The Modernization of Local Administration in the Kurdistan Region
May 28, 2023, 6:13 p.m.

On May 4, 2023, VNG International Organization, in collaboration with the University of Duhok and under the patronage of the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism, held a conference titled "The Modernization of Local Administration in the Kurdistan Region" in the Rixos Hotel conference hall as part of the Sustainable Development through Improved Local Governance Program. In the presence of His Excellency Sasan Othman Awni Habib, Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, Dr. Ali Tatar, Governor of Duhok, and Dr. Dawood Atrushi, President of the University of Duhok, as well as a number of international and local NGOs representatives, directors and counsellors from the private and public sectors.

The goals of this joint program, "Sustainable Development," between the University of Duhok and VNG International are to modernize local administration, and to do so, it is critical to collaborate with various sectors to support society in evaluative issues, social cohesion, economic challenges, promoting educational quality, and improving the quality of local services. It may be accomplished via several efforts such as effective use of technology, empowering local government offices to make better decisions and policies, and investing in sustainable infrastructure such as transportation, herbal energy, and green building.

Furthermore, because it touches on numerous subjects of study, such as environmental science, engineering, economics, sociology, agriculture, medicine, and planning, this curriculum plays a significant role in developing interest in higher education. Sustainable development may be promoted in higher education in different ways, including the incorporation of concepts in the curriculum and other academic programs, as well as ensuring a sustainable future generation of regents.

Dr. Dawood Atrushi, president of the University of Duhok, stated in a speech, "I'd want to congratulate VNG International for this wonderful collaboration. Modernizing and strengthening our local government structure is critical for achieving contemporary and sustainable development results. Changing traditional governance necessitates the combined efforts of all entities to accomplish the necessary shift toward more refreshing, effective, and responsive government in order to better meet the needs of the society." Likewise, Dr. Ali Tatar, Governor of Duhok, complimented VNG International for their brilliant idea of bringing together three nations to discuss and trade their modernization of local governments.

Miriam Collaris, Project Manager at VNG International, then stated, "We organized this conference in align with the modernization of public administration to bring various parties together in order for Kurdish stakeholders, including Miniseries, Director Generals, Municipalities, and Sub-districts, to connect with people from Latvia, the Netherlands, and other countries to share ideas and experiences. Furthermore, through the articles about public administration from Kurdistan, Latvia, and the Netherlands that we distributed all over the world and have already shared with participants, we hope to provide ideas and creativity about what can be established within public administration in the Kurdistan Region."

Subsequently, three presenters from Kurdistan, Latvia, and the Netherlands discussed their nations' public administration systems and shared their accomplishments and experiences in serving the community.

Following that, the participants engaged in an open debate and dialogue about what can be done in Kurdistan, what the key difficulties in Kurdistan are in terms of administrative development, and how to overcome the existing problems.

VNG International is a renowned organization dedicated to promoting local governance worldwide. With a mission to strengthen democracy, decentralization, and effective public administration, VNG International has been at the forefront of supporting local governments in their development efforts. Through its expertise in capacity building, knowledge sharing, and policy advice, the organization empowers local authorities to become more responsive, accountable, and inclusive. With a proven track record of successful projects and partnerships in numerous countries, VNG International has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and facilitator in the field of local governance. By fostering collaboration between local governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders, VNG International plays a vital role in driving sustainable development and improving the quality of life for communities around the world.


The University of Duhok (UOD) is a public university in the city of Duhok city, which is about 150 km northwest of Erbil (Arbil, Hewlér), the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Region (KRI). The city is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by high mountains. The university campus is a large green area in the city's west side that provides an exciting view of the city and surrounding nature. UOD was founded in October 1992 with only two colleges to meet the region's growing demand for graduate professionals. Today, the UOD has a 19-college with 67 departments, nearly 24000 students, and over 4000 academic and administrative staff. Students thrive in one of the best regional academic communities, studying in programs such as Agriculture, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Architecture, Engineering, Humanities, Linguistics, Basic Education, and Economics as well as Spatial Planning. UOD has strong engagement through its International Relations with many Higher Education institutions and centres of excellence worldwide, such as Purdue University, Indiana University (IU), New York University (NYU), The University of Noter Dame (ND), The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA), BridgeWater State University in the USA, The University of Warsaw - Poland, The University of Glasgow - Scotland, The University of Twente - The Netherlands, Leipzig University, LLC University, University of Oldenburg, The University of Vechta, Europa-Universität Flensburg, TU Dortmund university, THM Giessen University in Germany, The University of Tuscia, The university of Pavia, Sapienza Università di Roma in Italy, The University of Deusto, The University of Barcelona, The University of Granada (UGR) in Spain, Lund University - Sweden, The University of Sussex in the UK, Tampere University - Finland, and so many more. The University of Duhok is an active member of the International Association of Universities (IAU), The UNIMED, the Mediterranean Universities Union, and The Association of Arab Universities (AARU).

UOD Media; May 11th 2023

Report: Firmesk Haso

Photo: Mohammed Abdulkareem