academics & research

Faculty member to join Council of Foreign Relations



Ten years ago, Feisal Amin Rasoul Al Istrabadi helped construct the draft of Iraq’s interim constitution during the beginning of the U.S. war in Iraq.

Earlier last month, IU announced that Istrabadi, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq to the United Nations and the director of the IU Center for the Study of the Middle East, was invited to be a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.
 
Istrabadi has accepted this position and will be a part of the independent, nonpartisan, diplomatic organization that advises government officials on foreign policy issues.

Istrabadi, who is also a university scholar in International Law and Diplomacy at the Maurer School of Law, said that as a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, he will continue to speak out as a private citizen as well as write scholarly articles about foreign policy.

Istrabadi said there is a certain Iraq fatigue within the policy community after almost an entire decade of U.S.-Iraqi war.

“It’s been 10 years,” Istrabadi said, “People’s attention span has moved on to different things.”

The flavor of the day is Iran and North Korea. Istrabadi thinks this is an unfortunate problem because the United States has fought two wars there in 20 years.

According to a recent article in The New Yorker, April 9th 2013 marked the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

“I returned in 2003, after 33 years in exile, to help rebuild the country,” Istrabadi said.

Istrabadi has also served as a legal advisor to the Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs.
He said he sees joining the Council of Foreign Relations as an honor and opportunity to network. Lee Hamilton, the director of the IU’s Center on Congress, and Sumit Ganguly, the director of the Center on American and Global Security, are also new members of the Council.

“It’s a great honor for me to be a member of council,” Istrabadi said. “I regard it as an opportunity to be in closer contact with some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the American foreign policy establishment and hopefully someway contribute to their deliberations on the issues that they become knowledgeable about.”

Interim Maurer School of Law Dean Hannah Buxbaumsaid via email that Istrabadi’s expertise in global affairs will be a great benefit to the Council.

“In addition, his appointment will help enhance the national reputation of the Law School as we continue to emphasize the importance of globalization in legal education,” Buxbaum said.

Istrabadi, a Virginia native with an Iraqi heritage, went to Bloomington High School South and received both his B.A. and J.D. at IU. He was a practicing trial lawyer in the U.S. for 15 years.

“If you would’ve told me as a student that 20 years later that I would be a diplomat, that I would be a drafter of a constitution, I might’ve prepared myself differently on a role that came completely unexpected,” Istrabadi said.

Istrabadi said that the moral of the story for students is to take advantage of your opportunities while you have them.

“You never know where life is going to take you,” Istrabadi said. “You could end up doing things you never imagined.”

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