TSG’s Iraq Dialogue Initiative began in September 2021, convening a broad, politically diverse spectrum of Iraqi actors, with the aim of addressing roots of conflict in the country today. The project goes beyond past Track I and II interventions, by facilitating both horizontal (intra elite) and vertical (elite-citizen) conversations, with an emphasis on maintaining locally-owned spaces for informal discussion led by local coordinators in four different areas – Basra, Baghdad, Mosul and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The initiative aims to address, from the bottom-up, the roots of Iraq’s governance problems, with a focus on the widening divide between the elite and citizens, the fragmentation of the state and the relationship between the federal government and the regional level. Over an extended three-year process, informal discussions will be held across these horizontal and vertical divides in each of the four areas, bringing together both societal actors (including those associated with the recent protest movements) and representatives of local and central political elites (with an emphasis on reform-minded actors) – both separately and, gradually, together in wider groups.

As the process proceeds these dialogues will aim both to build the connective tissue between these disparate groups of reformists at the local/regional level, and to arrive at consensus-driven proposals for overcoming barriers to reform on specific socio-economic issues. In parallel to the dialogue workshops themselves, TSG and partners will also commission research inputs to help steer the process, drawing on the expertise of a network of local Iraqi researchers. 

Lessons learned on the inner dynamics of state-society relations in Iraq and barriers to reform on a range of issues, will inform both Iraqi and international policymakers, with the aim of promoting  more coherent and locally-driven approaches to key reform or transformation initiatives.


The project is led by a dedicated Iraq country team headed by Renad Mansour (Director of the Iraq Initiative at Chatham House) and Sajad Jiyad (Fellow at the Century Foundation, Managing Director of Bridge), and includes facilitators and experts with significant experience in post-conflict stabilisation and with a track record of deep and longstanding engagement with the relevant networks in the four different regions.