IBBC AGM and dinner report

IBBC convened its members for the annual general meeting on 29th January. Chaired by Mr John Curtin of EY, and attended by the majority of members, the organisation reported that membership had grown over 10% in the last year, and also diversified in nature and sectors, to reflect the broadening Iraqi economy and the growth of the importance of education to IBBC and Iraq. There were also more events and member engagements and two successful conferences in Dubai and London, and a number of SME visits to the UK. Members also engaged in geo-political discussions regarding Iraq and the dynamics in the Middle east.

The AGM was followed by a dinner in the House of Lords Attlee room, sponsored by Hydro-C, with speeches from Lord Robertson and Mr Wayne David MP (shadow minster for MENA). Lord Robertson – a former Defence Secretary, Secretary General of NATO and Deputy President of BP Russia – mirroring a significant speech he gave in the House or Lords, outlined the challenges facing the Western democracies in the face of Russian and regional aggression, and warned members to expect a changed world order that does not respect the UN or rule of law if the new autocracies are successful. Mr Wayne David MP outlined the approach a Labour government would make if elected, which embraced internationalism and cooperation of the UK- with multiple partners and nations. After his speech Christophe Michels chaired a Q&A session with Mr David.

Baroness Nicholson, president of IBBC, introduced the speakers and welcomed guests, which included not only leading members, but also members of the Lords, media, the PUK, the Kurdish Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Chatham House, Rusi, universities, the FCDO and the Embassy of Iraq. Of special note was the attendance of Ms Claire Horton CBE, Director General of the War Graves commission and The Rt Hon Alistair Burt.