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Keeping up with the Kurds: The Drive Toward Self-Determination in a War-Torn Middle East


Keeping up with the Kurds: The Drive Toward Self-Determination in a War-Torn Middle East
Presented by Dr. Chris Kilford (Queen's University Centre for International Defence and Policy

Wednesday 24 January, 7:00 pm
Research and Innovation Centre, room 119
The University of Regina main campus

There is no question that the decision by Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani to hold an independence referendum on 25 September 2017 resulted in a major setback on the road to independence for Iraq’s Kurds. In the days that followed the referendum, in which a vast majority of Iraqi Kurds voted for independence, the Iraqi, Iranian, Turkish and Syrian governments all moved quickly to isolate Barzani and cut-off his government from the outside world. Elsewhere, as the war against the Islamic State (IS) wound down, Kurds were also on the defensive. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey would never allow the foundation of a Kurdish state in northern Syria while inside Turkey the war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) carried on. For Kurds, often referred to as “the largest ethnic group without a state,” there were high hopes in a post-IS world that a Kurdish Spring would occur. Now, hopes for eventual self-determination appear bleak. During his talk, Dr. Chris Kilford will discuss the challenges facing the region’s Kurds and provide his view of what the post-IS future holds for the Middle East.

About Dr. Chris Kilford
During his 36-year military career in the Canadian Armed Forces, Chris served throughout Canada, Germany, Afghanistan and Turkey in various command, instructional and staff roles.

From July 2009 until July 2010, he was posted to the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan as the Canadian Deputy Military Attaché (Lieutenant Colonel) and then to the Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey as the Canadian Defence Attaché (Colonel) from July 2011 until August 2014.  Chris retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in September 2014.  

Chris completed a PhD in history at Queen’s University in 2009 with a focus on civil-military relations in the developing world in the post-colonial period.  Today, he is a Fellow with the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy, a Research Fellow with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, President of the Canadian International Council, Victoria Branch and a sessional professor with the Royal Military College and the Canadian Forces College teaching distance learning courses on political geography and global powers and institutions.

His articles and opinion pieces on Canadian defence and foreign policy issues plus Turkish and Middle Eastern matters have appeared in numerous Canadian and international publications and he has become a frequent commentator for CTV and other media outlets.

This lecture is a prsentation of the University of Regina Faculty of Arts and the Canadian International Council - South Saskatchewan Branch.

This is a free event and all are welcome. Free parking is available in lot 1 M. Pay parking throughout campus is available at kiosk and meters. For more information please call: 306-585-4226.