Jabar was a political sociologist (PhD University of London) and a visiting fellow at the School of Politics and Sociology at the University of London’s Birkbeck College. He has written extensively on Iraq and the Middle East and he is the author of many books, including Conditions and Horrors, the Cultural Roots of Violence in Arabic Culture (2006), The Dilemma of political uncertainties in Iraq (2009), and The Dilemma of Political identity (2010). His research interests and expertise spanned various fields, including the sociology of religion, sociology of nation-building and state formation, tribes and modern socio-economic formations, and cultural discourses in Iraq and the greater Middle East.
Jabar was driven by his commitment to promoting societies in Iraq and the Arab world that are pluralistic and tolerant, secular, non-violent, rights-based, and democratic. A man of great integrity, he also spent much of his time looking to the future. In 2004, he established the Iraqi Institute for Strategic Studies, with a mandate to promote, conduct, and foster research and study relating to current political, economic, and social developments in Iraq.
As director of the Institute, he placed great emphasis on rigorous academic research, on nurturing and mentoring the next generation of young Iraqi researchers, and on supporting emerging Iraqi civil society organizations. With IDRC support, Jabar was managing a large comparative research project at the Institute on the issue of governing diversity in the Middle East, with a focus on the Kurdish issue in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. The four planned publications for this innovative work are forthcoming. In the past, he led two IDRC-supported research projects on the issue of decentralization in Iraq, with a focus on the Governorate of Basra, and on the analytical mapping of the state of social sciences in Iraqi universities.
He leaves an incredible legacy in Iraq and the region. As IDRC President Jean Lebel commented, “Truly great individuals cast long shadows. In this time of sorrow, may we all take some comfort in all that Dr A. Jabar has achieved, and trust that his vision will go on to inspire a new generation of researchers. The pursuit of a just, pluralist, non-violent, rights-based society is a most noble pursuit. He stands shoulder to shoulder with history’s men of integrity and vision.” As the Centre mourns his loss, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of this extraordinary scholar.