Kawa Hassan

Senior Fellow and Director; Executive Director of Stimson Europe

Middle East & North Africa

Kawa Hassan is the Executive Director of Stimson Europe, Senior Fellow, and Director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Program at the Stimson Center. Prior to joining Stimson, Hassan was Vice President and MENA Program Director for the Brussels Center at EastWest Institute (EWI). In that role, he expanded the EWI MENA Program by leading the Iran-Saudi Dialogue Initiative and Algeria-Morocco Business Dialogue, developed a protocol on Preventing Incidents at Sea (INCSEA) in the Gulf region, conducted shuttle diplomacy between the two main Kurdish parties in Syria and facilitated common understandings on power sharing. Hassan also worked with Iraqi stakeholders, neighboring countries and the European Union, to develop policy recommendations aimed at improving bilateral and multilateral relations between Iraq and its neighbors, expanded fundraising, engaged with governments, donors, policy makers, practitioners and academics in Europe, US and MENA, and provided thought leadership on MENA affairs.

Kawa Hassan is author and editor of numerous publications and a frequent media commentator on Middle East developments. He contributed the chapter, “A Collapsing Order: State Pillage and Social Protest in Post-Saddam Iraq,” to the edited volume of George Mason University, “From Territorial Defeat to Global ISIS: Lessons Learned.” He also served as a member of NATO Mission Iraq Strategic Assessment Capability (NMISAC), advising senior NATO Commanders on Iraq and the region; assumed lead-authorship of the research report “Iraq, Climate-Related Security Risk Assessment,” which was used in the July 2018 UN Security Council debate on the nexus between climate change and security, brought forward under the Swedish Presidency of the Council. Hassan also served as a member of the Atlantic Council’s Task Force Report on the Future of Iraq “Achieving Long Term Stability to Ensure the Defeat of ISIS;” co-led the Working Group Rights & Protection of Minorities in the Middle East, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH), Paris; and provides regular speeches, lectures, hearings and briefings at think tanks, universities, government agencies and the European Parliament.

Previously, Hassan was a visiting and non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, Beirut and knowledge officer at Hivos, headquartered in The Hague. Furthermore, he worked for UNDP and international organizations in Sri Lanka, Iraq and the Netherlands leading post-Tsunami, post-conflict, peace building and research programs. Hassan also worked as a media analyst for the Dutch television and radio channels covering the Iraq War in 2003.

Kawa Hassan holds a Master of Science in International Relations, Political Science from the University of Amsterdam, and studied English and German at the Al-Mustansiriya University, Baghdad, Iraq.


Exploring concrete avenues of cooperation and coordination between Iraq and its immediate neighborhood

Building trust through dialogue on specific areas of shared concern

Identify local solutions to overcoming the closed border and increase bilateral trade in specific industries between both countries.

Research & Writing
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Interview with Kawa Hassan on the Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadimi and Strike Against Pro-Iran Militias

Hassan discussing a strike against pro-Iran militias that apparently occurred in the early hours of Sunday, July 18. There are conflicting reports, claims, counterclaims, and ambiguity about a strike against pro-Iran militias at the Iraqi Syrian border…

Project Note
US-Iran proxy war rages back to life in Iraq

While Washington and Tehran edge towards a new nuclear deal their conflict in Iraq is rapidly intensifying

Interview with Kawa Hassan on Biden Putin Summit in Geneva

This interview was originally published by Cawi Washington (Eye of Washington) Program of Voice of America Kurdish Service

Press Statement
Nonresident Fellow Amer Al Sabaileh Appointed to Political Reform Committee in Jordan

Last week former Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai was tasked by King Abdullah II to lead a Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System.

A Collapsing Order

The biggest question now is when the system will collapse completely—and equally important what comes in its wake.

From Messenger to Host

Iran-Saudi talks in Baghdad demonstrates Iraq’s potential as a hub for regional dialogue, but this is a fragile process and prone to be undermined by spoilers.

Press Release
New Stimson Europe Office Expands Reach

The Stimson Center will open Stimson Europe, a permanent presence in Brussels, Belgium.

Press Release
Track 2 Dialogue is Focus of New Middle East & North Africa Program

The Stimson Center today launched a new Middle East & North Africa (MENA) program led by Kawa Hassan, program Director and Senior Fellow.

Project Note
Hassan Joins NATO Mission Iraq Strategic Assessment Capability

to provide strategic, systematic, independent, evidence-based advice and insights to senior NATO Commanders to support existing assessments of the situation in Iraq and the region

Project Note
Know Your Enemy — Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on ISIL

A brief by Adnan Tabatabai and Kawa Hassan, EWI’s MENA program director, describes the conversation and highlights points that could be grounds for possible partnership.

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