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The Global Financial Crisis and the Gulf: Dubai's Debt and the Future of Islamic Banking


After initial hopes of decoupling, the Global Financial Crisis has hurt countries in the Gulf considerably. Oil prices declined from record highs and budget surpluses turned into deficits. Financing conditions for domestic companies deteriorated, while the sovereign wealth funds of the region suffered tremendous losses. Furthermore, the eruption of Dubai’s debt crisis in December 2009 has cast a light on shortcomings in the business environment and raised questions about the viability of Islamic banking securities such as the Nakheel sukuk, which became a bone of contention.


The roundtable will gather distinguished academics and practitioners to take stock of the current situation in the Gulf and discuss future scenarios. After assessing the impact of the global financial crisis on the Gulf, a particular focus will be on implications for Islamic banking whose growth prospects have dimmed while a possible global leadership role of the Gulf in this niche industry has been compromised.

US-GCC Relations and the Requirements of a New Strategic Approach


The election of a new President in the United States in November 2008 could profoundly impact the nature and direction of the US-GCC relationship. Given the stated national interest that the US has assigned to the security and stability of the Gulf region, the choices and decisions that are made in Washington are profoundly linked to the overall development of security relations among the Gulf littoral states. Under the US Bush administration, the ties between the GCC and the US have been affected in a number of ways, most of which have not been necessarily positive. On the one hand, there are the beginnings of a certain strategic divergence between the national security perceptions of the GCC states and the US with key countries like Saudi Arabia increasingly willing and able to promote policy directives that also stand in contrast to US objectives. This can in part be attributed to the growing maturity of the GCC states themselves who currently feel that due to high levels of regime security supported by tremendous economic development, they can afford to distance themselves from their larger protector to a certain degree. On the other hand, however, there is a clear recognition that the central role played by the US in the Gulf region will not shift dramatically overnight and that a US role in Gulf affairs will remain a present reality.


Given those parameters, it is proposed to organize a panel on the future outlook of US-GCC relations both as the US begins to take stock of its regional policy over the past 8 years and as the GCC begins to better define how to manage and develop its external relationship on both a regional and international level. The panel will look in depth at the different aspects of political, security, defense, economic and energy issues that play a central role on the US-GCC relationship and will identify the key areas in which an assessment of the current relationship might be necessary in order to re-build part of the strategic foundation on which bi-lateral ties have co-existed up to this point. The point that the next US presidential election will bring about a chance from the present administration makes such a panel an opportune moment to undertake this analysis.

Singapore Energy Conference (SEC)


The Gulf Research Center will be a key Strategic Partner of the Singaporean Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Singaporean Energy Studies Institute (ESI) in organizing the Singapore Energy Conference (SEC) which will be held from 4-5 Nov 08. It is taking place in the framework of the International Energy Week (IEW), which will be convened from 3 - 7 Nov 08 in Singapore.


The IEW will be a myriad of energy events comprising meetings, conference, exhibitions, seminars, site visits and hospitality prorgammes. These include the 1st Meeting of the International Advisory Panel on Energy, Singapore Energy Lecture, Singapore Energy Conference, Singapore Electricity Roundtable as well as various other energy-related activities such as exhibitions, seminars, site visits to oil refineries, gas works and power stations.

At the Singapore Energy Conference there will be also a Ministerial Dialogue about "Conventional Energy versus New Energy".  The overarching theme for the SEC is "Energy for the Region: Powering Cities of the Future".

Dr. Mohamed Abdel Raouf, Program Manager - GRC Environmental Security and Sustainability Program, participated in the 16th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum.


Dr. Mohamed Abdel Raouf, Program Manager - GRC Environmental Security and Sustainability Program, participated in the 16th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum prior to the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 2), which took place at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on 21-22 February 2016. Dr. Raouf delivered a presentation on the environmental importance of local and traditional knowledge and citizen science, as well as the importance of the Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO 6) process and outputs. The Gulf Research Center participated in the meeting in its current capacity as the Global Focal Point of the Science and Technology Major Group of UNEP.