The Free Yezidi Foundation and the Wilson Center – Middle East Program are co-hosting the following panel: Yezidis in Iraq & Syria: Genocide, Recovery & Geopolitical Challenges.


WednesdayMay. 19, 20211:00pm – 2:30pm ET

Click here to RSVP


In response to ISIS’ genocidal assault of the Yezidis beginning in 2014, the United States assembled a global coalition of 80 countries from around the world to defeat ISIS. Seven years later, Yezidis still struggle to recover in Iraq and in Syria. Hundreds of thousands remain displaced, heavily traumatized, facing threats from an array of actors. Yezidi lands in and around Sinjar, Iraq, and in Afrin and other parts of Syria remain disputed or occupied. In Sinjar, regional powers and non-state actors compete for power, even amidst a backdrop of Turkish-led airstrikes. In Syria, Yezidi communities have fled Afrin and other locations that are now occupied by Turkey and Turkish-backed militias.

The Biden Administration must develop policies for Iraq and Syria that prioritize Yezidi and minority rights and must ensure that Yezidis do not suffer persecution and further marginalization even after the military defeat of ISIS. This panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities for Yezidis, the geopolitical terrain, and possible paths forward for the United States.

James F. Jeffrey

Chair of the Middle East Program;
Former ambassador to Iraq and Turkey, and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS

Amy Austin Holmes

Public Policy fellow and former Visiting Scholar at Harvard University

Pari Ibrahim

Executive Director, Free Yezidi Foundation

Murad Ismael

Co-Founder and President of Sinjar Academy; Co-Founder and Former Director of Yazda

Nadine Maenza

Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Moderator: Merissa Khurma

Program Director, Middle East Program