Dlawer Ala'Aldeen

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Dlawer Ala'Aldeen
Professor Dlawer Ala-Aldeen former Minister of Higher Education at KRG 2011.jpg
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
In office
28 October 2009 – 5 April 2012
President Massoud Barzani
Prime Minister Barham Salih
Preceded by Idris Hadi
Succeeded by Ali Saeed
Personal details
Born (1960-11-28) 28 November 1960 (age 53)
Koy Sanjaq, Erbil, Iraq
Profession Professor of Medicine
Website [5]

Dlawer Ala'Aldeen (born 1960) دلاوه‌ر عبدالعزيز علاءالدين, is the professor of clinical microbiology and head of the Molecular Bacteriology and Immunology Group at the University of Nottingham in the UK.[1] Between 2009-2012, he was the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.[2]

Background and career[edit]

Dlawer Ala'Aldeen was born in the town of Koya in Iraqi Kurdistan. His father was a primary school teacher and author of several books published in Kurdish, including "the life of Mohammad" and "Exegesis (Tafsir) of Quran". Dlawer grew up in and around the city of Arbil, and studied medicine in Baghdad.[3]

He moved to London in 1984 to study tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and train in molecular microbiology at the MRC Clinical Research Centre. He founded the Molecular Bacteriology and Immunology Group in Nottingham University in 1999.[4] He was also the Founding Director of the MSc course in Clinical Microbiology in Nottingham University.[5] He was seconded to the Health Protection Agency as Deputy Director of the Centre for Infection.[6] Dlawer was appointed as the Director of Research at the Royal College of Pathologists in 2009. On the 28th of October 2009, he was sworn in as the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraqi Kurdistan.[2] He left the position as a result of KRG cabinet change on the 5th of April 2012.

Scientific work[edit]

He has worked on pathogenesis, molecular epidemiology and vaccine development of various bacterial pathogens, particularly Neisseria meningitidis (causes meningitis and septicemia) and Campylobacter jejuni (most common cause of food poisoning).

Ala'Aldeen has published extensively in international scientific journals and co-authored three books in microbiology, Staphylococcus Aureus: molecular and clinical aspects, Medical Microbiology, Molecular and Clinical Aspects of Bacterial Vaccine Development and Medical Microbiology. He also holds patents for meningococcal vaccine candidates.[7]

According to his page on the website of the University of Nottingham, he has had a long-standing interest in the study of Neisseria meningitidis infections and vaccine development. His main focus is on the molecular pathogenesis of, and human genetic response to, Neisseria meningitidis and Campylobacter jejuni. His research group is interested in defining the role of bacterial virulence factors in host-pathogen interaction and identifying their host receptors. They have also studied the population genetics of Neisseria meningitidis and made significant contributions to this field. More recently, they have developed interest in studying the dynamics and genome evolution of Neisseria meningitidis, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Board membership[edit]

He has been chairman or member of a number of National learned societies and committees (see below) and the editorial board of three international microbiology/infection journals, including Journal of Medical Microbiology,[8] Journal of Infection,[9] BMC Microbiolog.[10]

Lobbying for Human Rights[edit]

Ala'Aldeen has long lobbied for Kurdish people's human rights and campaigned for a global ban of chemical and biological weapons. His own parents and siblings were among the survivors of the chemical weapons used in Iraq.[15]

He was active in the late 1980s and early 1990s, lobbying within the British Parliament, media and Government. With UK-based colleagues, he founded the Kurdish British Scientific and Medical Support Group (KBSMSG) in 1988,[16] which later became the Kurdish Scientific and Medical Association in 1989. He was elected as the founding Secretary and later the Chairman of KSMA, before the organisation expanded into the Kurdistan Medical and Scientific Federation.[16] He was also an active member of the British academic group, The Working Party on Chemical and Biological weapons between 1988-1996.

Ala'Aldeen met Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, and Dr George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in April 1991 and persuaded them to put pressure on John Major (then British Prime Minister) [17] and George HW Bush (then President of USA) to help end Saddam Hussein's attack on the Kurds. This was in the aftermath of the second Gulf war, when almost two million displaced Kurds fled to the borders with Iran and Turkey. As a consequence, a "no-fly zone, Safe Haven" was established north of 36th parallel north that lasted from April 1991 until the fall of Saddam regime. The Safe Haven allowed the Kurds in Iraq to return to their homes, elect their own Kurdistan Regional Government and Kurdistan Parliament. Ala'Aldeen has published a book on Lobbying for a Stateless Nation;[18] and investigated the use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan,[19] and the poisoning of Kurdish refugees in Turkey (published in the Lancet, 1990 Feb 3;335, p. 287-8).

Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research[edit]

Ala'Aldeen has long been involved in capacity building for Iraqi and Kurdistan Universities and establishing academic links with British universities. On 28 October 2009, he joined Dr Barham Salih's Cabinet of Kurdistan Regional Government as Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.[20] He initiated a major reform process in the system of Higher Education, with the aim to raise standards and help Universities gain total independence. He led a major and highly transparent scholarship program for sending thousands of students abroad for Masters and PhD studies. His first-year report (A roadmap to quality) in 2010 [21] and a second year report (On route to quality) in 2011 outline the process of reform, including the first introduction of teaching quality assurance in Universities, continuous academic development for teachers, split-site PhD programs, restructuring university management in preparation for independence, introducing electronic system for student applications, converting technical institutes to Polytechnic Universities and modernising postgraduate (specialised) clinical training. He introduced the process of appointing staff on merit via open competition, and took measures to ensure equal opportunity and gender equality in the system of higher education. He submitted two legislative drafts for reforms in higher education and postgraduate clinical training. Ala'Aldeen faced fierce resistance from anti-reformists and interest groups, particularly when he closed down five private dental and pharmacy Colleges in 2010 and four previously licensed private Universities in 2011.

Perspectives on Iraq and Regional Governance[edit]

Nation Building and the System of Self-Governance in Kurdistan Region- by Dlawer Ala'Aldeen; published in 2013

Ala'Aldeen participated on a Wilson Center-hosted panel of academics discussing “Turkey, Iraq, and the Kurdistan Regional Government,” the future of Iraq after the 2014 wave of violence initiated as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant threatened security in the country, including in the Kurdish region, disrupted politics, and posed threats to many minority ethnic and religious groups. The panel also discussed Turkey’s perspectives on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), energy issues, minorities, and Iraq in general.[22]


As a Kurdish writer, Ala'Aldeen has published numerous articles, mainly in the Hawlati newspaper,[23] on the impact of global politics on Kurdistan and on strategic issues relating to Kurdish human rights.[24][25] He has published a book on "Lobbying for a Stateless Nation" (2007) and a book on "Nation Building and the system of self-governance in Kurdistan Region" (2013).


External links[edit]