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'The Politics of parliamentary development: working with the Iraqi Council of Representatives' (Policy and Practice)

Publication date: Sep 30, 2013 11:57 AM

Start: Oct 24, 2013 05:30 PM
End: Oct 24, 2013 07:00 PM

Location: Medical Sciences 131 AV Hill LT Medical Sciences building, Malet Place, WC1E 6BT

Sue GriffithsSameer Kassam

'The Politics of parliamentary development: working with the Iraqi Council of Representatives'

Dr Sue Griffiths & Sameer Kassam, Global Partners Governance

In the field of governance and politics, international support has tended to focus on capacity building, provision of resources, institutional reform and training. But projects that alter institutional structures, give people more skills and provide extra resources are pointless unless the recipients use them in the right way. The ultimate objective is to change behaviour.

Within the Middle East much of this work is particularly sensitive. The region contains a diversity of political systems, and the strength of the parliament often reflects a wider political struggle about the balance of power within that country. Each parliament has its own specific challenges.

GPG believes that the role of organisations like us is not to implement anything, but rather to help, guide and advise. We provide support and expert advice on issues of strategy, organisation and process, but the implementation of political change and new patterns of behaviour has to be led by the people working within the institutions themselves.

In this session, Sue will outline GPG’s approach to supporting political and parliamentary change and the challenges of the current aid environment. Sameer will discuss the experience of implementing a project on the ground with the Iraqi Council of Representatives, the opportunities presented by working with reform-minded MPs and Staff as well as some notable achievements to which GPG has contributed.

Global Partners Governance has been working with parliaments, parties, politicians and staff in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa and beyond since 2006,including in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Sue is Deputy Director of Global Partners Governance (GPG), responsible for oversight and strategic development of GPG’s projects strengthening parliamentary democracy and political parties. Sue also works specifically on support to political parties and parliament in Egypt and Jordan.

Sue was previously a Senior Clerk in the House of Commons, where she provided support for select committees and individual Members of Parliament in a variety of roles, developing specialist knowledge of parliamentary procedure and processes. She worked on a number of proposals for parliamentary reform, including for the Modernisation Committee and, most recently, the new Backbench Business Committee.

Sue has a PhD in eighteenth-century French literature and a degree in French and Arabic.

Sameer Kassam manages Global Partners’ long-standing project with the Iraqi Council of Representatives, which aims at providing targeted support to parliamentary committees, directorates and senior staff. He also works on other implementation and research projects designed to assist parliaments and political parties across the MENA region, most notably with the Libyan General National Congress.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages from the University of Edinburgh and completed a Masters in Middle Eastern Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies prior to joining Global Partners. His dissertation examined the relationship between the state and sectarianism in twentieth century Iraq and Lebanon.

Sameer is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Arabic and Spanish.

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