On April 26, 2012, economist Mark Dempsey gave a lecture on the present state of the Iraqi economy. Dempsey served as regional director for Financial Volunteer Services Corps (FVSC) from 2008 until 2012, and was responsible for the Jordan, Yemen, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon Programs. Dempsey argued that the removal of United States’ troops from Iraq has left the country in economic despair within partially built financial institutions. Dempsey offered an insider’s account into the complexities of post-conflict economic development that went beyond the technical skills required to the dire need to reclaim the level of fairness and trust that had been lost over the years.
The event, sponsored by the Arab Studies Program, and endorsed by Middle East Studies, also featured discussant Yasir Imad, an Iraq business consultant and refugee who recently resettled in the United States. Yasir Imad was invited to serve as discussant and a voice from among the young Iraqi professionals who have recently found themselves unable to live in their country. Imad recounted the compounded difficulties of everyday life after the U.S. surge of Iraq, where he found himself the victim of persecution by fellow Iraqis. He was careful not to identify any group by name, but did offer that he eventually applied for and was granted asylum to the United States.