As the battle for nearby Mosul rages, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has announced his intention to hold an independence referendum in 2017. Join Delegations For Dialogue on this fact-finding programme to investigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region as the country moves toward partition. Select delegates will gather in Erbil to engage with members of civil society, Kurdish politicians, students and activists with the aim of determining whether the world's oldest stateless nation will be able to achieve independence.

3 - 9 July 2017 | Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan


  • Meet leaders of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), the incumbent party in Erbil's parliament.
  • Meet leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the main opposition party based in Sulaymaniya city
  • Meet leaders of the Baha'i and Assyrian communities - two important minority groups in the region.
  • Meet the Peshmerga Military Forces and visit the frontlines of the war on ISIL in Kirkuk.
  • Meet leaders of the Kurdish oil industry. 
  • Visit major historical sites such as the Erbil Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Sight dating from 5000bc.
  • Visit Halabja and learn about Saddam Hussein's Anfal campaign against the Kurds and speak with survivors. 
  • Visit Saddam Hussein's 'Red Security Prison', a symbolic reminder of the suppression of Iraq's Kurdish population. 
  • Join exchange activities with local university students and learn basic Kurdish (Sorani). 

NOTE: Delegates will be given full information on itinerary once accepted to the programme. 


TYPE: Fact Finding

START: Erbil, Iraq | 3 July 2017

END: Erbil, Iraq | 9 July 2017

FEE:  GBP 985 [EUR 1150, USD 1220]

Read more about Programme Fees and Funding

FEE INCLUDES: Double occupancy accommodation, three meals per day, all transportation between destinations within Iraq, all tickets/ speaker fees/ anything not mentioned below.

FEE EXCLUDES: Transportation to and from Erbil, visa fees (see requirements), alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, personal spending on souvenirs and anything not mentioned under included.

SAFETY: This programme is run in conjunction with the Kurdish Regional Government. As a result, we will be receiving the most accurate information regarding the security situation throughout our stay in the region. We also receive regular updates and advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

It is important to note the security situation throughout the rest of the Iraq remains volatile and dangerous. Our programme will not be visiting these areas. 


Please Note - the programme will only run with 8 delegates or more.

Read more about the Application Process

Programme Route

3 July 2017: Gather in Erbil Iraq

4 July 2017: Erbil ->bus-> Sulaymaniyah

5 July 2017: Sulamaniyah overnight

6 July 2017: Sulaymaniyah ->bus-> Halabja

7 July 2017: Halabja ->bus-> Erbil

8 July 2017: Erbil overnight 

9 July 2017: Final day and departure 


Bazaar in Erbil 

Bazaar in Erbil 

The 'Kurdish question' has come to the forefront of Middle Eastern affairs since the rise of ISIL and the pivotal role played by Kurdish forces in both Iraq and Syria in fighting the Islamic State. Support for independence amongst the population of Iraqi Kurdistan is high, and international solidarity with the idea is growing. 

However, the Kurds in Iraq remain highly divided, the region is fragile and its future far from certain. Delegations For Dialogue hopes to foster an opportunity for delegates from around the world to explore this situation first-hand. Through carefully planned meetings this programme will offer delegates the chance to engage with both civil society and government officials in what could be one of the most pivotal periods of Iraqi Kurdistan's history.