IBBC holds Cumberland Lodge annual retreat programme: 'Iraq in perspective'
For the first time in two years the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual retreat programme at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
The event was generously sponsored by IBBC Member Al Burhan Group.
The morning sessions were fully attended by a range of members, many from Iraq, and this year focused on two main areas of development and discussion 'Reform and economic trends, present status in Iraq and relations with her neighbours. In the afternoon Professor Mohammed Al Uzri chaired a series of panels on Higher and Further Education and the private sector engagement.
IBBC were delighted to receive several Iraqi dignitaries and special guests including Professor Hamid Khalaf Ahmed (Iraqi Prime Minister's senior Adviser and head of the PM's scholarship programme), Dr Salem Chalabi, Chairman of TBI, Dr Karzan Karim, Senior Adviser to the PM of the KRI, IBBC President Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, The British Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Mark Bryson-Richardson, Iraq's Deputy Ambassador Ms Jwan Hasan Khioka, Professor Frank Gunter of Lehigh University, and Mr Fanar Haddad, immediate past advisor on international affairs to the Iraqi Prime Minister.
Among the speakers addressing the reforms and situation in Iraq included, Mr Salem Chalabi, Chairman of TBI, Dr Renad Mansour of Chatham House, Dr Neil Quilliam of Azure Strategy, Mr Nicholas Pelham of the Economist and Dr Wael Mansour of the World bank.
During the education sessions, chaired by Professor Mohammed Al Uzri, a range of leading private sector and University speakers included: Professor Moneer Tolephih, President of Baghdad University, Mr Jim Buttery, Director of the British Council Iraq, Ms Layla Al Hassani (BP) representing the IBBC Young Executive Committee, Dr Aida Al Obaidi from the IBBC UK Iraq Alumni Network, Dr Victoria Lindsay of Stirling Education, Dr Amir Sadaati of City & Guilds, Mr Aows Abdullah of Unihouse Global, Dr Kodo Aziz of CISQ, Professor John Strachan of Bath Spa, Professor Hastings McKenzie of Northampton University, and Prof. Mohammed Hamza the Iraqi Cultural Attache to the UK.
The Education panels in particular reached significant milestones with new initiatives in the private provision of education and collaboration with UK Universities and private companies.
Robert Guest, Foreign Editor of the Economist, and Canon Edmund Newell, Principal of Cumberland Lodge, addressed delegates over dinner on Tuesday and Monday night.
IBBC's Managing Director Christophe Michels expressed cautious optimism for the immediate future of Iraq in his opening remarks, saying that Iraq had weathered many significant crisis in the past two years, that its Government had articulated an ambitious reform programme and that some meaningful reform had been achieved, but that challenges to investors remained daunting and that time was running short for the country to adapt to global changes including the transformation of the energy sector and the climate crisis.