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17 Jun 2020Tafahum Virtual Roundtable, Environmental Issues and COVID-19

Details:

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 

Place : Webinar
Date : Jun 17 , 2020
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

10 Jun 2020Tafahum Virtual Roundtable, The Covid-19 Pandemic and its Regional Impact & Regional Responses to Future Pandemics

Details:

The second Virtual Roundtable for the Tafaum project, focusing on prospects for regional integration

Place : Webinar
Date : Jun 10 , 2020
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

07 May 2020Tafahum Virtual Roundtable, The Covid-19 Pandemic and its Regional Impact

Details:

The first Virtual Roundtable for the Tafahum project on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the regional order 

Place : Webinar
Date : May 07 , 2020
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

05 Feb 2020Tafahum Working Group 5: Second session on Developing a 'Regional Stability Paradigm' & Enhancing Post-Conflict Reconciliation

Details:

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 

Place : Casa Arabe, Cordoba, Spain
Date : Feb 05 to Feb 06 , 2020
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

04 Dec 2019Tafahum Working Group 3: Second session on Constructing a Regional Security Paradigm and Enhancing Parameters for Engagement

Details:

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 

Place : Clingendael, The Hague, Netherlands
Date : Dec 04 to Dec 05 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

29 Nov 2019Understanding Austria’s Domestic and Foreign Policy Orientation

Details:

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.

Place : Intercontinental Vienna , Austria
Date : Nov 29 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

23 Oct 2019Tafahum Working Group 4: Second session on Enhancing Media Literacy and Creating a Regional Media 'Comfort Zone'

Details:

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

Place : CARPO Offices, Bonn, Germany
Date : Oct 23 to Oct 24 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

23 Oct 2019Understanding the United Kingdom’s Domestic and Foreign Policy Orientation

Details:

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.

Place : Mayfair Hotel, London, United Kingdom
Date : Oct 23 to Oct 24 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

10 Jul 2019Tafahum Working Group 3: Counter-Terrorism and Security Sector Reform

Details:

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 

Place : Egmont Institute, Brussels, Belgium
Date : Jul 10 to Jul 11 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

11 Jun 2019Tafahum Working Group 4: Media Narratives and Discursive Integration in West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula

Details:

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 

Place : CARPO Offices, Bonn, Germany
Date : Jun 11 to Jun 12 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

29 Apr 2019Tafahum Working Group 5: Reconstruction Efforts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq

Details:

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 

Place : Hotel Donna Laura Palace, Rome, Italy
Date : Apr 29 to Apr 30 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

03 Apr 2019Tafahum Working Group 1: Regional Development and Energy Issues

Details:

This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Environmental Issues and Climate Change. This is the first session of this working group 

Place : Impact Hub Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia
Date : Apr 03 to Apr 04 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

18 Mar 2019Tafahum Working Group 2: Environmental Issues and Climate Change in West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula

Details:

This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, will look at the theme on Environmental Issues and Climate Change. This is the first session of this working group 

Place : CAPRO Office, Bonn, Germany
Date : Mar 18 to Mar 19 , 2019
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

11 Dec 2018Tafahum Conceptual Framework Workshop

Details:
This closed workshop held under Chatham House Rule, brought together at various fora where contacts and exchanges took place. The conceptual framework workshop outlines the core security interests of key regional and extra-regional stakeholders of WAAP
Place : Vienna, Austria
Date : Dec 11 to Dec 13 , 2018
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

17 Jul 2017Yemen – Finding a Way Forward

Details:

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.

Place : Washington, D.C. , United States
Date : Jul 17 , 2017
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

24 May 2017Yemen Crisis Workshop Series

Details:

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.

Place : Various Locations
Date : May 24 to Dec 31 , 2017
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

12 Jun 2014GCC-UK Relations

Details:

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.

Place : London, United Kingdom
Date : Jun 12 to Jun 13 , 2014
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

18 Mar 2014Discussion on “Human Rights In Saudi Arabia’ on sidelines of Human Rights Council in Geneva

Details:
The Gulf Research Center Foundation held a roundtable entitled Human Rights in Saudi Arabia: Perspectives and Development on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at the Geneva Press Club in Geneva, Switzerland. The event was organized in the preamble of the Saudi Arabia Universal Periodic Review (UPR) taking place in the framework of the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. In his opening remarks, Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, Chairman of the Gulf Research Center, stated that the combination of necessary political will and increased domestic involvement is leading the way forward in terms of human rights implementation in the kingdom. Together with the UPR review process, the roundtable itself should be seen as an effort to encourage further debate on the subject but also to provide a perspective from the kingdom on many of the aspects of human rights that are dominating the current discussion. Speaking on the issue of the role of women in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ilham Aldakheel, CEO of IMD Management Education Consultancy and Training Firm outlined both the challenges and progress that women face and have made in the kingdom. Stating that the issue of veiling has nothing to do with the issue of female empowerment, Dr. Aldakheel argued for seeing women as change agents in society. She mentioned concrete steps of progress including the fact that women can now be licensed as lawyers and that the system of guardianship had been eliminated from work, education and commercial registration. On the challenge front, she mentioned that laws are not properly executed and that much work remains to be done on this front. Dr. Aldakheel argued for long-term strategic change rather than cosmetic steps. Dr. Ahmed Saifuddin, board member of the National Society for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, focused his presentation on the role of non-governmental organizations and how his institution in working to spread the culture of accepting human rights in Islam. The National Society has received more than 38,000 cases in its 10-year existence from citizens and residents of the country spread across many sectors from personal cases involving inheritance and divorce, to civil cases dealing with issue of nationality, to labor issues such as proper salary payments and arbitrary dismissal from work, and family cases including violence against children, sexual harassment and aggression. He stated that it takes a lot of work to build the relationship with government to bring those cases to their attention. But he also argued that progress had been achieved and that in many instances many issues have been resolved. Dr. Tamader Yousef Mogbel Al-Rammah from Princess Noura University in Riyadh spoke on the plight of children. Given that Saudi Arabia has such a large young population, there is a recognition within society that children represent the future of the kingdom. The fact that Saudi Arabia has joined the Convention for the Rights of the Child is an important step forward and the kingdom has already issued 4 reports in this context. The focus now is on three areas: education in order to provide children with the right tools to advance themselves; health including specialized hospitals and proper early screening methods that ensure the right transition to adulthood; and security so that children can grow free of any fear for their physical and psychological safety. The role of the larger extended Saudi family should also be included in the wider debate. The final speaker was Dr. Ahmad Al-Fahaid, Deputy Minister of Labor for International Affairs. Dr. Al-Fahaid first provided an overview of the Saudi labor market where 85% of the private sector workforce is expatriate and where the government needs to provide more than 200,000 jobs a year for their own population. In order to provide better transparency, the government recently issued directives for the expatriate workforce to legalize their status in the country. All persons were allowed to change their employment status without fees or to leave the country in the case of illegal workers without penalties. In the end, more than 10 million people corrected their status. Other steps taken by the authorizes with regard to labor issues have included the establishment of a wage protection system and a committee to settle domestic worker’s disputes, drafting bylaws for domestic workers and the use of electronic recruitment for guest workers so as to cut out the middlemen. Dr. Al-Fahaid argued that there exists a vision by the government to make the labor market as attractive as possible for both nationals and expatriates through the introduction of gradual reforms. All the presentations and the discussion period can be seen here: http://2013.pressclub.ch/fr/conference/human-rights-saudi-arabia-perspectives-and-development
Place : Geneva, Switzerland
Date : Mar 18 , 2014
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

09 Mar 2014Visions of Gulf Security

Details:

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:

http://pomeps.org/2014/03/25/visions-of-gulf-security/

Place : Ca’Foscari University, Venice, Italy
Date : Mar 09 , 2014
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

26 Feb 2014Gulf States Unity Issues

Details:

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.

Place : Cairo, Egypt
Date : Feb 26 to Feb 27 , 2014
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

26 Nov 2013Renewable Energy Policy Experts' Workshop

Details:

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.

Place : Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date : Nov 26 to Nov 27 , 2013
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

08 Sep 2013Understanding the Institutions and Policies of the EU and EU-GCC Relations

Details:

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.

Place : Brussels, Belgium
Date : Sep 08 to Sep 13 , 2013
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

22 Apr 2013GRC-GCSP Panel at the International Security Forum

Details:

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

Place : Geneva , Switzerland
Date : Apr 22 to Apr 24 , 2013
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

03 Mar 2013Political Transformation in the Arab World and its Relevance for EU-GCC Relations

Details:

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

Place : GUST University, Kuwait
Date : Mar 03 to Mar 04 , 2013
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

17 Sep 2012Training Session for Academics: Understanding the Institutions and Policies of the EU & EU – GCC Relations

Details:

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.

Place : Brussels, Belgium
Date : Sep 17 to Sep 21 , 2012
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

15 Jun 2012The Gstaad Middle East Roundtable

Details:

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.

Place : Gstaad, Switzerland
Date : Jun 15 to Jun 17 , 2012
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

16 Sep 2011A View From the Gulf: A Discussion of Gulf Politics and Security

Details:

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.

Place : 1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, First Floor, Washington, DC ,United States
Date : Sep 16 , 2011
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

15 Sep 2011What Lies Ahead for America in Arabia and the Gulf: Analyses and Prognoses

Details:

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. 


Place : Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-340, Washington, D.C. ,United States
Date : Sep 15 , 2011
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

07 Jul 2011Roundtable Discussion on Yemen

Details:

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.


Place : University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Date : Jul 07 to Jul 08 , 2011
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

01 Oct 2010EU-GCC Relations and Global Economic Issues

Details:

The Gulf Research Center (GRC) and the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) are holding a one-day workshop on “EU–GCC Relations and Global Economic Issues” in Brussels, Belgium. The event is being organized in the framework of the Al-Jisr project on EU-GCC Relations with the support of the European Commission. The workshop will bring together prominent economists and policy officials from both the EU and the GCC side as economic relations between the GCC and EU have been developing over a wide area of common interest, primarily defined within the context of a free trade agreement and economic diversification. The purpose of this workshop will be to analyze in more detail the dynamics of the global economic financial crisis, the related focus on currency issues, its impact on GCC economic integration as well as issues of international trade and financial regulation and how this impact the GCC-EU relationship. A particular focus will be on identifying areas in which the EU and the GCC can work together more closely and improve their coordination.

Place : Brussels, Belgium
Date : Oct 01 , 2010
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

26 Sep 2010Understanding the Institutions, Agencies and Polices of the European Union

Details:

The Gulf Research Center is holding a week-long training program on “Understanding the Institutions, Agencies and Polices of the European Union” from Monday, September 26, to Friday, October 1, 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. The event is being organized in the framework of the Al-Jisr project on EU-GCC Relations with the support of the European Commission. The objective of the training program is to provide journalists from the GCC region a platform from which they will gain an insight into the workings of the EU. As such, the program will features in-depth presentations on key aspects of how the EU works and operates, field visits to various EU institutions like the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers as well as other organizations in Brussels.

Place : Brussels, Belgium
Date : Sep 26 to Oct 01 , 2010
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

06 Jun 2010Al Jisr Third Research Project Workshop

Details:

A third research project workshop on the challenge and potential of economic growth and diversification in the GCC. A team of specialized researchers from both regions will be constituted and given access to all resources in the hands of the project’s partners. Once again, the strategy to establish such partnerships will prove to be precious as the resources and expertise of each partner will be fully used. The research project workshop will deliver a number of integrated future scenarios to judge the region’s regional and international economic role as well as the shifting functions of state and business in it.

Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Jun 06 to Jun 09 , 2010
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

18 Apr 2010Training Session on European Union (EU) – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Relations

Details:

The Gulf Research Center and the Institute for Diplomatic Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began on Sunday, April 18th, 2009, a 3 day long Training Session on the European Union (EU) and  the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) relations. The training session will focus on communicating basic facts about the EU, its history, policies and institutions. In addition to more specific issues between the two sides including political governance and dynamics as well as economic, trade and financial relations. Then conclude with recommendations for improving relations between the EU and GCC.

Place : Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date : Apr 18 to Apr 20 , 2010
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

16 Mar 2010The EU-GCC Partnership Security and Policy Challenges

Details:

This workshop will be hosted and organized by Bertelsmann Stiftung in Berlin, focusing on issues of security and politics in current affairs. The coming years will bear witness to a potentially conflict-prone struggle over a number of resources, including access to raw materials and new markets. Regional partnerships and security structures must therefore be given adequate support, since a stable Gulf Region can serve as a reliable source of energy for Europe enabling prosperity, education and employment for its own citizens and neighbors. The conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region are interwoven with each other. In this context, Europe needs to be aware of the special security needs in the Gulf Region, with a particular emphasis on sub-regional structures for cooperation and security in the Gulf that are currently under discussion. Europe and the GCC thus have an interest in dealing with the conflicts in the region through the application of cooperation and dialogue, and the recent expansion of the European Union alongside the development of its foreign, security and defense policies can be used as an example for how to promote and initiate greater confidence-building among the GCC and its neighbors Iraq, Iran and Yemen. This is also relevant as the GCC continues to mature, opening the door to better prospects in the field of cooperative security measures. As in other workshops, recommendations will be formulated on how the security cooperation between the GCC and the EU can be improved and how a sub-regional security and cooperation structure for the Gulf Region can be established.

Place : Berlin, Germany
Date : Mar 16 to Mar 17 , 2010
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

10 Dec 2009The Mediterranean: Opportunities to Develop GCC-EU Relations

Details:

This workshop within the framework of the Al-Jisr Project on EU-GCC Public Diplomacy and Outreach Activities will explore the following questions: Can the Mediterranean become a field of cooperation between the EU and the GCC countries? If so, in which perspective should Mediterranean EU-GCC cooperation be developed? Should the Mediterranean become a dimension in the EU-GCC political dialogue or should it be a separated framework? Should it be an EU-GCC cooperation in or on the Mediterranean? If it were a dimension of EU-GCC relations, how should it be connected with EU political relations with Arab Mediterranean countries (i.e. belonging to the UFM)? Should the various fields of cooperation move on separated tracks or should there be linkages? What could the political and security rationale of EU-GCC cooperation in/on the Mediterranean be? Is it possible to consider possible issues of cooperation (e.g. the Arab-Israeli conflict; Lebanon; Western Sahara; social and cultural issues linked to migration; counterterrorism; maritime security, etc.)

Place : Rome, Italy
Date : Dec 10 to Dec 11 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

11 Nov 2009China’s Growing Role in the Middle East: Implications for the Region and Beyond

Details:

The Gulf Research Center (GRC) in cooperation with the Nixon Center of Washington, D.C. is pleased to announce a workshop on November 11 and 12, 2009 on the subject of “China’s Growing Role in the Middle East: Implications for the Region and Beyond.” The workshop will take place in the GRC conference room in Dubai and bring together about 25 participants from the Gulf region, the China, India and the US. Relations between the Gulf region and China have taken on multiple dimensions in the past years and it is important and necessary to take a more in-depth look at the strategic implications of this developing relationship. In addition to economic and energy issues which certainly serve as a driver for closer ties, there are also political and security dimensions that must be considered. The purpose of this workshop is to explore in more detail the dynamics that define Gulf-China ties and to analyze the perspectives that are presenting themselves for both sides. The meeting is also part of a study on the growing role of the major Asian countries in the Middle East.

Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Nov 11 to Nov 12 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

02 Nov 2009Political Reform in the GCC and its Implications for EU Policy

Details:

The workshop was organised by the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) and the Gulf Research Center under the Al Jisr Project will focus on the status of political reform in the GCC states in order to provide a better understanding of the transition process occurring in these states. With human rights an integral part of the EU’s Free Trade Area negotiations, a thorough understanding of the drivers promoting political reform and an objective assessment of the reform measures being out in place is essential in order to better guide policy decisions. Among the issues to be discussed in this workshop are the roles of the Gulf monarchies as drivers of political reform, the role of parliaments and local councils, the prospects for judicial reform, the development of civil society, and the interaction between energy dynamics and political reform. A final discussion will look at how the political reform debate impacts on the overall GCC-EU relationship.

Place : Madrid, Spain
Date : Nov 02 to Nov 03 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

11 Oct 2009The Second Al-Jisr Research Workshop

Details:

The Gulf Research Center, in association with the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, organized the second research workshop of the "EU-GCC Al-Jisr Project on Public Diplomacy and Outreach devoted to the European Union and EU-GCC Relations".

Place : Doha, Qatar
Date : Oct 11 to Oct 14 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

04 Oct 2009Extended Deterrence, Security Guarantees, and Nuclear Proliferation: Strategic Stability in the Gulf Region

Details:

This conference will consider the role of nuclear weapons in sustaining or undermining the security of the Gulf region. Its focus is on three linked concepts: extended deterrence, security guarantees, and nuclear proliferation. Its aim is to consider what kinds of conditions will be required to insure that extended deterrence and security guarantees continue to promote regional stability in and around the Gulf, as they have (for the most part) in the past; and conversely, what can be done to avert nuclear proliferation among the Gulf states and their immediate neighbors, as well as among extremist groups that seek to operate there.

The idea of extended deterrence is a product of the early Cold War. It reflected the shared concern of the nuclear Superpowers that the spread of nuclear weapons would complicate their relationship with each other, and make it more dangerous. Each accordingly declared itself willing to extend the protection of its nuclear arsenal to allies and clients. The widespread acceptance of this idea may seem surprising, to the extent that its credibility depended on the willingness of non-nuclear states to believe that their protector would expose itself to potentially mortal perils on their behalf. Nevertheless, it was widely believed that neither of the US nor the USSR could tolerate the loss of prestige and credibility that would follow an unavenged nuclear attack on one of its partners. As a consequence the concept of extended deterrence proved robust. Even states for which nuclear weapons were within easy technological reach generally judged that the risk of owning them was greater than that of trusting the protection afforded by established nuclear powers.

Extended deterrence was supported by a system of security guarantees, most of which were of a  familiar and traditional kind: a declared willingness by states to cooperate in each other’s defense, and to fight side-by-side in given circumstances. In the nuclear era, however, a new form of guarantee was introduced, one that was extended not merely to friends but to rivals and adversaries as well. States known to possess nuclear weapons promised not to employ them against any that did not, in exchange for a countervailing promise that states without nuclear weapons would not attempt to obtain them. This exchange of promises lies at the heart of the nuclear non-proliferation regime established in 1968.

Nevertheless, nuclear proliferation remains a major threat to stability in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. The Cold War structure of extended deterrence was defined by the logic of nuclear confrontation. Except in a few specific contexts (e.g. the NATO alliance) it did not address conventional threats, to which some states may well regard nuclear weapons as an effective answer. Nor did it offer much comfort to states who associated the possession of nuclear weapons with prestige and influence, a perception that was reinforced by the general reluctance of states with nuclear weapons to given them up. The disappearance of the Soviet Union, finally, has (perhaps paradoxically) called into question the continued credibility of the extended deterrence offered by the United States. When there were two “nuclear umbrellas” it was easy (or at any rate convenient) to assume that each covered whatever the other did not. Now that there is only one, its exact extent has become uncertain, as have the conditions under which its protection might be withdrawn.

This conference seeks to explore the logic and functioning of extended nuclear deterrence and associated security guarantees in the Persian Gulf, a region that is currently free of nuclear weapons, but may not be for much longer. One state in the region, Iran, is widely believed to be in active pursuit of a nuclear arsenal, a prospect that has been declared unacceptable by many outside powers, ranging from the EU to China. Two of them—Israel and the United States—are thought to have developed plans for direct military intervention against Iranian nuclear facilities, in the event that diplomacy fails to halt Teheran’s weapons program (whose existence Teheran denies).

Such intervention, needless to say, would be profoundly destabilizing for the rest of the Gulf. So too would Iranian success. Saudi Arabia in particular is thought likely to seek its own independent nuclear deterrent to counter an Iranian nuclear arsenal (as might Egypt, slightly farther afield). While other Gulf states may not view the Iranian program with the same degree of alarm as Riyadh, their equanimity becomes markedly reduced when considering the possibility of a Saudi-Iranian nuclear standoff.

The politics of nuclear weapons are also influenced by the politics of nuclear energy. Its attraction to states in the Gulf is a source of suspicion for some observers, who fear that such projects, particularly when conducted by states floating on an ocean of oil, can only be a mask for weapons development. Historically the connection between nuclear energy and weapons proliferation is not strong—though the fact that the Iranians have explained their own interest in nuclear technology in terms of a desire for nuclear energy has muddied the water in this regard. A number of Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have declared that their programs would not include an indigenous uranium enrichment capability – the critical building block for a weapons program that the Iranians have so far refused to relinquish. At a minimum, the accelerating interest in nuclear power among Gulf states will complicate the task of detecting weapons proliferation, and restraining the spread of nuclear technology and materials beyond the control of regional governments.

Attitudes toward nuclear weapons among Gulf states are also shaped by the continued existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Israel has been a nuclear power since the late 1960s. Its successful emergence as an “undeclared” nuclear weapons state, despite the expressed opposition of the United States and other major powers, is regarded as an affront by other governments in the region, and also, perhaps, as model for emulation. The Israelis, for their part, have a proven track record of military action to forestall the development of nuclear weapons by their neighbors, having demolished nascent nuclear programs in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007) without apparent consequence to themselves. Few doubt their capacity to take similar action in the future.

Israel is, in any case, but one of three nuclear-armed states—along with India and Pakistan—that have slipped the leash of the Cold War non-proliferation regime, and whose proximity to the Gulf necessarily influences attitudes toward nuclear weapons there. The picture is further complicated by the fact that all three of these governments enjoy warm relations with the United States—a source of reassurance, perhaps, but one that also casts doubt on America’s ability to extend the deterrent effects of its own nuclear arsenal elsewhere in the region, should that become necessary. It also suggests, somewhat ironically, that successful proliferators may have less to fear from the United States than might be expected, given the adamancy of its professed opposition to the spread of nuclear arms.

Since the end of the Second World War protection from external threats in the Gulf region, for practical purposes, has been assured by the major oil-consuming states in the West. Their willingness to extend their military protection to the region was driven by their hunger for energy, and their determination to deprive the Soviets of influence and access there. The second of these motives has disappeared; though Russia’s recent, opportunistic intervention in Georgia is a reminder that it retains substantial freedom to act in proximity to its own frontiers. The first, in any event, is strong than ever; yet it is unclear, absent the overarching external threat posed by the Soviets, what kinds of policies it can support on its own.

The aim of this conference is to consider how, and how far, the logic and practice of extended nuclear deterrence and multilateral and bi-lateral security guarantees can be adapted to address current and future threats to stability in the Gulf. Military strategies calculated to ward off outsiders may not be readily applicable to the maintenance of regional stability, nor to containing rising regional powers like Iran. Conversely, the range of choices available to Gulf states, both in the marketplace and in terms of strategic partnerships, are far wider than they used to be. So too are the range of threats against which deterrence must be “extended.” to include not just the emergence of regional nuclear powers, but the suppression of conventional conflict, terrorism, subversion, and internal unrest as well. Certainly whatever strategies are adopted in the nuclear arena cannot be obviously incompatible with the requirements of these other realms, in which the threats, while smaller, are also more immediate.


Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Oct 04 to Oct 05 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

29 Jun 2009Project on Preventative Diplomacy in the Middle East

Details:

Relations between the Gulf region and Japan are developing over a wide are of common interests. While primarily defined within the context of energy ties and economic trade, Japan is beginning to look at the region from a variety of additional perspectives including what kind of security policy Japan should pursue when it comes to the volatile Gulf region. The purpose of this workshop will be to explore in more detail the dynamics that define Japanese security policy and to analyze the perspectives that are presenting themselves for the GCC states in this regard. 

Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Jun 29 to Jun 30 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

08 Jun 2009The EU and the GCC: Prospects and Challenges under the Swedish EU presidency

Details:

As part of the Al-Jisr project on GCC-EU Public Diplomacy and Outreach Activities, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University and the Gulf Research Center will hold a two-day conference entitled:  “The EU and the GCC: Challenges and Prospects under the Swedish Presidency of the EU” to be held in Lund, Sweden from June 8th to 9th, 2009. The meeting will bring together around 30 academics and government representatives from Sweden, the EU member states, the GCC countries and regional institutions.  In addition, several corporate representatives from Sweden, the EU and the GCC will join these 30 individuals. The objective of this meeting is to closely analyse and promote topics that are of current mutual interest between the EU and the GCC. It comes at a critical time when the institutional relations between Europe and the Gulf region are growing in both their scope and intensity. In light of the Swedish presidency of the EU to begin in July 2009, the meeting will develop and put forward a policy catalogue of issues that can further enhance EU-GCC relations and lead to greater mutual cooperation. As such, topics exploring security/terrorism, economics/global crisis, development/FDI and culture/identity have been identified as key focal areas of the discussion. The meeting will particularly encourage and aim for a free exchange of ideas. European and Gulf experts will present three papers under the broad topics named above over the two days. The presentations are meant to be brief to allow for sufficient discussion by all participating members. Following the conference, the papers will be published in a book through the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University.

Place : Lund, Sweden
Date : Jun 08 to Jun 09 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

11 May 2009Joint Launch of Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2008 Arabic Version during the 12th Kronberg Middle East Talks

Details:

Abdulaziz Sager, Chairman of the Gulf Research Center on the occasion of the 12th Kronberg Middle East talks of the Bertelsmann Foundation and held in Riyadh with the cooperation of the Institute of Diplomatic Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia and the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies launched the Arabic version of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI).The BTI was translated from English and published in Arabic by the Gulf Research Center. The BTI is a bi-annual global ranking that measures and compares transformation processes worldwide on the basis of detailed country reports. The BTI is unique in the sense that is a qualitative rather than a purely quantitative assessment of how countries have progressed vis-à-vis one another in a number of categories. Speaking at the event that launched the Arabic version, Mr. Sager emphasized that the Gulf Research Center saw in the BTI a valuable tool for looking at transformation processes in the world but particularly in the Middle East where in recent years this transformation has gathered significant speed, especially as far as the GCC States are concerned. He also referred to the fact that the Bertelsmann Transformation Index has been uniquely designed to look at not only the status of political and economic development but more importantly on the management of transition and how well the changes have been integrated into existing systems. As such, the BTI become important as the GCC States themselves begin to look at how to shape and carry forward their impressive growth and development. In addition to the summary findings concerning all regions of the world, the Arabic version also includes all country reports that pertain to the GCC States. For a summary presentation of the report, please click here. The book can be ordered by clicking here.

Place : Intercontinental, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date : May 11 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

10 Mar 2009The GCC-EU Partnership: Cooperation in Higher Education

Details:

Institutional relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council states and the European Union have to be filled with life by deepening cooperation between the people and institutions of both regions. In the context of the Al-Jisr project on GCC-EU Public Diplomacy and Outreach, the Gulf Research Center, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Kuwait University want to contribute to this process with focusing on the issue of education. The Al-Jisr attempts to identify new constructive ways of cooperation in addition to reviewing the current status of relations. Within the framework of specifically focused workshops the project seeks to bring together a broad network of government officials, business leaders, academics and specialists, media personalities, civil society leaders, students and other engaged individuals to make sure that the project results will be disseminated among a wide group of people in order to allow recommendations to be implemented. In this context, the project partners are holding an Open Forum/Expert Workshop with the focus on Cooperation in Higher Education. For competing in a globalized world first-class educational systems are needed. To invest in education is an investment in the future. The target of our two-day initiative is to encourage dialogue and to formulate recommendations for actors involved in educational reform processes – Experts, Politicians and Students: what can the EU and the GCC do to improve educational systems, to strengthen exchange of experiences between both regions and how can institutions of both regions set up common initiatives?



Place : Kuwait City, Kuwait
Date : Mar 10 to Mar 11 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

26 Feb 2009Enhancing the EU-GCC Relations within the New Climate Regime: Prospects and Opportunities for Cooperation

Details:
The Workshop is being implemented under the umbrella of the Al Jisr project titled: “Public Diplomacy and Outreach Devoted to the European Union and EU-GCC Relations”. The Al Jisr project aims:
  • To enhance public and professional knowledge as well as understanding of the EU, its policies and institutions, among GCC citizens.
  • To strengthen reflection and debate about EU-GCC relations and contribute to the future of effective policy-making cooperation between the two regions.
  • To give policy-makers and practitioners of both regions the opportunity to discuss future policy outlines and possibly resolve current deadlocks on specific issues. As one of the main milestones of the current project, the workshop will be moderated by special expert staff from the different partners and highly recognised discussants. The events will be thematic in order to focus the discussion on specific issues

of special relevance to current affairs. The composition of the workshop participants will be balanced among EU and GCC representatives. Finally, tailor made dissemination activities will ensure that the widespread diffusion of the workshop outcomes will reach not only high level policy makers, but also academicians and key market actors from GCC and EU.

Nowadays, global warming poses certain constraints to energy usage with direct impacts on the international economic activity. In this respect, the determination of prospects and opportunities for the development of a sustainable energy economy is of outmost importance in order to pass from the current carbon constrained economy to new sustainable development paths.

In particular, the key shared interest on the above issues ranks high on the EU policy agenda and without a doubt the relevant cooperation with GCC Countries could be further developed. While there is a widespread view that the GCC region participates in the world energy scene through its vast oil and gas reserves, with little concern for environmental impact and with little incentive to invest in alternative sources of energy, there is a changing dynamic. Indeed, the use and development of Renewable Energy Sources (RES), Rational Use of Energy (RUE) as well as CO2 Capture and Sequestration could make a significant contribution to improving environmental protection and to guarantying continuation of oil supplies in conditions of stability and security. The GCC region offers massive business potential for national, regional and international companies involved in the power generation, lighting and RES energy industries. The potential development of RES in the GCC region would have mutual benefits for both the EU and the GCC countries. In this framework, both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have recently committed large funds to the climate fund from the last UN conference in Bali.

Based on the above, the current workshop envisions combining policy and technical expertise for the discussion of policy implications and opportunities of greater collaboration, in what has to be seen as a future green energy market. The final aim of the workshop is to further enhance the EU-GCC relations in key energy and climate change cooperation issues.

Place : Brussels, Belgium
Date : Feb 26 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

01 Feb 2009First Al-Jisr Research Project Workshop

Details:

A first Al-Jisr research project workshop is the first in a series to look at the challenge and potential of economic growth and diversification in the GCC, including an analysis of how the benefits of the expected Free Trade Agreement (FTA) can best be reaped. The specific topics to be addressed within the framework of the larger research project are:

 

·         the GCC economies’ comparative strengths and weaknesses related to the labour market,  unemployment and migration; female participation in the economy; and education and economic development.

·         changes in the Gulf business environment with respect to privatisation and government ownership, business regulation, and the strengths and weaknesses of the private sector, as measured by global indicators.

·          the potential for economic diversification (downstream integration into refining, petrochemicals and other energy-intensive industries and its implications for EU industry and the global environment; the competitiveness of Gulf industry outside of the above-mentioned sectors; and the potential for specialisation in other services, including tourism).

·         domestic energy consumption in the GCC countries including domestic pricing of various hydrocarbon and the recent trends towards acquiring a nuclear power generation component.

·         the Gulf financial sector, focusing on trends of regulatory change, financial diversification, regional and international consolidation of banking intermediaries, the Gulf’s potential as regional and global hub, and the behaviour and future of the GCC’s Sovereign Wealth Funds.

·         GCC monetary unification, discussing future scenarios of exchange rate policy, currency pegs and monetary policy.

·         the Gulf region’s future position in the global economic context, with special reference to relations with the other Asian countries, with the European Union, the Mediterranean Arab countries, Iraq and Yemen.

 

On the basis of these sectoral and institutional lines of research, the project aims to arrive at a number of integrated future scenarios to judge the region’s regional and international economic role as well as the shifting functions of state and business in it.


Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Feb 01 to Feb 04 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

04 Jan 2009The Role of the Private Sector in Promoting Economic and Political Reform

Details:

Experts’ views of the capabilities and the potential role of the private sector in promoting economic and political reform in the Arab world are sharply divergent. Some view the private sector as still being primarily subordinated to the government and depending on government expenditure or other forms of government protection to be able to achieve profit in business. It is pointed out that there is a lack of international competitiveness except in sectors, such as petrochemicals, which are formally privatized but in fact still closely controlled by government; a lack of transparency and openness to international investment; excessive dependence on government contracts or other business opportunities essentially influenced by government decisions and initiatives. A contrasting view has emphasized that the private sector in the Arab world has come a long way since its beginnings in the 1970s and has now acquired capabilities that it did not have in the past. Therefore, while the picture of a business sector subservient to the government might have been correct 30 or 40 years ago, it is no longer accurate today. Besides, many private business groups have also greatly increased their financial capabilities through international investment and are increasingly engaging in business that caters to open and fairly competitive markets. The declared strategy of Arab governments to increasingly rely on the private sector is opening further opportunities for private sector investment and growth, progressively tilting the balance in the equation.

Pointing to this development, the Gulf Research Center Foundation (GRCF) and the Arab Reform Initiative have launched a two-year research project entitled “The Role of the Private Sector in Promoting Economic and Political Reform,” to explore ways in which the Arab business community can contribute to the progress and modernization of the region. In a comparative analysis, several Arab countries, including the GCC states, are being assessed. The overarching aim of the project is to conduct research on the capabilities and attitudes of the private sector towards economic and political reform, opening the door to a more sophisticated understanding of the evolving reality. The active involvement and participation of the region’s business communities therefore is of crucial importance and constitutes an integral element in guiding the academic work.

The project got off to a start on January 4, 2009, with a workshop at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry followed by a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh on January 5, 2009. Two introductory papers were presented which establish the framework for continuing debates. Dr. Steffen Hertog, Kuwait Program Chair at Sciences Po (Paris, France) and Senior Consultant at the Gulf Research Center, elaborated on private sector capabilities and the degree of government dependence/independence. In his paper “Private Sector and Public Policy Making” he described key parameters of the private sector and the significance and implications of the actual/potential role of the private sector in promoting economic and political reform. The ensuing debate evolved around the topic of how globalization and regional integration affect the relationship between public and private sector. Professor Giacomo Luciani, Director of the Gulf Research Center Foundation in Geneva, shed light on this subject paving the way for future discussions and wider and deepened policy debates.


Place : Jeddah; Riyadh – Saudi Arabia
Date : Jan 04 to Jan 05 , 2009
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

12 Nov Gulf-India Relations

Details:

The Gulf Research Center (GRC) in cooperation with the Nixon Center of Washington, D.C. will hold a workshop on November 12 and 13, 2008 on the subject of "Gulf-India relations." Relations between the Gulf region and India have long historical roots and stretch across many dimensions. As both India and the GCC countries are experiencing strong economic development, the traditional trade and business ties are now also being supplemented with a more comprehensive approach that includes political as well as security aspects as well. The purpose of this workshop is to explore in more detail the dynamics that define Gulf-India ties and to analyze the perspectives that are presenting themselves for both sides.

Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Nov 12 to Nov 13 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

02 Nov Cluster-based Industrial and Economic Growth for Sustainable Development: A Feasibility Study for Rabigh, Al Qunfudah, and Al Leith Regions in the Makkah Province

Details:

On November 2, 2008, Fihir Abuateeq, Dr. Eckart Woertz and Nathan Hodson of GRC gave a briefing at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) about an ongoing consultancy project about sustainable development and cluster based industrialization in the three governorates of Al Rabigh, Al Leith and Al Qunfudah. The workshop was attended by dignitaries and executives from the three regions and form institutions in Jeddah such as ministries and government agencies. It served to get input from various stakeholders in to the ongoing consultancy project, a final report will be released by January.


Place : Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Date : Nov 02 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

22 Oct East Asia - Gulf Workshop

Details:

With relations between the Gulf region and East Asia expanding, the Gulf Research Center (GRC) in cooperation with Durham University and with the support of the Center for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) organized a workshop to examine more in-depth some of the specific aspect of the ties that are shaping current policy debates. Overall, the meeting included a political, security as well as economic angle and focused on the specifics of regional integration, economic development and Japan's security policy. In addition to Chinese regional policies pursued within the context of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the opportunities and challenges of Shanghai and Dubai in the global financial system, as well as Japan's security policy with reference to the Iraq War and the Iranian nuclear issue were examined. Much of the ensuing debate focused on the regional perspective from the Arab Gulf States and the kind of role that is envisioned by East Asian countries to move the mutual ties forward.

Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Oct 22 to Oct 23 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

09 Oct Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, Discussion of National Intelligence Council’s Working Draft Report

Details:

The Gulf Research Center (GRC) in cooperation with the Henry L. Stimson Center of Washington, D.C., held a half-day workshop on October 9, 2008 to discuss the draft report of the National Intelligence Council entitled Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is the center for mid-term and strategic thinking of the US intelligence community. Every four years, the NIC publishes a study on global trends over the next 15-20 years. The next edition is due for publication in December 2008 but as part of the process of preparing the report, experts both in the United States and overseas are consulted to provide their insights and give their comments on the report"s comments.

The meeting included an introduction explaining the scope and context of the Global Trends 2025 report followed by a discussion of the overall approach, major trends and scenarios. The meeting then opened for a general discussion of specific issues of interest discussed in the report including the rise of emerging players, a new transnational agenda, the prospects for terrorism and conflict, the question of whether the international community would be up to the challenges that a shifting world presents, and role of the United States in a new multi-polar environment.


Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Oct 09 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

07 Oct Regional Voices – Transnational Challenges: Maritime Issues

Details:

As part of the cooperation between the Gulf Research Center and the Henry L. Stimson Center, the GRC is participating in the Stimson Center’s project entitled Regional Voices: Transnational Challenges. This project seeks to gain understanding of emerging transnational challenges in the regions stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Straits of Malacca.  The boundaries of the Regional Voices: Transnational Challenges project are broad and includes a range of topics from transnational ideological movements, terrorism, transnational crime and political culture to natural resource exploitation, pandemic diseases, climate and other environmental change, water, and food security. The aim is to seek to understand the relationships among these, and to understand the capacities of states, societies and regional and international organizations to cope with them. 

 

The meeting on maritime issues is an open exploration of current realities and emerging concerns in the Indian Ocean region. Some of the topics are social and economic – from the rising importance of the region in global trade to the tragedy of human trafficking.  Other topics are scientific, such as fisheries and environmental degradation.  Yet others are in a more traditional security realm, with rising Asian powers looking to naval prowess as one aspect of their national power and influence, and the concern of all littoral states to protect energy supplies and prevent terrorism and proliferation of illicit weapons and materials. The meeting will explore all these issues, and try to illuminate how they interact and present new security dilemmas for states and societies. 


Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Oct 07 to Oct 08 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

21 May 2008The EU and the GCC: Challenges and Prospects under the French Presidency of the EU

Details:

The objective of this meeting is to closely analyze and promote topics that are of current mutual interest between the EU and the GCC. It comes at a critical time when the institutional relations between Europe and the Gulf region are growing in both their scope and intensity. In light of the French presidency of the EU to begin in July 2008, the meeting will develop and put forward a policy catalogue of issues that can further enhance EU-GCC relations and lead to greater mutual cooperation. As such the topics of politics/security, education/culture, energy security as well as trade and investment have been identified as key focal areas of the discussion.

Place : Paris, France
Date : May 21 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

13 May Population Distribution in GCC countries: Economic Development or Social Crisis?

Details:

Given the increased factors of demography and population growth, this meeting will focus on GCC Migration and its History: Demographics and countries of origin, changes in the GCC expatriate population since the 1980s including from neighboring Arab countries to Asian countries as well as an estimation of the future population composition in the GCC. There will also be a comparison with the migration and integration experience of the United States, Western Europe and Asia (namely Singapore and Malaysia). IN addition, the meeting will analyze many of the social and legal issues such as the policy of non-integration and temporary residence, citizenship laws and labor laws in the GCC, the contribution of expatriates to GCC GDP, skill gaps and politics of workforce nationalization, the inter-linkages between investments and job creation. Finally, migration will be considered from a security point of view including whether the GCC policy of temporary residence and workforce diversification is feasible in the long run, how GCC free labor markets could work, and the spillover potential of political conflicts of sending countries (e.g. India/ Pakistan, Iran)

Place : Kuwait City, Kuwait
Date : May 13 to May 14 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

30 Jan Challenges in Sustaining Economic Expansion in the GCC: Possible Gains from Closer Relations with Asia

Details:

Workshop in Cooperation with Kobe University"s Research Institute of Economics and Business Administration (RIEB), Japan

Place : GRC Conference Room, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Jan 30 , 2008
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

15 May What Future for the European Union’s new Energy Security policy?

Details:

The Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), the Gulf Research Centre (GRC) and EGMONT - the Royal Institute for International Relations are organizing a seminar to respond to the publication of the EU’s new energy security strategy and to debate those aspects of energy security related specifically to European foreign policies.

Rationale
During the last year, the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute, greater global competition for diminishing hydrocarbon resources and higher oil prices have jolted the European Union into debating the development of a comprehensive European Energy Policy. Europe"s increasing energy dependency, decreasing energy production and reliance on a small number of external suppliers have added to the urgency of these debates.

The Commission’s March 2006 Green Paper committed the EU to integrating energy issues more systematically into the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It also promised that energy security would not compromise the EU’s commitment to promoting democracy and human rights. The Commission’s Strategic Energy Review published on 10 January 2007 further reinforced these commitments to a more effective energy security policy; this Review will now be debated by member state governments at the March 2007 EU summit.

In focusing on the foreign policy dimensions of energy security, our one day seminar will be framed around three broad issues:

a) Market versus geopolitical approaches:
Should competitive power-politics, expressed in bilateral deals/relationships with key suppliers prevail, or alternatively should key suppliers be incorporated into an international energy market? The seminar will explore this debate and the complex linkages between internal and external dimensions of energy security.

b) Can member state interests be reconciled and streamlined within a common European energy policy?
Member states currently pursue differing approaches to energy security. How can these different views be reconciled in one common energy policy? As the perception exists that energy security is one of the areas of greatest divergence and competition between national governments, it must be asked whether member states will really be willing to compromise enough to define a unified approach.

c) Will external energy policy act to the detriment of democratic development?
Are EU policies of democracy promotion becoming weaker in states that are either energy producers or energy transit countries? Many certainly judge that new energy security imperatives sound the death knell for democracy promotion. On the other hand, would it be preferable to pressure producer countries for improvements in governance so as to achieve a more favourable and stable investment climate in which IOC’s could operate? Is this feasible given the recent trend towards greater resource nationalism?


Place : Brussels, Belgium
Date : May 15 , 2007
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop
  

21 Mar The Eighth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting of the European University Institute

Details:

The relationship between the member states of the European Union (EU) and those of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is multifaceted and has over the years taken on a number of increasing dimensions. In light of recent security issues such as those related to terrorism and the US-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, ties between the EU and the GCC have also taken on a security component that up to this stage remains largely undefined and understudied. Yet, with the emergence of the European Security Strategy in December 2003 and other initiatives such as NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative unveiled in 2004, Europe itself is trying to define more concretely what a future European security role in the Gulf region could look like and to what degree Europe can assist the Gulf States from overcoming their perennial security problem. This debate features a number of salient issues including weapons trade and proliferation, terrorism, bi-lateral as well as multi-lateral security approaches to the region and the promotion of the soft security realm as a means to move towards a more comprehensive notion of the term security itself. This conference will bring together experts and analysts from Europe, the GCC States and “interested” other countries to illuminate the problem areas that Europe faces in the Gulf and to put the different approaches on the table into their proper context. Of specific concern will be how to move from the current still vague and largely theoretical notions of GCC-EU security cooperation into more policy-applicable and relevant approaches that build on past European experiences. The papers presented at the workshop will be published in an edited volume following the workshop’s conclusion.        

The Geo-Economic Positioning of the GCC countries
Until the 1980s the position of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the international division of labour was clear: oil was exported and manufactured goods were imported, mainly from Europe and the USA. Nowadays the situation has changed. Although the importance of oil and gas revenues is still paramount, the GCC countries command an increasingly diversified economic structure with new sectors emerging in the fields of petrochemicals, utilities, services and tourism. They are the world market leader in polymer production and lay specific emphasis on the development of energy intensive industries like aluminium, steel and fertilizer plants. For theses industries they have to import now raw materials themselves from countries like Australia and South Africa. On the other hand the focus of their trading relations has shifted and moves eastwards. The USA only account for roughly 10% of imports nowadays (2004) while the European Union is contributing one third and the Asian countries about a quarter of overall imports. Thus, they have become the most important trading partners for the GCC, most notably Asia, which purchases about two thirds of GCC energy exports. How could these interdependences of foreign trade be mapped out in detail? How will the GCC countries react to these challenges? How do they position themselves in the WTO process and the ongoing negotiations of free trade agreements with the EU and the USA? Which chances and which threats emerge from the opening of their economies? Which sectors and companies will benefit (e.g. petrochemicals) and which will likely face difficulties in facing increased competition (e.g. agriculture, so far monopolistic telecoms, banks)? Will petrodollar recycling move away from simple buying of US treasuries and move towards strategic investments and other currencies like the Euro? And finally: is there a realignment of foreign policy discernible along the lines of geo-economic positioning?


Place : Florence – Montecatini Terme, Italy
Date : Mar 21 to Mar 25 , 2007
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

08 Mar Pakistan-Gulf Strategic Relations

Details:

The Gulf Research Center (GRC) and the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) will hold a joint workshop on Pakistan-Gulf Strategic Relations on March 8-9, 2007 in Islamabad. The aim of the workshop is to assess current strategic relations and forecast future trends in terms of the political, economic and security aspects of relations between Pakistan and the GCC States.  There have been critical developments in these areas which not only impact inter-regional relations but also affect the political and economic environment within these states.

Pakistan’s geo-strategic position as well as its close and long-standing relations with the GCC States are an important factor in shaping their respective policies vis-à-vis  other regional neighboring countries. For example, many states in South West Asia and Central Asia are keen on extending energy and trade links and developing crucial communication networks with the GCC States. Similarly, Pakistan’s importance as a key regional player in influencing and shaping developments in Afghanistan, as well as the significance of its close relations with China and Iran that could influence the regional security environment cannot be underestimated. The fact that Pakistan enjoys close relations with the GCC states could play a mutually beneficial role in political dealings with other regional players.

The workshop will provide a platform to look at some important issues that need to be explored in depth, considering the commonalities the two sides share. Some significant topics that will be addressed include the political environment in the region which remains threatened by the growing instability in Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear program, and the forward movement in the peace initiative on Kashmir. The workshop will also focus on security issues. Terrorism, soft security issues such as narcotics and human trafficking, and the rise of militant Islam will be among the topics discussed. Another common security concern is the flow of illegal immigrants from Pakistan to the GCC states.

Pakistan and the GCC states have already demonstrated the need for a joint effort to combat terrorism. Collaborative efforts to counter terrorism and contain the threat posed by human and narcotics trafficking are already being made by the governments of both Pakistan and the GCC states. There is a further need to develop these efforts. Besides, it is necessary to devise a grassroots-level program and develop sustained long- term policies that will address the root causes of terrorism. Such policies should also be looking at developing a comprehensive educational curriculum for schools and religious institutions that by inculcating proper Islamic teachings could serve as an effective deterrent against vested interests seeking to incite hatred and violence by the misuse and abuse of Islamic education. It is also important to look at the rise of militant Islam and review measures which need to be implemented to combat the conflagration of extremism.

Pakistan has always played an active role in training and providing military education to officers in the armed forces and civic security institutions of the GCC States. The workshop will review the existing military ties including trade in arms and defense systems. It will also look at the possibility of extending potential support of the Pakistan armed forces for regional defense in case of external threat to the GCC States.  Another significant contribution Pakistan could offer to the GCC States is to provide nuclear technology for developing a peaceful nuclear program, with the approval and supervision of the IAEA.

Political stability and regional security are factors that are inextricably linked to the development of better economic relations between the GCC States and Pakistan. The recent surge in GCC investments in key sectors such as telecommunications, real estate and infrastructure development, energy, steel and shipping is an indicator of the growing confidence in the stability and future potential of the Pakistan economy.

The GRC-ISSI workshop hopes to highlight the significant themes that define the relations between Pakistan and the GCC States. This will be a useful endeavor to bring into focus the above-mentioned key themes and chalk out future development of ideas that are mutually beneficial not only to Pakistan and the GCC States but also other regional countries.

Place : Islamabad, Pakistan
Date : Mar 08 to Mar 09 , 2007
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

11 Jan Annual Workshop 2007: Consequences of US Policy for the Gulf Region

Details:

Throughout 2006, the shortcomings of American foreign policy in the Gulf region have become blatantly apparent. Iraq has deteriorated to the point of open civil warfare, sectarian and ethnic conflict issues throughout the Middle East have been exacerbated, the determination of Iran to challenge the United States and its pursuit of a nuclear program continues without much restraint, the stability of Afghanistan hangs very much in the balance, and the threat of terrorism has not diminished to any significant degree. Slowly but surely, the Gulf region is not only faced with the possibility of further turmoil but with a complete lack of security. And of all this occurring while concerns over world energy supplies are once underscoring the region’s central strategic importance to the rest of the world.

Two things need to be underscored at the outset. For one, the relevance and importance of regional Gulf security to the international community is set to continue if not increase further. The central role of the Gulf will, however, not only be limited to issues of energy although given the current high price oil environment, additional instability in the region could produce negative economic consequences all around. Equally as important will be the political, strategic and even cultural impact that events in the region will have. Both Iran and Iraq are issues that will continue to dominate international headlines and events in these countries will directly reflect on the regional strategic environment. Sectarian and ethnic cleavages as well as issues of religious identity will consume equally much attention with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey among others playing key roles. Overall, security will further be determined by a number of different policy issues – terrorism, weapons proliferation, border disputes etc. – with both regional and international dimensions.

Second, in all of these instances, the United States will remain the major actor. Therefore, while it is necessary to look at the components that make up the regional security environment, it is above all the actions and policies of the US that have had and will continue to have the greatest impact. Without understanding the rationale and objectives which underline US policy, it will not be possible to gain a thorough understanding of its possible intended and unintended consequences.

Moreover, as mentioned above, there are increasing doubts and criticism about the current directions of US policy in the Gulf and the wider region. The recently released Iraq Study group report underlined not only the “grave and deteriorating” situation in Iraq but made it clear that much of the declining security climate in the Middle East was directly linked to the inability of the US to put in place a proper strategy and the failure to recognize the linkages of events throughout the region. This can lead to the conclusion that whether in regard to Iraq, Iran, terrorism, proliferation or democratization, US policy has failed in its objectives with the result that the region is now faced with the grave consequences of this failure.

With this workshop, the GRC wants to look more deeply about the possible consequences of US shortcomings and draw some conclusions about the possible implications. Beginning with a look at the US objectives for the region and how these objectives have been translated into policy, the conference will also highlight the associated costs and ask the question whether on the present circumstances, a continuation on the present path is sustainable. This would then allow one to posit some scenarios at both the regional and international level as well as discuss in more detail the implications for Iraq, Iran, sectarian conflict, terrorism, US leadership and even international stability.



Place : Park Hyatt Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : Jan 11 to Jan 12 , 2007
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

15 Nov Identifying Drivers of Political Reform in the GCC Countries

Details:

The Gulf Research Center and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace held two meetings in 2004 and 2005 respectively focusing on the status of political reform in the GCC States. These meetings provided a broad overview of factors affecting political reform in the Gulf and an evaluation of the changes that have taken place so far in each country. The first GRC-Carnegie meeting, held in September 2004, made an important contribution to the understanding of the reform process by discussing the broad issues that affect political transformation in the area. The second meeting in November 2005 drew comparative lessons among the experiences of the GCC countries, as well as put forward ideas to reinforce the political reform process by strengthening civil society organizations even at a time of high oil prices, which cushions delaying reforms.

As political reform has become an integral part of the overall development process being implemented in the Gulf region, the GRC and the Carnegie Endowment have decided to continue their cooperation and conduct a third meeting on this topic. In order to make the third meeting as productive as the previous ones, the focus this time will be more specifically on the internal and external drivers of change and how each of these are influencing the current and future political reform process in the GCC States.

The November 2005 meeting called for the development of a quantifiable ‘democratic continuum’, where reform would not just be measured just in terms of elections but would also take into account policies dealing with constitutional development, women’s rights, freedom of the press, corruption, administrative transparency, human rights, and education reforms. In this context, the 2006 workshop would look in-depth at the domestic factors that can move the region into such direction. Specific focus will be given to the actors in the region such as political societies, civil society organizations, religious groups and a new middle class. It will equally be important to look at new emerging institutions such as parliaments, municipal councils to see the kind of impact they can generate.

In terms of economic transformation and the emergence of business and middle classes, the role of chambers of commerce needs to be looked at. During elections to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce in December 2005 for example, two women were elected, a historic first for the Saudi kingdom. What are the implications, if any? The emergence of tactical alliances between new middle class members and the ruling elite implies questions about how this "partnership" functions. In the meanwhile, the ruling elites are struggling to initiate reforms dealing with youth unemployment and the socio-economic problems. What are the main obstacles that hinder a successful implementation of economic reforms? Finally from the domestic point of view, it will be relevant to look more closely at the ideas and debates that are contributing or hampering impending reform. 

Looking at the external environment, the participants from the region in the November 2005 meeting stated that, while the September 11 events were a factor that has brought the issue of political reforms to the fore, it is certainly not the only catalyst for change. In some respects, US policies had in fact proved to be more of a “stumbling block.” A consensus opinion was that reforms will take place in the region “despite the US and not because of the US.”

Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that external factors do play a role whether positively or negatively. The workshop will thus take a multifaceted approach looking at how reforms taking place elsewhere in the Arab world are having an impact on political reform in the GCC countries, while also discussing the impact of direct external efforts to influence political reform in the Middle East on the GCC States. Specific emphasis is to be given to the perception in Washington and European capitals and the perception in the region and to a comparative analysis that looks at whether efforts have positive or mostly counterproductive effects and how such efforts can be improved upon. 

The workshop has been designed so that each panel starts with two initial presentations, one by an analyst from a GCC country and one by an American or European analyst. This will make it possible to compare the different perspectives on what drives political reform in the area. It is also hoped that this will lead to ideas and/or suggestions about how the overall political reform process in the GCC countries can be reinforced and strengthened.

Objectives of the Workshop

• Focus on the Internal and External Drivers for Political Reform in the GCC States

• Look at how domestic factors have influenced and are likely to influence in the future, either positively or negatively,  the political reform process in GCC countries

• Look at how external factors have influenced and are likely to influence in the future, either positively or negatively,  the political reform process in GCC countries

• Provide a comparative perspective on the perception in the region, in Washington and in European capitals on the impact of various factors on political reform.

• Identifying common denominators shared by all drivers that can promote a reform process in the region and propose implementable policy alternatives.

• Understand the mechanisms of reform between new emerging actors and ruling elite.

• Provide an in-sight on economic networks financing ruling elites and civil societies.

Place : Beirut , Lebanon
Date : Nov 15 to Nov 16 , 2006
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop

02 May Laying the foundations for a WMDFZ in the Gulf: approaches to national legislation for WMD agreements

Details:

The upcoming workshop will be the third in a series of meetings organized by the GRC as part of its Research project to promote declaring the Gulf region a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (GWMDFZ). The Research Program was created following a workshop hosted by the GRC here in Dubai on December 11-12, 2004 which launched the initiative. High level representatives from countries in the region, as well as international experts and academics, along with representatives from a number of regional and international organizations took part in a two day -closed workshop discussion on the highly critical issue of WMD proliferation in the region and the ramifications of these developments on countries in the Gulf as well as the international community.

The initiative was very well received in the region following two successful meetings in Dubai and Stockholm. The second meeting was in fact co-sponsored by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) as part of their mission to conduct research on questions of conflict and co-operation for international peace and security and with the endorsement of the European Union.  The gaining importance of the Gulf as a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone project in the region was exemplified in the endorsement of the idea by GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah at the opening of the GCC Summit in Abu Dhabi in December 2005.

This upcoming workshop is being carried out with the support of VERTIC, an independent, non-governmental organization. Its mission is to promote effective and efficient verification as a means of ensuring confidence in the implementation of international agreements and intra-national agreements with international involvement.  VERTIC’s contribution to this meeting is funded by the Global Opportunities Fund of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO.)

At this meeting, we are hoping that through the high level official representation from all the nine Gulf States we will be able to push the process from a Track II diplomatic path to a Track I official level. It is our hope that like other disarmament processes before, we can encourage regional governments to adopt this idea officially for our mutual security.
                           
Purposes of workshop

1. to provide an opportunity for representatives of the nine states in the greater Gulf region to exchange views on establishing  a regional ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ)’ in support of the Gulf Research Center’s project to promote a Gulf WMDFZ;

2. to provide an opportunity for representatives to learn about national nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons law, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), in support of VERTIC’s project on national implementation measures (NIM) for international treaties, agreements and norms; and

3. to provide the GRC and VERTIC with an opportunity to learn more about the positions and concerns of the participating countries regarding non-proliferation of WMD in the Gulf region, including helping to identify any areas in which technical and/or legal assistance would be useful in implementing appropriate national measures.

The workshop supports VERTIC’s project, ‘Building capacity to implement nuclear and biological weapons treaties, norms and UN Security Council Resolutions’. This project focuses on national implementation measures (NIM), and has been developed to address the difficulties that many states, especially developing countries, face in understanding what measures are required at the national level to comply with the prohibitions in a wide range of nuclear and biological treaties, norms and UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCR), and how to implement them. While there are bilateral, multilateral and inter-governmental programs which offer some implementation assistance, depending on the agreement, there are still substantial gaps to be filled. Under this project, VERTIC is developing a guide to national implementation requirements under the agreements mentioned above, model national laws and/or legislative provisions, and a list of useful resources to help states find further assistance, and holding a series of seminars and regional workshops to raise awareness of implementation obligations and approaches.  


Place : Park Hyatt Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : May 02 to May 03 , 2006
Category: Past Events
Event Type : Workshop