In 2006, the Board of Trustees of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani set out to establish an institution dedicated to offering a truly comprehensive American-style education in Iraq. They sought to create a university where talented students in Iraq and the region would come to learn, regardless of origin or affiliation.

This new university, determined to provide an alternative to the “lecture-memorize-repeat” model of education so prevalent elsewhere in Iraq and the Middle East, opened its doors in 2007. Forty five students from across Iraq were admitted to the first undergraduate class, and the university simultaneously launched an MBA program for students planning to study business and leadership at the graduate level.

The university has grown to roughly 1100 students and while much has changed since its early days, AUIS remains firmly committed to the ideal around which it was founded: to build a center of excellence and research dedicated to educating talented students from across Iraq and the region.


Under the laws and regulations of the Kurdistan Regional Government, which is an “organized region” in the sense of Article 114.6 of the Iraqi constitution, AUIS is a fully accredited university and indeed classed as the best of its kind under its jurisdiction. This jurisdiction is decisive for national and international recognition since under the Iraqi constitution power (cf. Article 115), the regulation of education not being reserved to the federal government, regional regulation and recognition has priority.

In June 2010 AUIS was awarded an unconditional five-year accreditation from the American Academy of Liberal Education.