TONIGHT: Kurdish ambassador to deliver political statement at Tech


COOKEVILLE – Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan regional government representative to the United States, will deliver a statement about American foreign policy and the ISIS terrorist group at Tennessee Tech University Monday at 7 p.m. in the Bell Hall Auditorium.

The title of Rahman’s address, “Crisis in the Middle East: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Kurds vs. ISIS,” will detail political ties between the autonomous Kurdistan and the U.S. with regard to the terrorist group ISIS. The ambassador will also clarify her government’s position on a wide array of political, security, humanitarian, economic and cultural matters.

A question and answer session and reception will follow the ambassador’s remarks. The entire event is free and open to the public.

“The political relationship between the United States and Kurdistan is a major foreign policy issue,” Michael Gunter, a professor of political science, said. “Kurdish fighters are our main boots on the ground against ISIS. This is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Tennessee to understand their point of view.”

Rahman was born and lived briefly as a child in Iraq and Iran in the mid-1970s before moving to Britain in 1976.

Before her career in public service, Rahman worked as a journalist for 17 years. She began with local newspapers in London and worked her way to writing for The Observer and the Financial Times. Prior to her U.S. appointment in 2015, she served as the Kurdish High Representative to the United Kingdom.

“Iraqi Kurds consider the United States the most important post for their diplomats,” Gunter said. “We granted the Kurdish people de facto independence and have been supporting their interests ever since.”

Her late father, Sami Abdul Rahman, was a veteran of the Kurdish freedom movement, joining the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 1963 and playing a critical leadership role in the Kurdish and Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was killed, alongside his elder son Salah and 96 others, in a 2004 Iraq suicide bombing.

Rahman graduated with an honors degree in history from the University of London in 1987.

Bell Hall is located at 10 W. 7th St.


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