Rend Rahim Francke

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Rend Rahim Francke, an Iraqi-American woman, is Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation. On November 25, 2003, Francke was announced as U.S. ambassador for the Iraqi Governing Council in Washington, D.C. She will have "the job of re-establishing Iraq's embassy in the US capitol which closed 13 years ago during the Gulf crisis of 1990-91." [1][2][3]

  • USIP Senior Fellow, Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program (January 2007-October 2007). [1]

The Iraqi Constitution and Women's Rights

Reuters, August 2, 2005:

"Rend Rahim, Iraq's ambassador to Washington, said this week she feared that if Islam was made the sole source of law -- as many influential Shi'ite clerics want -- women would be hostage to 'arbitrary interpretations' of Islam."


"Rend Rahim Francke is a native of Iraq. She is a founder of the Iraq Foundation and has been its Executive Director since 1991. Under her management, the Foundation expanded its work and built its capacity, currently running three major Iraq-related projects with a total budget of $1.6 million in 2002. Ms. Francke has set strategic goals for the foundation, designed programs and supervised their implementation, hired and trained staff, worked with grantors and raised funds, and supervised the financial activities of the Foundation.

"Rend Rahim Francke has worked extensively with the Iraqi communities in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and northern Iraq. She has drafted policy papers on behalf of the Foundation and represented the Foundation with government and international institutions and non-governmental organizations. She has built partnerships and cooperative relations with several non-governmental organizations and research institutions.

"Ms. Francke has done extensive research on Iraq, and has published essays and articles on Iraq, including a chapter titled 'The Iraqi Opposition' in Iraq After the Gulf War, ZED Books, London 1994; Iraq: Race to the Finish Line in Middle East Insight; and The Iraqi Opposition and the Sanctions Issue in Middle East Report. Her op-ed articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Boston Globe. Mrs. Francke has testified on Iraq in the U.S. Congress and has participated as an analyst on Iraqi issues on national television and radio programs. She co-authored The Arab Shi'a: Forgotten Muslims, published by St. Martin's Press in 2000.

"Ms. Francke holds degrees from Cambridge University and the Sorbonne."

"The activist, Rend Rahim Francke, 54, has directed the Iraq Foundation, which she helped create in 1991, and is a familiar face in Washington from her years lobbying policymakers to provide more muscular support for opponents of Saddam."

"Although she was born in Baghdad and spent some of her childhood there, Francke has not lived in Iraq full time since the 1970s. But, she said, she believes that Iraqis who lived under Saddam's dictatorial rule for those years can create a democratic state."

"The Iraq Foundation represented Francke's first plunge into political activism after a life in business and finance. ... She was inspired, she said, by the immense anger she felt after the Persian Gulf War of 1991, when the American-led coalition decided against pursuing and trying to topple Saddam."

"She became a U.S. citizen in 1987 but held on to her Iraqi passport, which has long since expired. ... Is she still an Iraqi citizen? She said that in her mind the answer was yes but that she also expected that the Governing Council would adopt resolutions affirming citizenship for the many cases like hers.

"Francke, whose father is a Shiite Muslim and whose mother is a Sunni, went to boarding school in England, studied at Cambridge and at the Sorbonne.

"She worked as a banker and a currency trader in Lebanon and Bahrain, as well as London, and said she knew she could not survive in her homeland.

"The rest of her family followed her, moving to England in 1978. She and her family immigrated to the United States in 1981."

Source: New York Times, November 23, 2003.

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External links

  • Iraq names woman ambassador to US,, November 24, 2003: "Francke worked as an international banker and university professor before moving to the United States in the early 1980s with her family. She currently lives in the Washington area." Article includes photo of Rend Rahim Francke.
  • Rend al-Rahim Francke, USIP, accessed November 1, 2007.