IU Middle East scholar invited to join the Council on Foreign Relations

Free Press Report

BLOOMINGTON, IN - Feisal Amin Rasoul Istrabadi, director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and a University Scholar in international law and diplomacy at Indiana University Bloomington, has been invited to join the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank and publisher with nearly 4,700 members dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders. It strives to help citizens better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

Istrabadi served as Iraq's ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations from 2004 until 2007, when he became a faculty member of the IU Maurer School of Law. He joins two professors in the new School of Global and International Studies at the prestigious policy organization.

He joins Lee Hamilton, director of IU's Center on Congress who served 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, distinguished scholar at the School of Global and International Studies, and and professor of practice at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs; and Sumit Ganguly, the Tagore Professor of political science and director of the Center on American and Global Security.

The Center for the Study of the Middle East is a Title VI National Research Center based within IU's School of Global and International Studies.

"There are few scholars who know as much as Professor Istrabadi about the transition from dictatorship to democracy, and fewer still who have drafted, as he has with Iraq's interim constitution, legal documents to that effect," said IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel.

"With this invitation, the Council on Foreign Relations gains both a wealth of expertise and experience and a principled and passionate advocate for democracy," Robel added. "I am also delighted to note that of the council's four members within the state of Indiana, three are on the faculty of our new School of Global and International Studies."

"The election of ambassador Istrabadi to this prestigious organization brings enhanced national visibility to and recognition of the excellent work he and the Center for the Study of the Middle East have done to better educate our students about this part of the world," said Maria Bucur-Deckard, associate dean for international programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and the John W. Hill Professor of East European History. "The School of Global and International Studies is proud to consider him a core faculty member."

Istrabadi, who also is associate director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy in the Maurer School of Law, said he was humbled by the honor. "Being here at IU the last few years has been an extraordinary opportunity to work with some world-class colleagues and some truly terrific students," he said. "I am privileged to be here and honored to have been selected by the Council on Foreign Relations."

Prior to his diplomatic appointment, Istrabadi served as a legal advisor to the Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs during the negotiations for U.N. Security Council resolution 1546 of June 8, 2004, which recognized the reassertion by Iraq of its sovereignty.

He also was principal legal drafter of Iraq's interim constitution, the Law of Administration of the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, and principal author of its Bill of Fundamental Rights. Before contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq, Istrabadi was a practicing trial lawyer in the United States for 15 years, with approximately 70 civil trials in federal and state courts, focusing on civil rights, employment discrimination and constitutional torts.

He also served as senior legal fellow for Legal Reform and Development in the Arab World at the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University's College of Law in Chicago.

Only one other Indiana resident is a full-time CFR member, Michael Desch, co-director of the University of Notre Dame's International Security Program.