Iraq Forum 2008: Panel III.

Assessing the U.S. & International Response to the Crisis

Sam Witten, Ken Bacon & Rabih Torbay | Q & A

SUMMARY: Moderator Kathleen Newland introduces Panel III as an opportunity to reconcile U.S. policy with public concerns about the deepening crisis in Iraq. Deputy Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration The Honorable Samuel Witten outlines the U.S. response in Iraq. The second speaker, Kenneth Bacon of Refugees International, describes the current policies addressing the refugee situation as, “a little solution to a big problem" and explains how "we can do much better." The final panelist speaks with the perspective of a person who has been working inside Iraq. Rabih Torbay of the International Medical Corps details why the international community ought to focus more on "helping to improve Iraq's capacity to provide essential services to its people." Q&A discussion with the audience follows.

Sam Witten, Ken Bacon & Rabih Torbay (42:36)

Kathleen Newland is a co-founder, board member and the Director of Migrants, Migration, and Development and Refugee Protection Programs at the Migration Policy Institute. Her work focuses on the relationship between migration and development, governance of international migration, and refugee protection. She sits on the Board of the International Rescue Committee, and is a Chair Emerita of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children.

The Hon. Samuel M. Witten is the Deputy Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), a position he has held since December 2007. He is responsible for the overall management of the Bureau’s resources, as well as for the formulation and implementation of U.S. policy and programs for refugee assistance, relief and resettlement around the world. The Hon. Mr. Witten has testified on numerous treaties before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and several other committees in the House of Representatives on international law enforcement issues.

Kenneth Bacon is the President of Refugees International, an organization that generates support and protection for refugees and displaced people around the world. From 1994 – 2001, he was Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he advised the Secretary of Defense on public affairs strategy, served as Pentagon spokesman, and managed a large internal communications operation for the U.S. military. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Rabih Torbay is the Vice President of International Operations for the International Medical Corps in Washington D.C. Torbay oversees IMC’s global efforts that span 25 countries on three continents and employs a staff and volunteer base numbering in the thousands. Torbay has personally supervised the expansion of IMC’s humanitarian assistance programs into some of the world’s most challenging areas, including Sierra Leone, Iraq, Darfur, and Afghanistan.

Questions from Audience, Replies from Panel (44:57)

IRAQ FORUM 2008 was organized by EPIC, Refugee Council USA, InterAction, and a coalition of more than 20 organizations taking humanitarian action for peace in Iraq. Special thanks to the Institute for Middle East Studies at The George Washington University for hosting this historic gathering. All videos are produced by Rouane Itani of Aflama, LLC. ©2008 Iraq Action Days, All rights reserved.

Complete Directory of Panels & Speakers