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Recognizing the growing importance and relevance of GCC-Latin American relations, the Gulf Research Center (GRC) hosted a meeting on Monday, November 9, 2009 with the Heads of Mission and Consul Generals of Latin American countries in the UAE to exchange point of views and begin deliberations about possible collaboration. Present at the meeting alongside GRC representatives were H.E. Ruben Eduardo Caro, the Ambassador of Argentina; H.E. Jean-Paul Tarud K., the Ambassador of Chile, H.E. Lenin Bandres Herrera, the Ambassador of the Republic of Venezuela; H.E. Luis Bermudez Alvarez, Consul General of Uruguay; H.E. Francisco Alonso, Consul General of Mexico; H.E. Andres Fernando Pages, Consul General of Panama; Mr. Arthur Nogueira, Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Brazil; and Mr. Ignacio Gonzalez of the Embassy of the Dominican Republic. The meeting took place on the heels of recent developments in Latin American-Gulf relations including the Summit of South American and Arab Countries (ASPA), the numerous diplomatic exchanges between the two region and the 20-day visit of Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayid, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates to numerous Latin American states in October 2009. While the focus of these events have been on expanding the economic opportunities between the two sides, the meeting at the GRC also stressed the need for a better and broader political relationship that can provide a more solid framework under which to take relations forward. The need for linkages between research institutions on both sides, regular exchanges of views, and joint meetings and projects, for example, in the fields of renewable energies, piracy, and overall political relations was also mentioned.

A delegation from the Vietnam Institute for Africa & Middle East Studies (VIAMES) visited the Gulf Research Center. Prof. Do Duc Dinh, the Director of VIAMES headed the delegation, which also included Ms. Tran Thi Lan Huong, editor of the Journal of Africa and Middle East Studies. The delegation was accompanied by Mr. Nguyen Duc Cuong, Third Secretary of the Embassy of Vietnam and Ms. Pham Tan Hoa, Director of the Asia Pacific University Vietnam Office. Potential cooperation areas between GRC and VIAMES were discussed with Dr. Christian Koch, Director of International Studies and Dr. Oskar Ziemelis, Director of Cooperation at the Gulf Research Center.

Dr. Koch met with Daniel Meyer of the Institut Francais du Proche-Orient to talk about a possible project on borders and national identity in the Gulf region.

A delegation from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) visited the Gulf Research Center. The delegation of ten was headed by HE Mr. Gao Quanli, Vice-President of CASS and included Prof. Zhang Youyun, Deputy Director-General of the CASS Bureau of International Cooperation. The delegation also included Prof. Yang Guang, Director-General of the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies together with other members of the Institute, which is one of more than 30 research institutes that exist as part of CASS. The purpose of the visit was to enhance mutual understanding and explore possibilities of research cooperation between CASS and GRC. Views were also exchanged on developments in the Gulf region and China’s relations with the region.

A delegation from the International Union for conservation of Nature (IUCN), visited the Gulf Research Center. IUCN is a global environmental organization and a membership association with more than 1,000 member organizations in 140 countries and it has official observer status at the United Nations General Assembly. The Union’s headquarters are in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland. IUCN supports governments, NGOs, international conventions, UN organizations, companies and communities to develop and implement laws, policy and best-practice to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable, by mobilizing organizations, providing resources, training people and monitoring results. Dr. Odeh Al Jayoussi, IUCN Regional Director, met with the Chairman of GRC Abdulaziz Sager, and the managers of the GRC Science and Technology and Environment research programs. The purpose of the visit was to explore possibilities of cooperation between GRC and IUCN, especially in the area of capacity building programs related to sustainability, green economy and renewable energies.

Dr. Kristian Coates-Ulrichsen of the Kuwait Programme of the London School of Economics visited the GRC and met with Dr. Christian Koch and Mr. Kareem Mahjoob of the GRC to inform about the current research being conducted at the LSE.