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Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

IU alumnus Feisal Istrabadi, Iraq's ambassador to United Nations, to discuss situation in Iraq

Feisal Istrabadi

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington alumnus Feisal Istrabadi, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, will discuss the current situation in Iraq on Monday (Feb. 28) at noon in the Moot Court Room of the Law School. Istrabadi was the principle drafter of Iraq's interim constitution.

Previously a trial lawyer in Valparaiso, Ind., Istrabadi returned to his former home, Iraq, to serve as vice president of the Iraqi Forum for Democracy and as an adviser to a member of the country's Governing Council. He helped draft an interim constitution that would satisfy Iraq's divided religious and ethnic groups, and extend rights and liberties to Iraqi citizens, who were deprived of such protections under Baath Party rule. The interim constitution, which was approved by the Governing Council in March 2004, establishes a legal structure for Iraq until a permanent constitution is drafted.

Istrabadi, who earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at IU, played an integral role in setting down the document's democratic principles, such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He championed a provision mandating that women make up at least 25 percent of Iraq's legislature. (He had argued for 40 percent.)

After last week's certification of Iraq's historic Jan. 30 elections, the country has turned its attention to forming a new government and writing the permanent constitution. Many controversial issues will need to be resolved during the writing process, including the specifics of Kurdish autonomy and Islam's role in government. The permanent constitution is scheduled to be drafted by Aug. 15. The Iraqi people will vote on the constitution in a referendum on Oct. 15.

Istrabadi was born in Virginia but lived in Iraq for part of his childhood. He is currently on leave from his Valparaiso law practice to serve as the deputy permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations. Istrabadi's paternal grandfather, Mahmoud, was a member of the assembly that wrote Iraq's first constitution in 1925.

NOTE: Istrabadi was featured in an IU Alumni Magazine story in spring 2004. Reporters can access the story at