Erin Banco

Erin Banco (2017) is a Middle East journalist based in New York City. She began her career as a freelance journalist in Cairo where she covered human rights abuses in Egypt’s prisons after the 2011 revolution. She subsequently covered the Syrian civil war from Turkey, starting in the refugee camps on the border and then traveling into Syria to write about the first battle of Aleppo.

After graduating from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Banco served as the Middle East correspondent for International Business Times. She traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan, Baghdad and southeastern Turkey to understand how terrorist groups used smuggling networks to transport oil to the international market.

Banco’s manuscript, which she aims to complete while at the Institute, is due to Columbia Global Reports in July 2017. “Pipe Dreams: The Squandering of Iraq’s Oil Wealth” will focus on how the region of Iraqi Kurdistan experienced the resource curse when officials manipulated oil contracts and accepted kickbacks from international oil companies. She will also look at how the American government, and its invasion of Iraq, played a part in the region’s economic downfall.