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
Prime MinisterBarham Salih
Preceded byIdris Hadi
Succeeded byAli Saeed
Founding President of Middle East Research Institute, MERI
Assumed office
18 May 2014
Personal details
Born (1960-11-28) 28 November 1960 (age 58)
Koy Sanjaq, Erbil, Iraq
Alma materUniversity of Al-Mustansiriyah
University of London
Royal College of Pathologists

Dlawer Ala'Aldeen (born 1960) دلاوه‌ر عبدالعزيز علاءالدين, is the Founding President of the Middle East Research Institute, a policy-research institute, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He is a former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Kurdistan Regional Government[1] (2009-2012) and former professor of Medicine at the University of Nottingham in the UK.[2]. His current focus is on policy research in the fields of good governance, rule of law, national security, governance reform and promotion of human rights.

Background and career[edit]

Dlawer Ala'Aldeen was born in the town of Koya, near Arbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan. His father (Abdul-Azizi) was a primary school teacher and author of several books published in Kurdish, including "the life of Mohammad" and "Exegesis (Tafsir) of Quran".

Ala'Aldeen grew up in and around the city of Arbil, and studied medicine in Baghdad.[3] He immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1984 where he furthered his education and specialised in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. He studied tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and trained for PhD in molecular microbiology at the MRC Clinical Research Centre, Harrow-London, UK. He was awarded MRC Research Fellowship before being appointed as a clinical academic in the University Hospital of Nottingham in 1992 and Professor of clinical microbiology in 2002. He founded the Meningococcal Research Group in 1995, which then expanded into 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 (later renamed Public Health England) as Deputy Director of the Centre for Infection in Colindale, London. Dlawer was appointed as the Director of Research at the Royal College of Pathologists in 2009.

On 28 October 2009, Ala'Aldeen was sworn in as the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.[1] He left the position as a result of KRG cabinet change on 5 April 2012. After a brief return to his University position in Nottingham, he founded a new policy-research institute (The Middle East Research Institute, MERI [6]) in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

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.[7]

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,[8] 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.[8] He was also an active member of the British academic group, The Working Party on Chemical and Biological weapons between 1988-96.

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)[9] and George HW Bush (then President of the 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;[10] and investigated the use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan,[11] 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.[1]

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[12] 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.

Middle East Research Institute[edit]

Ala'Aldeen is the Founding President[13] of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), an independent, non-profit think tank which is focused on policy-issues and governance reform in Iraq and Kurdistan Region. MERI is entirely grant-funded, and its core funds obtained from the Capacity Building Grant of the Oil and Gas Council (Kurdistan Region of Iraq, KRI), MERI became operational on 18 May 2014, and held its inaugural forum (MERI Forum 2014) in November of the same year. The Forum has become an annual event, held in Erbil and includes live debates between Iraq's top politicians, including the President and Parliament speaker of Iraq, current and previous Prime Ministers of KRG ([14]) and international policy makers, such as Foreign Ministers (e.g. Turkey) and foreign diplomats ([15]).

MERI has conducted numerous research projects [16] on refugees, Internally Displace persons (IDPs), security dynamics in the Middle East, EU policies in the Region, post-ISIS Iraq, conflict resolution (e.g. the future of Kirkuk), promoting human rights (protecting minority's rights, prevention of violence against women prevention of violence against women) and institutional reform (Judiciary system, public prosecution, interior ministry and Ministry of Peshmarga).

Only one year after its establishment, MERI was named among the top think tanks in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) Region, and the highest ranking in Iraq. MERI consolidated its position for successive years (2015-2019) and ranked the first in Iraq and 35th in MEAN (among 507 institutions, top 7%) according to the Global Go To Think Tank Index report [17] issued by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute.

Scientific work[edit]

From 1988 to 2014, Ala'Aldeen 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). He and his research group discovered a number of bacterial virulence factors and identified their human target receptors. They have also studied the human genetic response to bacteria as well as the population genetics and genome evolution of N. meningitidis, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Ala'Aldeen has published extensively in international scientific journals and co-authored three books in microbiology, Staphylococcus Aureus: molecular and clinical aspects; Molecular and Clinical Aspects of Bacterial Vaccine Development; and Medical Microbiology. He also holds patents for anti-Campylobacter agents and meningococcal vaccine candidates.[18]

He was chairman or member of a number of National learned societies and committees, which included:

Kurdish writer[edit]

As a Kurdish writer, Ala'Aldeen has published numerous articles, mainly in the Hawlati newspaper,[26] on the impact of global politics on Kurdistan and on strategic issues relating to Kurdish human rights.[27][28] He has published several books on politics and governance including: "Lobbying for a Stateless Nation" (2007); "Nation Building and the system of self-governance in Kurdistan Region" (2013); and "State-Building: A roadmap for the rule of law and institutionalisation in Kurdistan Region" (2018) [29]. He comments regularly on local, regional, and international news channels offering his insight and analysis on current Kurdish, Iraqi, and Middle Eastern issues.


  1. ^ a b c Home | Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  2. ^ Molecular Bacteriology and Immunology Group
  3. ^ "Dlawer (Del) Ala'Aldeen". The Lancet. 2004-02-27. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  4. ^ Molecular Bacteriology and Immunology Group
  5. ^ Course List - School of Molecular Medical Sciences - The University of Nottingham
  6. ^ http://www.meri-k.org/
  7. ^ "Communicating the war on terror". King's College London. 2003-06-05. Archived from the original on 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  8. ^ a b [1]
  9. ^ Thatcher urges 'mercy mission' to fleeing Kurds; The Guardian 4/4/1991
  10. ^ Lobbying for a stateless nation
    پڕۆفيسۆر دلاوه‌ر عه‌بدولعه‌زيز عه‌لائه‌ددين: لۆبی كردن بۆ نه‌ته‌وه‌يه‌كی بێ ده‌وڵه‌ت
  11. ^ Death Clouds: Saddam Hussein’s Chemical War Against the Kurds
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2012-05-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Dlawer Ala’Aldeen | MERI
  14. ^ Forum | MERI
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ http://www.meri-k.org/publications/
  17. ^ https://repository.upenn.edu/think_tanks/16/
  18. ^ Patent US6861507 - Screening of neisserial vaccine candidates and vaccines against pathogenic ... - Google Patents
  19. ^ Journal of Medical Microbiology - Home
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-09-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Central | BMC Microbiology
  22. ^ a b The Royal College of Pathologists | Home
  23. ^ SGM : About SGM : Groups Archived July 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Medical Research Council - Membership Archived December 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Health Protection Agency Archived January 26, 2007, at WebCite
  26. ^ Hawlati Newspaper
  27. ^ Ala'Aldeen's published articles
  28. ^ "Dlawer Ala'Aldeen". Open Democracy. Archived from the original on 2009-08-30. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  29. ^ http://www.meri-k.org/publication/state-building-a-roadmap-for-the-rule-of-law-and-institutionalisation-in-the-kurdistan-region/

External links[edit]