team Leader of the VZV Group, and a Senior Scientist in the Virology Department. Most recently, Dr. Hawrami was appointed the President of Koya University in 2005 and has held the position since. After his Bachelor of Medicine from Cairo University, Dr. Hawrami received a Diploma in Clinical Tropical Medicine from the University of Liverpool, a Masters in Clinical and Tropical Medicine from The London School of Hygiene and Medicine, and a PhD in Medicine from the University of Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of London. His work on respiratory viruses, VZV, diabetes and other topics has appeared in numerous peer reviewed international journals, and he has presented at 27 internationally peer reviewed conferences.
Richard D. Legon
Rick Legon began his tenure as the fourth president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) in 2006. Rick is frequently invited to address meetings of national higher education associations, testifies on behalf of America’s unique form of citizen governance, and has led over 100 retreats for boards of public and private institutions as well as institutionally-related foundations. His experience working across public and independent higher education – with governing bodies (campus and system boards) and boards of public institution – related foundations, as well as other not-for-profit organizations--extends over 35 years. He has written extensively on the growing challenges and responsibilities facing board governance with a focus on board structure, fund-raising and institution leadership.
During his tenure as president, AGB has led on issues related to institution cost, education quality oversight, and board leadership. Currently, Rick is leading the association’s renewed efforts to address the complex challenges associated with board oversight of intercollegiate athletics, an issue that AGB has paid special attention to in recent years. In addition, he has led the national effort to amend the recent SEC proposed rule related to municipal advisors; and was active in the association’s efforts to work with the IRS during the framing of the recently changed Form 990— including spearheading a collaborative effort with The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) to monitor the IRS Compliance Survey of 2008-2009. Rick, a graduate of the George Washington University, from which he also holds an MPA, serves on the governing board of Spelman College (GA). He previously served on the governing boards of Virginia State University, and the University of Charleston (WV). He received an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Charleston in 2007. Rick and his wife, Fran, make their home in Fairfax, VA; they are the proud grand-parents of one grand-daughter.
Kanan Makiya is the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Born in Baghdad, he left Iraq to study architecture at M.I.T, later joining Makiya Associates to design and build projects in the Middle East. In 1981, he left the practice of architecture and began to write a book about Iraq. Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq (1989), became a best-seller after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Makiya's next book, The Monument (1991), is an essay on the aesthetics of power and kitsch. Both Republic of Fear and The Monument were written under the pseudonym, Samir al-Khalil. Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World (1993), was published under Makiya's own name. It was awarded The Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on international relations published in English in 1993. In the year 2000 he published The Rock: A Seventh-Century Tale of Jerusalem, a work of historical fiction that tells the story of the building of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
Along with these books, Makiya has written for The Independent, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement and The Times. Makiya has been profiled in many books and publications including The New Yorker (Jan 6, 1992) and The New York Times Magazine (Oct.7, 2007). He has collaborated on several films for television, the most known of which exposed for the first time the 1988 campaign of mass murder in northern Iraq known as the Anfal. The film, originally aired in January 1992 on the BBC, was shown by Frontline in the U.S. under the title 'Saddam's Killing Fields,' and received the Edward R. Morrow Award For Best Television Documentary On Foreign Affairs for 1992. In 2003 he founded the Iraq Memory Foundation, a NGO based in Baghdad and the US dedicated to issues of remembrance, violence and identity formation. The Memory Foundation has collected and digitized nearly 10 million pages of Baath era documents and has been supported by both the Iraqi and US Governments, as well as many foundations.
Salahaldinn Saeed Ali
JP Schnapper-Casteras founded the first student exchange program between Stanford University and postwar Iraq in 2004. He returned to Iraq as a fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation and served on Stanford University’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Schnapper-Casteras is a regular commentator on international affairs and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project.
Mr. Schnapper-Casteras practices law in the Washington office of Sidley Austin, specializing in appellate and complex commercial litigation. Before joining Sidley, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and to the Honorable Scott W. Stucky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He received his J.D. with Pro Bono Distinction from Stanford Law School, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School, and an M.A. in Sociology and B.A. with honors in Political Science from Stanford University.
David Skaggs holds positions as Co-Chair of the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics, a member of the U. S. Public Interest Declassification Board, Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Colorado and a Senior Strategic Advisor & Independent Consultant with McKenna, Long & Aldridge, LLP. He served as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from January 2007 to September 2009. Prior to these positions, Mr. Skaggs was executive director of the Center for Democracy & Citizenship at the Council for Excellence in Government and counsel to the Washington-based law firm, Hogan & Hartson. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado (1999-2002).
These positions followed twelve years in Congress (1987-99) as U.S. Representative from the 2nd Congressional District of Colorado (the northwestern Denver suburbs) and three terms in the Colorado House (1981-87), the last two terms as Minority Leader. Mr. Skaggs served on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Prior to joining the Appropriations Committee, he was a member of the (then) Public Works & Transportation Committee and the Science, Space & Technology Committee. During his time on the Hill, Mr. Skaggs was a leader in efforts to improve the House of Representatives. He was a founding co-chairman of the House Bipartisan Retreat, the first such meeting in history, held in March 1997. He was also co-founder of the Constitutional Forum, a series of seminars with distinguished guest lecturers who led Member discussions of constitutional issues. During the 104th Congress, Mr. Skaggs was Chairman of the Democratic Study Group, the principal policy and reform organization of House Democrats. After earning a B.A. in philosophy from Wesleyan University in 1964, Mr. Skaggs received an LL.B. at the Yale Law School in 1967. He served on active duty in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1971, with assignments on Okinawa, in Vietnam, and at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, and with a Marine Reserve unit in Colorado, attaining the rank of Major.
Stein Sture serves as Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which is a position that he has held since 2005. Between spring 2009 and fall 2010 he served as Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He also served as Dean of the Graduate School between 2005 and 2009. He holds the Huber and Helen Croft Endowed Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. And has served as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (2002-2005). He has served as department chair in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering for nearly six years (1990-1991; 1993-1998). Between 1976 and 1980 he was on the faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
He received his education in public schools in Oslo, Norway, a degree in engineering mechanics at the Schous Institute of Technology, in Oslo, and three degrees at the University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD, 1976). His fields of expertise are in the areas of experimental and analytical modeling in solid mechanics, geomechanics, computational geotechnics, and geotechnical engineering. Dr. Sture has presented over 40 plenary or keynote lectures at national and international conferences, and over 50 invited lectures at universities, government laboratories and industrial institutions. He has served as a consultant to nearly 30 public and private organizations. He has served as organizer and general chair of seven major national and international scientific and engineering conferences. And has organized 12 national-level workshops and short courses. He served as elected national Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers (2003-2006); Chair of the Engineering Mechanics Division, Governor of the Engineering Mechanics Institute, ASCE; Board of Governors, of the Geo-Institute of ASCE, and the U.S. National Committee for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (1997 -2005). He has received ASCE’s Walter Huber Research Prize (1990), and Richard Torrens Awards (2000), and CU-Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science’s Research Award (1992), and Max Peters Service Award (2002).
Shwan Taha has over ten years of experience in managing money in the MENA region, including Turkey, Greece and Pakistan. From 1997 to 2006 Shwan worked for Franklin Templeton as part of Mark Mobius's emerging markets team. Responsible for investments in the MENA region, he established two research and investment offices: one in Dubai and the second in Istanbul. In 2006 Shwan joined a two-man team to manage a hedge fund that was funded and sponsored by George Soros. Mr. Taha has left the partnership with Soros and founded Melak Investments, an investment advisory firm concentrating on opportunities in Iraq. Mr. Taha is also the chairman of Rabee Securities, a premier Iraqi Stock Exchange Firm founded in Baghdad in 1995 and regulated by the Iraq Stock Exchange. Rabee Securities maintains offices in Baghdad, Erbil, Sulaimani, and Istanbul. Mr. Taha obtained an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from George Washington University. He is married with three kids and resides and works in Iraq, Turkey, and the United States.
Dov S. Zakheim
Dov Zakheim is Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton. From 2001 to April 2004 he was Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense. From 2002-04 he was DOD’s coordinator of civilian programs in Afghanistan. He also helped organize the 2003 New York (UN) and Madrid Donors conferences for Iraq reconstruction. From 1987 to 2001 he was both corporate vice president of System Planning Corporation, a technology and analysis firm based in Arlington, VA and chief executive officer of its subsidiary, SPC International Corp. During the 2000 president campaign, he served as senior foreign policy advisor to then-Governor Bush. From 1985 until March 1987, Dr. Zakheim was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. Earlier, he was principal analyst in the National Security and International Affairs Division of the Congressional Budget Office.
Dr. Zakheim has served on numerous government, corporate, non-profit and charitable boards. His government service includes the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (1991-93); the Task Force on Defense Reform (1997); and the Board of Visitors of the Department of Defense Overseas Regional Schools (1998-2001). He chairs the National Intelligence Council’s International Business Practices Advisory Panel, and is a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Defense Business Board, which he helped establish, the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Board and the Council on Foreign Relations. A 1970 graduate of Columbia University, Dr. Zakheim also studied at the London School of Economics. He holds a doctorate in economics and politics at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Dr. Zakheim is a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and was an adjunct Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and an adjunct Scholar of the Heritage Foundation. He has been an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College (CT). He is the recipient of the Defense Department’s highest civilian award in 1986, 1987 and 2004.
Bakhteyar N. Shamsadeen has over forty years industrial experience in Iraq and the United Kingdom. He has served as Government Relations Director and a Senior Advisor for the UAE-based Crescent Petroleum Company in Kurdistan-Iraq since 2009. Prior to joining Crescent, Dr. Shamsadeen provided technical advisory services to UK industries through his own company, BNS Engineering Ltd. From 1988 to 2007 he worked in various UK industrial organizations as senior designer and development engineer, technical manager, and technical consultant in the field of electrical engineering and manufacturing. He has also been involved in projects that transfer technology from UK industries to South Africa and Poland.