President-Elect Joe Biden and the Future of US Foreign Policy in the Middle East

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) Symposium (60), titled ‘President-Elect Joe Biden and the Future of US Foreign Policy towards the Middle East’, will take place on Monday, January 18, 2021.

The symposium will discuss Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections, anticipating the impact his administration will have on domestic politics and US foreign policy in the Middle East. Biden’s foreign policy in the region is expected to differ from his predecessor, Donald Trump, with potential implications for the political and economic stability of the region.

The symposium will consist of three main panels. The first will analyze the US election results, the second will discuss possible shifts in US foreign policy and the repercussions for the region, while the third will address regional threats and ways to counter them.

 

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The Implications of COVID-19: Reshaping Global Strategy

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) will hold symposium No. (59) titled, The Implications of COVID-19: Reshaping Global Strategy, at 10pm on April 29, 2020. Tune in to the event on our YouTube Channel @TheECSSR.

The symposium is a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has spread across the globe, infecting millions of people and resulting in thousands of deaths. It has also given rise to great confusion as to how to handle the pandemic. These developments require countries to adopt a set of new policies in an attempt to address the current and future implications of the pandemic, in political, security-related, economic, social and healthcare areas – nationally, regionally and globally.

The symposium will cover four key themes; the first examines WHO’s Regional Outlook on the Pandemic, while the second theme focuses on How Education Will Evolve after the Coronavirus Pandemic. The third theme explores The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the International Economic System, and the symposium’s final theme will tackle The Political and Security Risks of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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Saudi Media: Change and Evolution

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in Abu Dhabi has launched a symposium series titled ‘Arab Media 2020’. The series will see an elite group of Arab media professionals discuss key media strategies and practices, exploring their impact on Arab societies. It will also examine the implications of these strategies, regionally and globally, in light of ongoing regional challenges. The series is part of the ECSSR’s efforts to enrich its academic and scholarly output, as a major regional platform for the exchange of ideas and perspectives on a variety of issues. The Center has organized over 1,000 events, including lectures, conferences and symposia. It has hosted heads of state, intellectuals, scholars and academics.

Within this framework, the ECSSR convenes a host of distinguished Saudi media professionals and editors-in-chief to discuss Saudi media in light of ongoing change and evolution. The symposium plans to explore the current Saudi experience in developing its media.

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Gulf Security: Identifying and Confronting the Challenges

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) is holding symposium No. (58) titled ‘Gulf Security: Identifying and Confronting Challenges’ on Monday, February 24, 2020, from 10:00am to 1:35pm. The symposium reflects the heightened importance of the security of Arab Gulf countries and the Middle East, within a wider global context, at both strategic and geopolitical levels.

The symposium will see welcoming remarks from His Excellency Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, as well as keynote addresses delivered by H.E. Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates, H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, United Arab Emirates and H.E. Major General Staff Pilot. Ali Mohamed Musleh Al Ahbabi, Chairman, Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, United Arab Emirates

The symposium comprises three main panels. The first panel, titled ‘Geopolitics of the Gulf Region’, will see two papers presented. Commander Erich Frandrup, US Navy Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, US, examines ‘Gulf Maritime Security and the Iranian Threat’, while the second presentation, from Mr. Khalid Al-Zaatar, Saudi writer, political analyst and researcher in Middle East affairs, touches on ‘Turkey’s Foreign Policy in the Region’. In the second panel, ‘Challenges to Gulf Development’, Prof. Waleed Khalil Zubari, an expert in water resources management at Arabian Gulf University, Kingdom of Bahrain, discusses ‘The Region’s Water and Food Security’, while H.E. Eng. Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Department of Energy, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, examines ‘The Energy Transition: Implications for Gulf States’. The third panel, titled ‘Regional Stability and Defense Diplomacy’, will see Dr. Fahad Al-Shelimi, a political and strategic analyst and researcher from the State of Kuwait, explore ‘Prospects for Resolving the Qatar Crisis’. The second paper, by Dr. Khaled Mohammed Batarfi, a professor at Alfaisal University, and a writer and political analyst from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, examines ‘The Role of International Alliances in the Region: US, Russia and China’.

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The Scourge of Fake Academic Degrees

The phenomenon of fraudulent academic degrees is one of the most dangerous social issues, with adverse impacts not limited to one nation, but extending to almost all countries. Many nations, especially the GCC states, strenuously work to eliminate this disturbing phenomenon, which has recently become increasingly widespread. The purpose of this symposium is to investigate the issue of fake academic degrees in the GCC countries, and to look for mechanisms to combat this phenomenon, which is detrimental to society’s safety and security. In this way, we can eventually curb and eliminate it. The symposium touches on academic fraud from the perspective of Islamic Sharia, and considers how it is addressed within Islam. The symposium also explores UAE measures to detect and deal with fake degrees, as well as the tools, programs and mechanisms adopted to protect the country against fraudulent academic qualifications issued by national and international entities.

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The Role of Media Platforms: Reality and Prospects

The symposium will discuss the realities of various media platforms, anticipating future prospects at all levels. In particular, it will examine mechanisms to support traditional media as it strives to stay abreast of accelerating and unprecedented developments in the wider media landscape. In this context, highly successful models, in terms of media discourse, will be demonstrated. The symposium will also highlight mechanisms to control digital content, and how to raise societal awareness, particularly in light of weak restriction and control measures for new media.  

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The UAE and the Consolidation of a Culture of Tolerance and Coexistence Locally and Globally

Today’s symposium, The UAE and the Consolidation of a Culture of Tolerance and Coexistence Locally and Globally, is part of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) program of activities for the 2019 Year of Tolerance initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE (may God protect him). This special theme for the year stresses the UAE’s role in enhancing the culture of coexistence and tolerance at all levels–locally, regionally and globally.

Our symposium program includes welcome remarks by His Excellency Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, as well as three keynote addresses delivered by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance, UAE; His Eminence Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Chairman of the Emirates Fatwa Council, UAE, and His Eminence Mr. Ali bin Al-Sayed Abdulrahman Al-Hashemi, Advisor for Religious and Judicial Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

Proceedings for the symposium are arranged in two panels, the first focusing on the UAE’s efforts to consolidate the values of tolerance and coexistence in tribute to the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God bless his soul); while the second panel touches on the concept of tolerance from a religious and humanitarian perspective.

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Symposium 17

The endorsement of the new constitution, by the Iraqi people through a referendum in October of this year, marked a significant milestone in the modern history of Iraq. The development of the constitution was itself a contentious process and its nature was reflected in the voting patterns during the referendum. There remains the possibility that some aspects of the constitution may yet change in the coming weeks and months, and it is to be hoped that in the light of broader representation in the National Assembly following the recent elections, the requirements of all parties to the constitution can be adequately met.

As the basis for a stable Iraq, an agreed-upon constitution is of great importance not only for the citizens of Iraq, but also for its neighbors and other countries of the Arabian Gulf region. As a populous and militarily strong Arab country on the Arabian Gulf, Iraq has been seen as both an ally and a security threat. While Iraq remains unstable, hindering redevelopment towards a stable and prosperous society, it will remain a security threat to its neighbors.

The importance of a unified and stable Iraq was recently highlighted at the GCC summit in Abu Dhabi when the Gulf leaders urged the Iraqi people to reach a “comprehensive national reconciliation” in order to ensure its territorial integrity and stability. In the interests of furthering this process the GCC states promised to continue their support for reconstruction.

The symposium provides an occasion for a fruitful discussion of regional and Iraqi concerns about the new constitution, and how the political renewal will evolve and develop within Iraq.

Program

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Symposium

The development experiences of South Korea and Singapore are considered successful cases regionally and internationally. Although both countries do not possess abundant natural resources, they have become among the top economies in the world in terms of growth and development. Moreover, both showed significant expertise in facing the major economic crises of recent years. This confirms that they both possess the means and mechanisms to effectively handle any unforeseen economic crisis.

The success of the development experiences in these two countries did not come out of the blue; rather, it is the product of integrated comprehensive visions and strategies that focus on investment in the human capital as the pillar and objective of development. Both countries believed early on that the human being is the real wealth and basis for any success in the field of development. Therefore, they have both allocated a major proportion of their budgets toward building and qualifying human beings to be able to take part in the development process.

To that end, South Korea and Singapore have focused their efforts on investment in education as the real engine toward development and progress. While South Korea concentrated on technical, vocational and technological education, Singapore focused mainly on the sciences and the technical specializations needed in the labor market. Both countries are admired for their success in the localization of advanced technology. They have both recognized that localization of technology and incorporating its variety of sciences, not merely copying technology, represent a key factor in the process toward the ranks of advanced nations. Moreover, both countries have adopted a set of brave economic reforms to fix structural problems. Such reforms have enabled them to absorb the negative impacts of the economic crises that the world has faced in the past few years.

The UAE seeks to benefit from the pioneering development experiences on the regional and international arenas. It has recognized that the transition to the post-oil era requires being open to the successful experiences of other nations, such as South Korea and Singapore, and learning from the lessons offered by these two cases in building a sustainable national economy. Most important is the part related to the development of the education system in order to ensure that it meets the needs of the labor market. Other experiences to draw on include investing in specific sectors that rely on a knowledge-based economy, preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution era and creating a scientific, knowledge-based environment which is conducive to the localization of advanced technology to ensure sustainable growth and development.

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Symposium 39

On Tuesday (1 September 2015), the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) organized a symposium named the ‘Storm-of-Thought’ alliance. Held in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall at the ECSSR office complex in Abu Dhabi, the symposium was attended by elite group of researchers, intellectuals, academics, and representatives of think-tanks in several Arab countries.

The symposium began with His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, delivering welcoming remarks in which he stressed that think-tanks play a vital role in the progress of nations and societies, especially in times of crises such as the one facing the Gulf region, the Middle East, and the whole world. He said that extremism and terrorism are spreading and think-tanks should play an active role in tackling these challenges through scholarly work that present clear alternatives for decision makers to draw effective policies.

H.E. Dr. Jamal Al-Suwaidi said that the ‘Storm-of-Thought’ initiative – which was launched by the ECSSR in May 2015 – is meant to build an alliance of Gulf and Arab think-tanks to support decision makers in Gulf and Arab countries, helping them face security challenges in these countries and the region. He said that the ECSSR will make all efforts possible to ensure its success and will be willing to assist other think-tanks taking part in this initiative.

The welcoming remarks were followed by discussions on the five topics that were part of the agenda: 1) Arab-Regional Relations: Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Israel; 2) Arab-International Relations: United States of America, Russia, European Union, China and India; 3) The Future of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf; 4) The Nation-State in the Arab Region: Factors of Unity and Disintegration; and 5) The Future of Political Islam.

The symposium concluded with an open discussion chaired by H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR. This was followed by reading out of the closing statement, which called for discussions on the declaration of the charter of cooperation between Arab studies and research centers, the development and promotion of research and scientific cooperation between Arab studies and research centers, and exchange of experience and expertise between them.

The closing statement also included agreement to the proposal put forward by the Bahraini delegation that the second session of the ‘Storm-of-Thought’ symposium be hosted by the Isa Cultural Center in Bahrain in March 2016.

Opening Remarks      Closing Statement

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