About Kurdistan

General Background

Lebanese French University is one of the 18 private universities that are present in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Kurdistan Region is an autonomous region in Iraq, consisting of four Kurdish-dominated provinces: Duhok, Erbil, Halabja and Sulaymaniya, bordering Iran, Syria and Turkey. Kurdistan Region includes most of Iraqi Kurdistan, but excludes disputed territories such as Kirkuk. The Kurdistan Regional Parliament is based in Erbil. The cabinet exists of 23 ministries along with the president, prime minister, and deputy prime minister they govern the region. In the 20th century, the Iraqi Kurds shook between the battle for autonomy and independence. The Kurds became the victim of Arabization and genocide by the hands of the Ba’ath Party. The no-fly zone which was launched in March 1991 gave the Kurds the opportunity to experiment autonomy, effectively establishing an autonomous region. The central government in Baghdad only granted autonomy to the Kurdistan region in 2005 with a new Iraqi constitution after the collapse of Saddam Hussein. However, a non-binding independence referendum was passed in September 2017, with various international reactions.           

Food and Culture

According to the data from the Statistics Bureau, the total population in the Kurdistan Region, in 2020, was 6,171,000. The Kurds have a very rich culture. They have a wonderful folklore tradition that is increasingly endangered as a result of modernization, urbanization and cultural oppression. Kurdish folk music is an important part of Kurdish culture and has traditionally been used by the Dengbej (bards) to convey tales of Kurdish history. Food is widely recognized as a fundamental part of what it means to be Kurdish. Food such as dolma (rice stuffed with grape leaves), kufta (ground meat wrapped in a thin layer of minced meat), seru pe (goat’s head, tongue, legs) are traditional Kurdish dishes. Lambs and chicken have been the staple food of Kurdish cuisine for centuries. Vegetables, pilaf and dairy products also make up the majority of traditional Kurdish cuisine. Tea is also essential in the Kurdish kitchen.

Language and Religion

Kurdish is the language that is used by the majority of Kurdistan Region’s population. Kurdish belongs to the Western Iranian Group of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Kurdish is divided into three dialects, namely, Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) spoken by around 20 million speakers in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Lebanon. Central Kurdish (Sorani) is spoken by circa 5 million speakers in Iran and Iraq. And Southern Kurdish spoken by approximately 3 million speakers from Khaneqin in Iraq over to Kirmanshah in Iran and down to north Al-Amara (Iraq) as well as in the Bijar district in Iran. All three mentioned dialects are present in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq where Central Kurdish (Sorani) is somehow the dominant one. According to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s provisional constitution, Part I (General Matters), Article 7, point i); Kurdish shall is the official language of the Kurdistan Region. ii); Official correspondence with the federal and regional authorities shall be in both Arabic and Kurdish. Additionally, law number (6) of the year (2014) of the formal languages in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq confirms that the Kurdish language must have a predominant role in the court, governmental institutions, education, economy, academia and so forth. Yet, the young generation in the region use more English language instead of Arabic as second language. On the other hand, Kurdistan Region has a religiously and ethnically diverse population. The religions in Kurdistan region are: Sunni Islam, Shiite Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Jarsanism, Yajidism, Aleviism, Judaism. However, before the Islamic religion reached the area, Zoroastrianism was one of the main religions in Kurdistan. Zoroastrianism is currently the religion officially recognized by Iraqi Kurdistan, and three Zoroastrian temples have been opened in Iraqi Kurdistan after the region officially recognized Zoroastrianism in 2015. Moreover, the Mandeans are a small ethnic religious community that also exists within the autonomous region.


Regarding transportation, Iraqi Kurdistan can be reached by land and air. By land, Turkey is the easiest country to reach Iraqi Kurdistan through the Hapur Border Gate which is the only border gate between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey. This border crossing can be reached by bus or taxi from Turkish airports. Iraqi Kurdistan has two border crossings with Iran, the Haji Omaran border crossing, and the Bashmegh border crossing, near the city of Sulaymaniyah. Iraqi Kurdistan also has a border gate with Syria called the Faysh Khabur Border Gate. From and within Iraq, several roads can reach the Kurdistan Region by land. Furthermore, Iraqi Kurdistan opened its doors to the world with the opening of two international airports. Both, Erbil International Airport and Sulaymaniyah International Airport operate flights to destinations in the Middle East and Europe.          


The Kurdistan Region’s economy contains an autonomous economy of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. The economy of the Kurdistan Region is dominated by the oil industry, agriculture and tourism. Kurdistan Region has a more developed economy compared to the rest of Iraq due to its relative security and peace, as well as, its free economy and market-oriented policies.


The climate of the Kurdistan Region is a semi-arid continental climate. Summers are very hot and dry, and winters are cold and rainy. Spring is the most beautiful season in Kurdistan. On the first day of the spring, Kurds celebrate the Kurdish New Year, “Newroz.” Temperature range extends from 13-18 degrees in March to 27-32 degrees in May. During this period, Kurds often seek to enjoy the nature and have a picnic in the mountains, as Kurdistan Region is largely mountainous