Dr. Christian Koch participated in a day-long strategy session of the “Key States Project: The EU and Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran” which is organized by the Bertelsmann Foundation. The project seeks to analyze how the four key states mentioned above can more effectively linked into the EU neighbourhood policy. The meeting featured presentation by the experts on each of the four countries of the relevant policies and strategic interests followed by a discussion on how those interest can best be integrated into European policy thinking. In the fall, the strategy group will undertake field trips to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and Iran.
Dr. Christian Koch participated in a roundtable discussion entitled “Heading towards a direct confrontation? Saudi Arabia and Iran after the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal” held at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin, Germany. The roundtable featured 20 participants from the German government and the think tank community. A key aspect was exploring what role Germany could play in trying to retain the JCPOA while calming regional tensions.
Dr. Christian Koch, Director of the GRC Foundation, attended the conference entitled “Transatlantic Think Tank Dialogue on the Middle East” held in Bonn, Germany and organized by the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation and the Center for Applied Policy Research on the Orient. During the meeting, views were exchanged on European and American positions on the current critical issues in the Middle East ranging from Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Yemen to the Saudi-Iranian rivalry and concepts of reconciliation and rehabilitation. The events brought together 25 participants representing European and U.S. think tanks. Dr. Koch gave a presentation on the current development related to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and how the West should position itself with regard to the transformation processes occurring in Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Christian Koch, Director of the GRC Foundation, attended the Global Solutions Summit held in Berlin, Germany which brought together more than 1,100 participants from all parts of the world representing governments, think tanks, the business community and civil society. Greman Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas gave talks at the meeting. The Global Solutions Summit was established during the German G20 Presidency and brings together leading think tanks and stakeholders to provide policy solutions to the most relevant global institutions. At the heart of this initiative is the Council for Global Problem-Solving - a network of leading think tanks providing a crucial bridge between the policy proposals and their implementation. The Global Solutions Initiative supports the G20 think tank agenda.
Dr. Mustafa Alani and Dr. Christian Koch represented the Gulf Research Center at the 7th annual Conference of the Council of Councils in New York. The Council of Councils is an initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) to help direct high-level international attention and effective policy responses to the foreign policy threats and opportunities defining the twenty-first century. The meeting held in New York featured a discussion with UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres, workshop session on global trade, strengthening effective climate change action, migration, monetary policy, the geopolitical implications of new technology, and the challenge from Iran and its global implications. During the conference, the annual Council of Councils Report Card on International Cooperation was also launched. The report as well as more information about the council of council can be found under:
Dr. Christian Koch participated in a discussion with Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, at an event organized and hosted by the Körber Foundation in Berlin, Germany. Amb. de Mistura pointed to a critical period over the coming weeks in Syria based on the US decision on the JCPOA, The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem and the start of Ramadan. The UN envoy stated that while it is clear that only a political solution can ultimately end the conflict, the fact is that at the moment a military solution is in the making. This means that parties will not negotiate until the contours of that solution become visible. The event was attended by policy officials and members of think tanks from the Berlin community.