Press Release - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Barham A. Salih Joins Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School as Senior Fellow

Cambridge, MA – March 22, 2024 – The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School is proud to announce the appointment of Barham A. Salih, esteemed Iraqi Kurdish leader and former President of the Republic of Iraq, as a Senior Fellow. With his extensive background in academia and public service, Salih brings a wealth of experience and insight to the Belfer Center's mission of advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most significant challenges of international security.  His insights and expertise will add greatly to the community of scholars and experienced leaders convened by the Middle East Initiative and the Center overall to conduct research and teaching on the region.  

Salih has served for two decades as one of the foremost political figures in Iraq and the Middle East. He was the eighth President of the Republic of Iraq from 2018 to 2022, following tenures as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region (2009-12) and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq (2004 and 2005-09), among other roles. His deep understanding of security, governance, and economic development at both the regional and federal levels will greatly enrich the Belfer Center’s interdisciplinary research, teaching, and programming.  

"Barham Salih is a leader of extraordinary talent, vision, and courage. In a wide variety of roles, he has navigated difficult and dangerous situations and brings those experiences and the lessons he learned from them to us at the Belfer Center. Such insights will help us as we seek to better understand the nature of leadership, events in Iraq and the wider region, and around the evolving role of ‘middle powers’ in today’s global landscape,” said Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Director of the Belfer Center. “Dr. Barham will also bring his love of learning and appreciation for higher education – manifest by his founding of the American University of Iraq in Sulaimania – to his time at Harvard. We are thrilled to have him as a new senior member of our community and look forward to the many and diverse contributions he will make."  

Tarek Masoud, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Governance and Faculty Chair of the Middle East Initiative, remarked, “Barham Salih brings great depth to the Belfer Center and the Middle East Initiative. His experiences as a statesman and institution builder, coupled with his formidable mind, render him a most vital addition to our intellectual community. All of us at the Middle East Initiative are looking forward to working with him to generate insights that can help the region become more peaceful, prosperous, and free."

Salih has left an equally consequential mark in higher education. He founded the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), in 2007, and remains Chair of its Board of Trustees. Under his leadership, AUIS has emerged as one of the few institutions in the Middle East devoted to open inquiry in a diverse environment, with the goal of training students for leadership in the liberal arts tradition.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Barham A. Salih Joins Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School as Senior Fellow .” Press Release, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, March 22, 2024.

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