Chloe Cornish – Middle East Correspondent, the Financial Times
On the panel:
Ali Al-Baroodi – photographer, writer, and teacher. Ali is a university lecturer in English dialogue and simultaneous interpreting, and an NGO volunteer, and part-time media consultant. As a writer and photo journalist, his work captures his home town of Mosul at some of its most turbulent and poignant moments, and has been featured in media outlets around the world including News Lines Magazine.
Amb. Mark Bryson-Richardson MBE – UK Ambassador to Iraq. Mark was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq in July 2021. Prior to taking up this role Mark served as the DFID / FCDO Director for Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe from 2019 to 2020. He has previously served the UK government in Iraq as the Deputy Head of Mission from 2013 to 2014. Mark joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1999 and has since completed a number of permanent and temporary roles including foreign diplomatic postings in Mogadishu as Deputy Head of Mission (2013), Kabul as Political Counsellor (2008 to 2010), Khartoum as Deputy Head of Mission and Head, Political and Press Sections (2003 to 2006).
Dr Choman Hardi – poet, scholar and educator. She is known for pioneering work on issues of gender and education in Iraq and beyond and is the author of critically acclaimed books in the fields of poetry, academia, and translation. After 26 years of exile, she returned home in 2014 to teach English and initiate gender studies at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), where she also served as English department chair in 2015-16. She founded the Center for Gender and Development Studies CGDS at AUIS in 2015, developed and taught feminist courses, built a team, fundraised, and conducted and published research. She was also keen to make gender studies resources available in Kurdish and Arabic, and, with her team, she secured funding from the European Union for it. In 2019, she received support from the UK Global Challenges Research Fund for a research project about masculinity and violence, in partnership with London School of Economics.
Shayan Talabany – Analyst, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Extremism Policy Unit. Shayan’s research focuses on the international relations and politics of the Middle East, with special interest in post-2003 Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Prior to joining TBI, Shayan worked as a parliamentary researcher for a Conservative MP, and more recently was Head of Programmes at the Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC), overseeing CMEC’s Gulf and Levant Programmes. Shayan lived in Iraq and the KRI between 2006-2015, and has travelled extensively around the MENA region. She speaks Kurdish and Arabic.