The third Virtual Roundtable for the Tafahum peoject, focusing on the interrelations between COVID-19 and climate change & ways of boosting regional cooperation on measures to help curb severe effects of climate change
The Gulf Research Center, in its mission to produce high quality research and analysis on the Gulf region, will therefore be holding a closed webinar discussion in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, held under the Chatham House Rule, which will focus specifically on how the COVID-19 pandemic is currently impacting regional security in the Gulf, in addition to ways that it could continue to affect Gulf security in the aftermath of the crisis.
The interactive discussion will address the following topics and questions: The pandemic caused a shift in state security priorities. Will this lead to a relaxation of global priorities for counter-terrorism? The pandemic had significant negative repercussions for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Could the Iranian regime face a popular uprising, more serious before? The pandemic coupled with the collapse of oil prices and caused major economic and financial hurdles for the Gulf states’ armament policies, and arms deals already agreed. The pandemic could increasingly lead to a shift in US security priorities worldwide. A US confrontation with China is not only possible but probable. Will this lead to a relaxation of US security priorities concerning the Gulf region?
The Gulf Research Center, in its mission to produce high quality research and analysis on the Gulf region, will therefore be holding a closed webinar discussion in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, held under the Chatham House Rule, which will focus specifically on how the COVID-19 pandemic is currently impacting the Gulf economy, in addition to ways that it will continue to affect the Gulf economy in the aftermath of the crisis.
The interactive discussion will address the following topics and questions: Fiscal and budgetary challenges: What fiscal and monetary means do Gulf economies have at their disposal? How much do they need to do and for how long can they sustain low oil revenues from a fiscal and budgetary standpoint? Is this a dejavu of the 1990s fiscal constraints or is this different? Labor and unemployment risks: How will labor markets react? Will the private sector be able to cope with job creation challenges? Will unemployment rise over the short to medium term? What can policy makers do? Debt and currency constraints: Debt will inevitably rise for all Gulf economies. What is the impact of rising debt on Gulf sovereign ratings and corporations? Do debt sustainability thresholds matter? Will this impinge on their ability to borrow more in the future. How will their currencies be affected in a low oil price environment? Is the question of devaluation back? Private sector growth and entrepreneurship: How will the private sector fare in this new economic environment? Is the private sector locked in a dependency cycle with government spending or is there deleveraging? Will the private sector be able to grow independent of the government? Will rent-seeking behavior change and evolve into more competitive practices? What is the future of the Gulf private sector? Are the much talked-about SMEs taking off in the Gulf? The future of industry: The impact on industry will be vast in an era of trade retrenchment and de-globalization and localization. What will Gulf industries do and how do they adapt in this new environment? Will some have a head start than others? What is the comparative advantage in industry for Gulf economies? Is this a good time to rethink individual country-industrial strategies?
This is the second session of the Working Group 5. This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Reconstruction Efforts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. This workshop will look at the need for a regional stability paradigm and the importance of the role of education for post-conflict reconciliation
This is the second session of the Working Group 3. This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Counter-Terrorism and Security Sector Reform. This workshop will look on the concept of a regional security paradigm, as an initial step towards more effective regional integration
This closed seminar held under Chatham House Rule, looked at Austria’s relations with the GCC countries and especially Saudi Arabia, including diplomatic relations, economic relations and security and defense cooperation. In addition, speakers gave an overview of the various international organizations headquartered in Vienna that focus on international nuclear security and the member country dynamics within those organizations especially as they relate to the Gulf countries.
This is the second session of the Working Group 4. This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Media Narratives and Discursive Integration in West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. This workshop will look at the discussions on how to develop education and training in media literacy and secondly look into whether or not (and how) such a regional media comfort zone can be created
This closed seminar held under Chatham House Rule, looked at the United Kingdom’s relations with the GCC countries and especially Saudi Arabia, including diplomatic relations, economic relations and security and defense cooperation. In addition, speakers gave an overview of the role of UK media in influencing domestic and foreign policy and how those dynamics can influence its relations with Gulf countries. During the seminar discussions, participants had the opportunity to engage with senior policy officials and academics on these key issues.
This is the first annual conference for the Tafahum project. This closed conference held under Chatham House Rule, will further outline and discuss how dialogue, cooperation and coordination on topics of shared interest and concern in the region can be structured.
For more details on the GRM 2019 please click here
This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Security Sector Reform and Counter Terrorism. This workshop will try to examine the nexus between women and security through the lens of counter-terrorism. This is the first session of this working group
This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Media Narrative and Discursive Integration. This workshop will appreciate the variety of media landscapes in the region to make better sense of public discourse and narratives on a national and regional level. This is the first session of this working group
This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Reconstruction Efforts in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. This working group aims at developing a conceptual framework with concrete guiding principles for the reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. This is the first session of this working group
For more details on the GRM 2018 please click here
With respect to its unique and distinguished position in the Islamic world, the Makkah Region is now preparing for the world’s most significant construction endeavor relative to its magnitude, and its numerous urban, service-related, and cultural development projects that are currently underway. In the forefront of these is the Grand Mosque Expansion Project, the largest of its kind in history. This huge undertaking will also be supplemented with billions of Saudi riyals going towards developing facilities and services in the city of Makkah and Islamic holy sites, which are now being prepared for development. Falling under the government strategy to best serve Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, these development, service and investment projects will inevitably lead to the diversification of the facilities, services and development in cities and governorates throughout the Makkah Region. Therefore, the purpose of this conference and exhibition is to introduce this huge network of projects and services, both those that are in the early stages of implementation and those which are expected to be completed within the next few years.
Nonetheless, the primary objective of this conference and exhibition is to shed light and true understanding on the future of Makkah’s infrastructure, cultural and service sector development in the coming years. In addition, the aim is to send a strong, informative and important message not only to Arab and Islamic countries but to the rest of the world that Saudi Arabia is exerting all its efforts and working with utmost diligence to build, serve and develop this Region that is so dear to the hearts of all Muslims. In doing so, the conference and exhibition will present video and audio material concerning current and future projects within the Grand Mosque, holy sites and throughout the city of Makkah and other cities and governorates of the Makkah Region. These will highlight the facts surrounding Saudi Arabia’s continued maintenance and service to the Two Holy Mosques, Islam’s other holy sites, and the countless Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, the care of which has gone uninterrupted throughout the history of this blessed country. Indeed, the facts presented will respond to any unreasonable accusations to the contrary.
Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khaled Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of the Makkah Region, President of the Makkah Region Development Authority and Chairman of the Central Hajj Committee, the conference and exhibition organizing committee would like to emphasize the importance of participation in the various major ongoing projects and their implementation in addition to the future projects in the city of Makkah, the holy sites, and the remaining cities and governorates in the Makkah Region. It is our humble aspiration that the conference and exhibition will fulfill this purpose, God willing
The conference brought together thought leaders from Iraq and several GCC countries for two days of private, structured discussions. The dialogue is focused on intra-regional relations and supporting efforts at more fully reintegrating Iraq into the Arab world. Iraq’s reintegration and the normalization of its relations with its Arab neighbors has been undermined both by the reckless regional policies pursued during the Saddam Hussein era and by the rising sectarian tensions that characterized the post-Saddam period. The current moment sees two countervailing trends: shared regional concerns about the spread of ISIS in particular and violent Jihadi Salafism in general, and escalating sectarian polarization, most notably in Syria and Iraq. In light of this backdrop, this proposed dialogue would seek to support the current efforts to improve Iraq’s ties with its Gulf neighbors, and the dialogue would initially reflect this by addressing mutual perceptions, common and diverging interests, and developing ideas for bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation. With the rise of ISIS and the spread of sectarian conflict, the need for dialogue is acute to further regional security cooperation, avoid increased polarization and accidental escalation, and maximize post-ISIS stabilization and reconstruction efforts.
For more details on the GRM 2017 please click here
The Gulf Research Center (GRC) in collaboration with the Middle East Institute will be holding a workshop on the issue of “Yemen: Finding a Way Forward” on Monday July 17, 2017 at the Middle East Institute Office in Washington D.C.
This timely event comes at a time while prospects for ending the Yemen conflict face persisting political and security challenges and the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen perseveres despite international aid pledges.
The workshop will attempt to shed light on the status of the political process and negotiations to settle the conflict, on the current humanitarian situation inside the country and to discuss a forward-looking development agenda to be implemented both while the conflict continues and ones a resolution to the crisis is found.
The workshop is particularly meant to provide a forum from which key Yemeni experts and stakeholders can provide their perspectives on the issues defining the Yemeni situation and to be able to engage with a wider audience on the prospects for conflict resolution mechanisms.
Five years have passed since the initial uprising against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East. The failed political transition of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in 2011 has turned the state of Yemen into an arena of power struggles amongst various factions fighting for control. Yemen now suffers devastating humanitarian conditions, including 2000 deaths and counting, around one million displaced, and over 12 million on the brink of famine with no access to healthcare as political solutions over the years to resolve the conflict have proven to be nearly impossible. Therefore, ending the war in Yemen is vital and needs to become the international community’s priority for not only will it be for the future of Yemen’s own security and stability, but for that of the entire region, as conflict spillover remains to be a serious threat to neighboring countries.
It is in this context, throughout the next several months, the Gulf Research Center will be hosting a series of workshops in the United States and Europe, involving major stakeholders in the conflict, which will result in the publication of seminar reports on the best way forward to bring peace and security to Yemen. In order for workshops to be comprehensive of the multidimensional nature of the conflict, each event will address a specific theme or “layer” of the conflict, therefore ensuring that the debates are focused and lead to tangible conclusions and recommendations.
Over the years, the Gulf Research Center has been especially active in research on Yemen, and this expertise, in addition to its unique position among other think tanks to bring a “Gulf” perspective to regional politics, make it especially relevant in putting forward solutions to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
For more details on the GRM 2016 please click here
The Gulf Research Center (GRC) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) are holding a “European-Saudi Arabia Dialogue Meeting” at the ECFR offices in London
Given the deepening regional instability in the Middle East, the need for Europe to have a more informed strategic engagement with Saudi Arabia is becoming ever more apparent – and urgent. Following the official Middle East-focused European Global Strategy Review meeting hosted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in January 2016, the ECFR and the Gulf Research Center (GRC) will be convening a group of prominent and well-connected Saudi specialists and analysts together with European policy makers and analysts with the aim of gaining a better understanding of Saudi thinking and positioning in the region, as well as exploring areas for better alignment and cooperation in regional policies.
Europe’s understanding of the Kingdom’s interests and polices is too often clouded by a lack of knowledge and given the Kingdom’s centrality to any hoped-for stabilizing drive, ECFR and GRC are aiming to help facilitate a more informed strategic dialogue.
The conversation between the two sides will be driven by events in Syria but will also look at the broader situation, including in Yemen as well as the fall out of the Iranian nuclear deal. An additional focus will to explore the reasons behind, and the impact of, current Saudi energy policies and how that fits into the regional geo-political context. From a European perspective, it will be useful to explore what the Kingdom is seeking from its European allies, but also to test out ideas with Saudi officials and analysts in terms of cementing areas of convergence and working through areas of divergence.
Both the ECFR and the GRC are well placed to draw on both European and Gulf thinking and allow for such dialogue to occur. The event will be structured as an off-the-record event with a private dinner starting on Monday 4th April with senior officials and opinion formers from the worlds of politics, the media and academia, followed by a full-day workshop on Tuesday 5 April to allow for in-depth discussion on the issues outlined above.
Conference organised by the NATO Defense College Foundation in cooperation with the Gulf Research Center Foundation, the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, the NATO Defense College and the University of Jordan.
ROME, 25-26th of February 2016
Venue: Sala Anfiteatro – Auditorium Via Veneto, Via Vittorio Veneto 89
The Arab revolutions, the present turmoil together with the US-Iranian peace overtures, have changed in a significant way the strategic landscape of regional security even in countries where no political upheaval was experienced. In addition non-state actors increase significantly the risk of disintegration of countries in the area, while regional hegemonic competitions complicate an already volatile situation. In this difficult context there is a clear need to understand how external powers interests can be reconciled also through a web of partnerships and co-operative security arrangements
It is therefore important to analyze the perceptions and consequences of this changing environment. This is seen as the key to overcome short-term political turmoil as well as diplomatic disarray and craft effective policies guaranteeing the security and sovereignty of all countries of the area.
The NATO Defense College Foundation and the Gulf Research Center Foundation intend to better understand the roots of this geopolitical uproar, to put together different views on different priorities and to explore possible future outcomes. The purpose of the conference is ambitious but the time has come to tackle the right fundamental issues. The conference is structured in four panels. It has a circular structure consisting of two distinct and intertwining sets: one on soft strategic factors and one on hard security.
The Gulf Research Center Foundation is pleased to invite you to join the INCONET-GCC 2 International Conference entitled: Collaboration for Innovation; Linking GCC and EU on December 6-8, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Muscat, Oman.
INCONET-GCC 2 is a European Commission funded project which aims at establishing a Science, Technology and Innovation International Cooperation Network between the European Union and the Arab Gulf Countries aiming at the bi-regional coordination towards HORIZON2020.
The Gulf Research Center Foundation is part of the consortium of this innovative and ambitious project and we hope you will be able to join the debates & exchanges.
This international conference is organized by the INCONET-GCC 2 consortium and will gather around 100 representatives from all over the world. The first day, December 6th is dedicated to on-site visits to local Technology Parks, Incubators and Research Organizations. The second & third days will present the state of EU-GCC cooperation, collaboration opportunities & benefits as well as barriers to overcome, with a focus on Energy and Healthcare as well as Smart Cities, which have been identified as sectors of mutual interest and benefit between the EU and GCC countries.
For your information, the INCONET-GCC 2 project is the follow-up of the results of previous cooperation activities with the Arab Gulf Countries (INCONET-GCC 1st phase) as it focuses on selected societal challenges of mutual interest identified during the previous collaboration. INCONET-GCC 2 explores how to achieve win-win collaboration across national, multidisciplinary and cross-sector approaches, while also realizing and underpinning new-path-breaking kinds of capacity-building and organizing clustering activities around the selected research priorities: smart cities, smart energy & eHealth.
If you wish to participate in this conference, please contact:
Sébastien Lévy at email@example.com
or Sylviane Toporkoff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to forward this information to any of your colleagues who may be interested to join this conference.
For more details, please also visit: http://www.inconet-gcc.eu/
For more details on the GRM 2015 please click here
The Gulf Research Center, the Geneva Center for Security Policy and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University convened in Gstaad for their annual discussions on developments in the Middle Eastern region. Bringing together renowned regional, security, and policy experts in order to assess the overall situation in the Middle East, the meeting focused on the changing strategic landscape and the geopolitical and regional dynamics at play, an assessment of the state and implications of the Arab Revolutions, as well as an in-depth look at the situation in the Levant, Turkey, North Africa, the Gulf region and Israel and Palestine. The meeting underlined that the Middle East was undergoing fundamental shifts and transitions including a move from state centric approaches to non-state issues and from a national to a transnational focus. With vacuums appearing in many place, the question of who or what will fill the vacuum is of central importance.
The Gulf Research Center will host the third annual Think Tank Security Forum in Geneva from June 10 to 11, 2015 bringing together think tanks from different countries and regions of the world to give an assessment of the current global security environment.
In addition to participants outlining what they see as the most pressing security challenges from their own regional perspective, a core theme of the meeting will to focus on “Extremism, Violent Non-State Actors and State Strategies: Outlook and Direction.” The theme of extremism and state strategies is relevant given that its impact is being felt worldwide. Not only are all governments today challenged by extremist threats but in many parts of the world one is witnessing the rise of non-state actors that are challenging the very legitimacy of the state. What this means is that finding a response to the combination of extremism and violent non-state actors has risen to the top of the policy agenda.
A summary of the discussions will be provided following its conclusion with select paper being published in a compiled volume. For further interest in the Think Tank Security Forum series, please contact Sanya Kapasi under email@example.com.
In September 2014, the Gulf Research Center together with the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Riyadh will hold the Gulf Forum 2014 under the title of “Arabian Gulf and Regional Challenges” The conference will bring together prominent personalities to discuss over a period of two days the key developments impacting the Gulf region and the consequences for both regional and external actors. The conference will be divided into seven sessions focusing on the GCC and Regional Changes; Challenges pertaining to development in Iran, Iraq and Syria; the Impact on Gulf Security of Regional Political Transformations, unconventional and asymmetrical challenges; external powers and the security of the Arabian Gulf; Gulf Security and the role of rising powers; and finally, future perspectives. Given the numerous developments taking place in the entire Middle Eastern region, the Gulf Forum 2014 is a timely event that could not happen at a more critical and opportune time.
For more details on the GRM 2014 please click here
The Gulf Research Center, in partnership with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Crown Center at Brandeis University, hosted the 12th Annual Conference on the Middle East in Gstaad, Switzerland on June 20-2, 2014. The conference brought together about 25 renowned regional, security, and policy experts in order to assess the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa. During the meeting, participants discussed the Arab Revolutions, the overall geopolitical and regional dynamics as it pertains to the Levant, Turkey, the Arab-Israeli issue, and the situation in Iraq, Iran, and the Gulf region. There was a session on the current nuclear negotiations with Iran and what it means for the wider region and its relations with outside powers. A policy brief summarizing the discussions has been released by the Geneva Center for Security Policy.
The Gulf Research Center Foundation held the second meeting of the Think Tank Security Forum (TTSF) on June 18 and 19, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. The aim of the Think Tank Security Forum is to create a platform for key think tanks in the world that focus on security issues to exchange knowledge, staff and best practices as well as to cooperate in order to propagate high-quality research. This platform is based on the commitment of each institute to exchange resources and ideas in order to develop to come up with an authoritative security agenda for today’s ever-changing global landscape. In the second meeting, plenary sessions were held on the changing global geopolitics, migration, and energy security and its corresponding challenges.
The Gulf Research Center and Chatham House hold workshop on GCC-UK Relations
With the regional Middle Eastern environment facing a period of unprecedented turbulence, the Gulf Research Center and Chatham House held a two-day workshop in London on June 12 and 13 to explore the various dynamics of developments in the Middle East and the Gulf and the implications this holds for GCC-UK ties. While the UK and the GCC states can look back on a long period of close ties defined by many common interests, the discussion at the workshop pointed to the many new challenges that have emerged including the perception among the GCC states that the policies by the Western states including the UK have further exacerbated many of the regional crises. Participants agreed that mutual strategic interests still prevail, but there was also a sense from the GCC side that UK regional policy suffers from a degree of credibility and trust. The discussion further highlighted the fact that a return to some form of stability was an extremely complex undertaking and that one needed to look at regional issues from both a short- and long-term perspective.
The national economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has achieved unprecedented accomplishments not only in the Middle East Region, but also on a global level, especially in recent years, after the Kingdom was ranked as one of the richest twenty countries in the world, combined with the growth, strength and high flexibility achieved by the Saudi economy. This has enabled the Kingdom to overcome the global financial crisis that hit the global economy since 2008, while the consequences of subsequent economic aftershocks are still affecting most of the global economies. This proves the strength of the Saudi economy and its ability to grow as confirmed by the figures of the State Budget and the surplus achieved over the past years.
Proceeding from the mission of the Faculty of Economics and Administration in King Abdulaziz University in promoting scientific academic research, and serving the community, especially after the great success achieved by the Conference at its first edition held during the period of 7- 9 May 2012, the College will launch the second edition of this Conference (National Economy: Challenges and Ambitions) during the period of 22- 24 April, 2014. This Conference will discuss several key issues related to the reality and the future of the national economy and its impact on citizens, especially with regard to the economic sectors related to services. All this will take place within the framework of discussing the challenges and how to achieve the ambitions in this area.
The Gulf is experiencing significant new challenges to its security and to traditional thinking about its security policies. Some Gulf leaders fear a perceived reduction of American commitment to the region. The prospect of a negotiated agreement on Iran"s nuclear program has destabilized long-established security norms and practices. Syria"s war has become an arena for proxy competition between Iran and the Arab Gulf states, with significant risks of blowback from new jihadist groups and an expanding regional battlefield. The Arab uprisings have driven controversial new domestic and regional political initiatives to ensure regime stability within the Gulf. A newly assertive effort by some Gulf states to influence political outcomes in key regional countries such as Egypt has included support for its new military government and a broad campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Gulf states have committed significant resources to these policies which could pose new challenges to fiscal security over the medium term. In response to these perceived new threats and opportunities, Gulf states have clashed with the United States and have considered new forms of regional integration and cooperation.
This workshop, organized in collaboration with The George Washington University and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Doha, will bring together scholars from the United States, Europe and the Gulf, and comes at an important time to consider in depth the new security challenges and responses. The three panels held over the course of the day will look at the GCC and Iran"s Nuclear Program; Islamist Movements and Sectarianism; as well as Transnational and Human Security Issues.
Based on the event, there will also be a panel organized at MESA 2014 in Washington. Other deliverables will include several policy briefs, a roundtable report and a journal article.
The policy briefs resulting from the Venice meeting have been published and can be accessed here:
The Gulf Research Center and the Al-Ahram Center are hosting a workshop on the issues of Gulf states unity to be held in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop will bring together specialists and policy officials to look in-depth at the political, economic, security and defense aspects of Gulf integration and provide recommendations on how to operationalize the Gulf union concept. During the discussion, the various Arab views on Gulf integration will be elaborated on which in turn with inform the policy process. The workshop is part of a larger project the Gulf Research Center is conducting on the issue of GCC unity.
Energy trade always constituted a major chapter in EU-GCC relations. The EU has established new, ambitious targets for reduction of emissions by 2050, which envisage a substantial decline of the role of traditional fossil sources such as oil and gas. In parallel, the GCC countries have manifested growing concern for their own energy future and excessive dependence on fossil fuels, and have launched multiple initiatives for improving the uptake of clean energy solutions.
As part of the EU-funded public diplomacy project on “Promoting Deeper EU-GCC Relations”, EPU-NTUA in cooperation with the Gulf Research Center and Masdar Institute are organising a Renewable Energy Policy Experts’ workshop hosted in Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi on November 26-27, 2013. The 2-day workshop is actively endorsed by the EU-GCC CLEAN ENERGY NETWORK, an initiative created jointly by the EU and the GCC to catalyse cooperation among the two regions on clean energy topics of common interest.
Within this framework, the event aims to discuss at high policy level the potential for cooperation in the promotion of clean energy. This will encompass both opportunities for bilateral agreements in various areas as well as exploration of common positions (or debate of points of divergence) with respect to negotiations in multilateral fora.
The workshop is divided into five sessions focusing on:
• EU-GCC energy policy co-operation in the field of Renewables: Status and Prospects
• Promoting co-operation on Energy Efficiency & Demand Side Management
• EU-GCC co-operation potential in the field of Renewables: Technology and Research perspective
• EU-GCC co-operation for integration of Renewables in the Grid
• Promoting EU-GCC co-operation on Water and Power generation
Each session will be introduced by a background paper followed by moderated discussion among the participants. Limited selected experts are invited to contribute to this high level event, including academics and specialists, members of various research institutes and policy officials from both the EU and the GCC side. The workshop will result in a publication to be produced in early 2014.
Twenty-seven students from the six GCC countries took part in this training session organized by GRC in the framework of the project “Promoting Deeper EU-GCC relations” funded by the European Commission. The students from the GCC were selected according to their fields of studies, either international relations or politics studies, and for their interest in issues linked to the European Union. The group included undergraduate students, graduate students, and young professionals. Five students from Brussels were also selected for the program to give the GCC students a different viewpoint on EU issues and a better insight into student life in Europe. The schedule of the training was divided between lectures, informative sessions, meeting with professionals, and visits. The training session provided GCC students with the opportunity to acquire deeper knowledge about the EU as well as to develop direct contacts with students from Europe, EU professionals and academics.
The Gulf Research Center Foundation in Geneva will host the 1st GCC-Swiss Forum, to be held from September 3 to 4, 2013 at the InterContinental Hotel Geneva. This pioneering event will serve to identify the multi-faceted opportunities as well as address the status quo of the bilateral relations between Switzerland and the countries of the strategically important Arabian Gulf region. There will be plenary sessions on GCC-Swiss Economic and Political Relations as well as on Energy, Tourism, Banking & Finance and Education. Particular attention will also be paid to the recent Free Trade Agreement signed between the EFTA and GCC member states, and the opportunities this brings about for future GCC-Swiss relations. In addition to formulating a concrete set of policy recommendations that can promote and advance the diverse and growing ties between the two sides, the event will serve as an excellent networking opportunity between respective government and business representatives.
The GCC-Swiss Forum will bring together high-level representatives from both Switzerland and the Gulf region including numerous ministers, representatives from respective chambers of commerce as well as GCC and Swiss business leaders. We are pleased to be able to confirm that H.E. Maj. Gen. Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid al Zayani, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council and H.E. The Vice President of Switzerland, Dr. Didier Burkhalter, have already confirmed their attendance and will address the event as keynote speakers. If this event has caught your interest, please register online today
For more details on the GRM 2013 please click here
The Gulf Research Center, the Geneva Center for Security Policy and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University held the 11th edition of their Middle East Annual Conference in Gstaad, Switzerland from June 28-30, 2013. Bringing together 25 specialists, the conference focused on the geopolitical and regional dynamics of the Middle East, an evaluation of the Arab Revolutions including developments occurring in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the Maghreb, as well as an overview of the domestic politics and the various security implications when it comes to the Arab Gulf States, Iran, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. The meeting concluding with a panel on US policy and implications.
On May 7, 2013, a group of decision-makers from Saudi Arabia attended a day-long meeting at NATO Headquarters where they were briefed by senior NATO officials on the role of NATO in the Gulf region, its policies, and the status of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. Wide-ranging discussions about NATO-Gulf relations also took place. The visit was organized by the Gulf Research Center under its long-standing commitment and ties with NATO. Among the key speakers from the NATO side were James Appathurai, Acting Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy; Ambassador Stephen Evans, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Operations; Nicola de Santis, Head, Middle East and North Africa Countries Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division; Ambassador Francesca Tardioli, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Planning Directorate, Operations Division; Commodore Emil Eftimov, Deputy Director Cooperation and Regional Security Division, NATO International Military Staff; and Patrick Touzé, Head, Policy, Plans & Partnerships Section, Defense Investment Division. The group also met with Joseph Manso, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States of America on the North Atlantic Council, and Sule Öztunç, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey on the North Atlantic Council.
As part of the EU-supported project on “Promoting Deeper EU-GCC Relations,” the Gulf Research Center (GRC) along with the College of Arts and Sciences of Qatar University, the Global Governance Institute and the Institute for European Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, hosted a two-day workshop on “Promoting an EU-GCC Dialogue on Foreign Policy Issues” on the campus of Qatar University in Doha on April 29 and 30, 2013. The workshop was divided into six sessions focusing on EU-GCC Relations, Yemen, Global Governance, the Mediterranean region, Non-Proliferation Issues and Syria. Each session was introduced by a background paper and was followed by a lively and animated discussion among the participants. In total more than 70 persons took part included academics and specialists, members of various research institutes and policy officials from both the EU and the GCC side. The workshop will result in a publication to be produced in late summer 2013. For further information, also consult the project website under: http://eu-gcc.kcorp.net/
The Gulf Research Center (GRC) together with the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) hosted the panel discussion on “Security Implications of the Arab Spring” as part of the 10th International Security Forum held from April 22 to 24, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Christian Koch, Director of the GRC Foundation chaired the panel discussion with presentations from Prof. Bahgat Korany of the American University on Cairo; Prof. Mohammed-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Head of the Regional Capacity Development Program at GCSP; and Dr. Mustafa Alani, Senior Advisor and Director of the Security and Defense Research Program at the GRC. The panel pursued three main questions – what security issues have been raised by the ‘Arab Spring’; how are these challenges playing out in the region and how are they been addressed by the different actors; and what are the implications in this changing security scene for the region’s international partners. All speakers highlighted the fluid nature of the situation while focusing on the phenomenon of the weakened state which in turn is highlighting the potential of an open-ended period of volatility for the entire Middle East. The presentations were followed by a lively debate and a question and answer session.
“The Podcast and panel summary is available on the ISF web site www.isf2013.ch”
The GRC represented by its chairman Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, Dr. Christian Koch, Director of the GRC Foundation and Noriko Suzuki, Director of the GRC Foundation, participated in the Korea-GCC Economic Cooperation Forum organized by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the GRC in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday, April 11, 2011. Prior to the event, a meeting was held with Mr. Dong-Geun Lee, Executive Vice-Chairman of KCCI to discuss further cooperation. As part of the Forum, Dr. Sager spoke about the current situation in the GCC countries, Dr. Koch focused his presentation about the development of economic integration within the GCC, while Noriko Suzuki highlighted the investment environment in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.
The first day of the workshop “Political Transformation in the Arab world and its relevance for EU-GCC relations” organized by the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), the Gulf Research Center and the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) under the Project “Promoting Deeper EU-GCC relations” funded by the European Commission, concluded on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at GUST University, Kuwait.
More than 50 persons attended the 3 sessions, each followed by discussions with the attendants. As an outcome: high level presentations, interventions of great interest, and heated but fruitful debates!
After a welcome introduction from Robert Cook (Vice President for Academic Affairs, GUST University), Richard Youngs (Director of FRIDE), Christian Koch (Director of Gulf Research Center Foundation) and Haila Al-Mekaimi (Center For Gulf Knowledge, Kuwait University), the discussions moved to in-depth assessment of the political development in the Gulf region and what the implications are for the European Union. Given that the EU follows events in the region closely and the EU parliament has passed resolutions on the situations in Bahrain and the UAE, one of the objectives of the workshop was to allow for an exchange of views and provide a perspective from the GCC states about the impact that the Arab transitions are having on their part of the world.
The first session dealing with the Geopolitical implications of the Arab uprisings was chaired by Richard Youngs with speakers N. Janardhan, a political analyst from the UAE and Mohamed Ghanem Alrumaihi from Kuwait University. The panel presented the diversity of the changes following the Arab uprisings, highlighting specifically the extreme complexity of the new situation as well as the resulting different implications. While there was agreement that the Gulf region has been impacted, there was a divergence of views on the degree that the geopolitical changes would force the GCC states to undertake their own reform effort in the near term. One participant mentioned that the GCC states were not facing an ‘Arab Spring’ but an ‘Oil Spring’. Much of the discussion also focused on the role of political Islam and what that means for the further developments impacting the Middle East.
The second session dealing with Domestic implications of the Arab uprisings was chaired by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen from the London School of Economics with speakers Prof. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla from the UAE and Hasan Al-Hasan, also from the LSE. The speakers explained how unlike other Arab countries, in the GCC there has been a strengthening of the status quo resulting in some change but also much stronger continuity. The monarchy system certainly has been challenged but they have also shown their resilience. Overall, there is a need to put developments in their broader context. To what degree the EU has handled the issue of human rights in a balanced way proved a serious point of debate.
The third session entitled Beyond identity politics: a role for civil society? was chaired by Jane Kinninmont of Chatham House with speakers Guido Steinberg of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, Germany and Ahmed Al Omran of RiyadhBureau.com. The speakers presented the role and the evolution of islamist movements as part of the civil society, focusing on non-violent actors, transnationalism and Sunnite-Shiite sectarianism. The role of social media was also presented, through the example of their development in Saudi Arabia, as a tool to bypass the governmental restrictions regarding civil society organizations. Much of the discussion focused on the relationship between citizenship and entitlement and the impact this had had on the concept of national identity.
The workshop will continue on Monday, March 4 with the focus on the role of the youth in the Gulf and a wider discussion on what all of the developments mean for the relationship between the EU and the GCC
As part of the EU-sponsored project on "Promoting Deeper EU-GCC Relations" a 22-member group from the six GCC took part in a one-week training program on 'Understanding the Institutions and Policies of the EU and EU-GCC Relations.' The program is headed by the Gulf Research Center with the support of the Institute for European Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Global Governance Institute. In addition to lectures on aspects of the EU, participants held meetings with members of the European Parliament, the European External Action Service and the European Social and Economic Committee.
For more details on the GRM 2012 please click here
Bringing together regional, security, and policy experts in order to assess the current situation in the Middle East, the Gulf Research Center, the Geneva Center for Security Policy and the Crown Center at Brandeis University are once again hosting a roundtable in Gstaad, Switzerland. During the meeting, an assessment of the Arab Revolutions, the overall geopolitical and regional dynamics as it pertains to the Levant, Turkey, the Arab-Israeli issue and the situation in Iraq, Iran and the Gulf region will be discussed. A summary of the proceedings will be published as part of the Geneva Papers of the GCSP. The meeting is by invitation only.
The Gulf Research Center Foundation with its seat in Geneva is organizing an afternoon roundtable discussion on “Regional Developments in the Gulf Region: Implications for Switzerland and Europe” on June 14, 2012 from 16:30 to 18:30 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva.
For those unaware of the Gulf Research Center Foundation, the foundation is the official non-governmental arm of the Gulf Research Center with the purpose to gather and disseminating knowledge about the critical Gulf region. In 2011, the GRC was rated the second most influential think tank in the Middle East by the annual Think Tank Survey of the University of Pennsylvania. For more information about the GRC, please consult our website under www.grc.net
In cooperation and with the support of the Italian Naval Staff College (Istituto di Studi Militari Marittimi) and the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Gulf Research Center will host the first Think Tank Security Forum in Venice, Italy on the grounds of the Italian Navy Staff College. The meeting will bring together leading security think tanks from around the world in order to discuss the key security challenges being faced from different regional perspectives. One of the objectives of the gathering will be the production of a Global Security Agenda 2011 publication that will outline what the key threats to security are and the manner in which these can be best addressed. The meeting is by invitation only.
Globalization has demolished barriers and increased economic interdependence. This in turn has positive and negative consequences for national economies. On the positive side, the rate of investments and capital movement among states has increased. On the negative side, the recent global economic crisis, including the US financial crisis and the debt problems of some EU countries, seriously impacted the world economy, especially developing economies.
As a reaction to the global economic crisis, governments, officials of national and international institutions, and academic institutions have engaged in studying and analyzing the various aspects of the crisis in order to understand its causes and consequences and to design strategies for dealing with the impact. They also seek to be better prepared in case such crises occur in the future. In addition, they want to evaluate the impact of the crisis on the economies of the developed and developing countries and study the challenges they faced and the solutions they adopted to deal with the new international economic environment.
The challenges facing the Saudi economy in such an unpredictable international economic environment led King Abdulaziz University – represented by the Faculty of Economic and Administration – to hold a conference titled "Saudi Economy: Challenges and Opportunities."
The wider Gulf region is a critical component in concerns about global stability and security. No area of the world has captivated the daily headlines in the past decade as much as the region that encompasses the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Iran, Iraq, Yemen and beyond that the adjoining areas of Central and South Asia – primarily Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Greater Middle East with its perennial Arab-Israeli conflict. The events of 2011 and the corresponding ‘Arab Spring’ has cemented the spotlight even further.
For better and for worse, the Gulf will remain the focal point of attention in the coming years. Iraq continues to struggle in its attempts to bring about a more stable domestic political environment while the continuing dispute over the Iranian nuclear program holds within it the potential for another round conflict. In addition, the circle of instability that surrounds the Gulf stretching from Palestine, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, to Yemen, Somalia and Egypt will undoubtedly contain regional and international repercussions. Added to all of this has been the unprecedented wave of political change that has swept through the Middle East since the beginning of 2011. This wave has impacted the GCC as well including Bahrain and Oman most prominently. With the added domestic political dimension, the specter of Gulf security has been broadened by another factor.
To properly comprehend Gulf dynamics, the area of focus needs to include the immediate regional actors (the six GCC states, Iran, Iraq and Yemen), the wider regional neighborhood (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Somalia), and the broader international community (the United States, Europe, Russia and increasingly Asian countries such as China and Japan) in a complex system of interaction where significant stakes are at play. Moreover, Gulf security cuts across a host of overlapping and complex factors including concerns about energy security, terrorism, weapons proliferation, border disputes, political development, education, human rights, climate change, just to name some of the more obvious examples.
Within this environment, the GCC states have attempted in recent years to carve out a role for themselves with the objective to promote a policy of dialogue and cooperation that could ultimately serve as a basis for better and more structured security relations both within the region and with external actors. The US-led war on Iraq in 2003 served as a catalyst in the sense that the GCC states were forced out of their slumber to recognize that its almost exclusive reliance on the United States as the sole security guarantor for the Gulf had not brought about a more secure regional environment. Instead, a series of antagonistic relationships remained in which the voice of the Arab Gulf was hardly heard and the national interests of the GCC were rarely recognized.
With its preeminent position in world energy markets and buoyed by large budget surpluses that have since 2003 in particular led to the GCC’s tremendous overall development, the Arab Gulf states have shifted gears and sought to interact with all parts of the globe in unprecedented ways. This can be seen as part of an effort to explore new relationships and find different mechanisms that could contribute to regional stability. The involvement with the rest of the world is thus being increasingly defined by the GCC states themselves instead of having outside policies being exclusively imposed on them. The involvement of both Qatar and the UAE in the NATO-led operations against Libya beginning in March 2011 is symbolic of the determination to shape policy instead of being shaped by it. Moreover, the rising importance of the region in economic terms, especially for the world economy in the wake of the global financial crisis, serves as a powerful magnet drawing the attention of various powers to the issues defining Gulf security. In this context, the Arabian peninsula’s location as a half-way point between Europe, Asia and Africa not only represents the crossroads for world commerce, it has wide-ranging geo-political and geo-strategic consequences as well.
To properly understand the complex dynamics that are driving regional and international developments, The Gulf Forum 2011: The Gulf and the Globe will explore the various challenges that exist and identify the strategies that need to be employed by the GCC states to promote their interests and contribute to more concerted efforts for regional stability and security. The Gulf Forum 2011 will further provide a platform for all those concerned with the region’s outlook to outline their policies and how they themselves can assist in moving the region out of its perennial cycle of conflict.
The Crown-Belfer Middle East Project is an initiative centered at Harvard University"s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. It brings together Middle East experts from all universities in the Boston area (Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Brandeis, Tufts, etc.) for discussions of policy-relevant issues concerning the Middle East.
This event held with the Middle East Institute will include an examination of recent developments in the Gulf in the wake of the Arab Spring. The speakers will address the crises in Yemen and Bahrain, US-Gulf relations and the question of reform in the region.
Together with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the Gulf Research Center will be holding a panel discussion on the current situation in the Gulf region and the challenges for US policy. The session will be moderated by Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.
The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has for decades been strong and important to both countries, creating a mutual dependency based on oil and security. Relations have periodically been subject to tensions, notably after September 11, when the predominance of Saudi citizens among perpetrators led to strong U.S. criticism of Saudi policies. At present, tensions have risen yet again due to the divergent reactions of Washington and Riyadh to the Arab Spring. The speakers will discuss how the post-September 11 crisis was managed and resolved as well as how the present crisis is being addressed.
The Gulf Research Center will be holding a two-day roundtable discussion on the current situation in Yemen with a particular emphasis on how the current regional and international political situation will impact existing and future development trends in Yemen. The workshop will explore the different scenarios that could come into play when it comes to the future of Yemen, to analyze in-depth the various development implications involved and to explore the ways and means in which regional and international institutions and organizations can work together to target their assistance and to increase their effectiveness.
The workshop will take place on the sidelines of the 2011 Gulf Research Meeting from 7-8 July 2011 at the University of Cambridge, UK and is supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The workshop will bring together specialists, policy officials and representative of donor agencies including numerous persons from the GCC states as well as from Yemen.
For more details on the GRM 2011 please click here
Under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz "The Gulf-Africa Investment Conference 2010 - Fostering Economic Relations" was held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from December 4 to 5, 2010 organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers in partnership with the Gulf Research Center. Thereby, the Kingdom is underlining the importance of the Gulf-Africa Investment Conference and stressing the commitment to developing the strategic relationship with the countries on the African continent.
The Gulf-Africa Conference brought together key leaders and personalities from government, business, academia and media to outline the issues and challenges facing more constructive economic and business-to-business relations between the key regions of Africa and the Gulf. The focus of the meeting was looking specifically into the various investment opportunities that are presenting themselves including the relevant strategies required to turn initial plans into more concrete actions. This includes opportunities in areas such as agriculture, minerals and natural resources, energy, telecommunications and infrastructure, as well as tourism and trade development. In all of these instances, the Gulf-Africa Conference was a unique gathering that added substance to much of the present rhetoric about GCC-Africa ties.
The Conference on Energy Security: Potential for EU-GCC Cooperation will be held on November 09-10, 2010 at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel in
This high-level international conference is organized by the
The conference is one of the concluding events of SECURE, a research project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme with the objective of building a comprehensive framework that covers the issues related to security of supply inside and outside the EU.
The conference will bring together some 150 energy security policy experts, among them Ministers of Oil & Gas / Energy from the region, representatives of the European Union to the Gulf Cooperation Council, Academics, CEOs of the major Oil corporations, civil servants and diplomats in the region.
The objective of the conference is to create a platform for discussion and dialogue on past, current and future energy security problems and solutions. The current and emerging energy and greenhouse gas challenges will also be addressed.
The conference will consist of six plenary sessions, introduced by a short presentation of SECURE research outcomes, followed by a panel of discussants composed of energy security policy experts from different backgrounds.
The third and final meeting of the GCC-India project meeting spearheaded by the Gulf Research Center and the Ministry of External Affairs of India will take place on October 16, 2010 at the GCC Secretariat in Riyadh. During this meeting, the final recommendations of the various working groups will be discussed and then put forward to the GCC and the respective foreign ministries. The GCC-India project is an eighteen months efforts that has as it core objective to assess the current trends and patterns of GCC-India relations from economic, political, security, educational, cultural, environmental and international political economic perspectives; and projecting a near and medium term horizon for deepening the already existing multifaceted relations. Particular emphasis is given to identify the potentials as well as challenges in a comprehensive effort to devise policy recommendations.