The Challenges of Nation-Building in Arab Countries that have Recently Witnessed Change

The Challenges of Nation-Building in Arab Countries that have Recently Witnessed Change

  • 6 - 7 October 2015

The Conference on “The Challenges of Nation-Building in Arab Countries that have Recently Witnessed Change,” co-organized by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research and the School of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine, addresses one of the most urgent issues facing both the region and the world.  As a result of changes in the Middle East and North Africa, several countries have experienced or are experiencing turmoil and find themselves facing the task of reconstruction and geo-political realignment.

The conference brings together experts and scholars from around the world to discuss the issues of nation-building in Arab countries. In this regard, conference participants will offer multiple perspectives on contemporary regional developments; in addition to proposing solutions to certain countries most strongly affected by the significant changes that have occurred both at home and abroad.  Keynote speakers will set the stage on the significant impact of recent change, the reconstruction issues that need to be addressed and the importance of the GCC countries being part of the solution.  

A panel on “The Arab World in Transition” will cover ongoing internal conflicts in the Arab region, the political economy of Arab Nation-building, the realignment of international relations in the Arab world, and the rise of the GCC countries.

Additional panels will cover: “Arab Nation Building Projects: The Role of Citizenship, Social Justice, and the Rule of Law;” “New Directions in State-building in the Middle East and the Role of External Powers;” and “Mechanisms of Political-Economic Stabilization.”  The final panel shall discuss “The Role of the GCC States in Economic Recovery and Relief Efforts.”

Welcoming Remarks
His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi
Director General, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

In the beginning, I have the honor to convey to you the greetings of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Chairman of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, may God protect him, and his wishes of success to you and to the Conference. And I would like to express the pride of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in organizing and hosting this important and vital conference in collaboration with the ancient American "University of Maine".

I am sure that the works of the Conference, and its research papers, discussions and comments throughout the two days will have a positive effect in developing a clear vision and a comprehensive strategy that describes the present and future dimensions of this important topic "The Challenges of Nation-Building in Arab Countries that have Recently Witnessed Change", and how to deal with it during the next stage.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

Since the end of 2010, the Middle East has seen significant shifts in the political, security, economic, societal and cultural structures of the Arab countries that have recently witnessed change. And from the beginning of that year, these countries have seen internal wars and conflicts resulted in the flux of millions of refugees and displaced people, internally and externally. Every Day, we hear the news that numbers of them are flowing to almost all countries of the world, by sea and land ports available to them; bringing with them the hope of a secure and stable life for themselves and their children. So, this is what makes us feel the importance and vitality of the theme of this conference on how to build post-conflict nations.

The concept of post-conflict "nation-building" means to build a lasting peace, and to lay its required foundations by taking an integrated and coordinated actions aimed at addressing the underlying causes of violence, whether they are political, legal, institutional, military, humanitarian, related to human rights, or any other environmental, and economic, social, cultural, and demographic causes.

Post-conflict peace building can be considered as a long-term strategy for conflict prevention. Because conflicts have different reasons, procedures and policies should be commensurate with the nature of the countries in the region that have witnessed great changes in order to achieve stability in the region, and not to allow return to the midst of conflicts and turmoil again. As confirmed by the UN reports in this area, there is no standard form of peace-building in post-conflict countries as each region features certain characteristics that are different from others.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

State-building after the end of the internal conflicts is subject to a set of guidelines and standards as follows:

  • To promote social stability by working on the return of refugees and displaced people to their homes.
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  • To work on restoring the State institutions' capacity to maintain public order and establish security.
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  • To strengthen the rule of law, and respect of human rights.
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  • To support the return of the legitimate political institutions of the state.
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  • To lay the required foundations for the launch of the development process, such as promoting economic growth, and re-creating markets, and sustainable development.
  • Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

    While considering this important subject, we should not forget to take advantage of the previous lessons and human experiences in order to build on. For example, the eastern part of the European continent experienced change in the early 1990s which required dealing with a series of concepts relating to the achievement international peace, in theoretically and practically, such as the imposition of, and keeping peace, ending conflicts, preventive diplomacy, and the rehabilitation of communities, and other concepts.

    Those previous experiences demonstrated the importance of cooperation of all local, regional and international parties for the success of nation-building plans in the wake of internal conflicts, which we look forward to happen in the case of Arab countries change that have recently witnessed change.

    Believing in its role in alleviating sufferings of refugees and displaced people in the Arab countries change that have recently witnessed change, and in order to be a part of the solution, not the problem, the United Arab Emirates, with other members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf states, has contributed in providing all various forms of assistance, financial, in-kind, medical and others, to those refugees and displaced people, whether in their own countries or abroad.

    Your Excellencies

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    We look forward to hear your views and contributions, and the discussions of the experts and professors participating in the conference; in order to conclude the best results and recommendations on this important topic.

    In conclusion, I welcome you again, wishing you success in the conference sessions and proceedings.

    Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.

 

Concluding Remarks, His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi
 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

At the end of our Conference – The Challenges of Nation-building in Arab Countries that have Recently Witnessed Change – I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to you, researchers, participants and interlocutors; for your outstanding efforts, for the research papers you have presented and the serious discussions you have taken part in over the two past days. These papers and discussions highlighted many dimensions of this issue, which is one of the top priorities to which we, in the United Arab Emirates, and the GCC, pay special attention.

I would also like to thank the School of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine for its sincere efforts through its constructive cooperation with us in organizing this important Conference. I especially thank the professors participating from the university, for their research papers and insightful opinion that demonstrate the various dimensions and problems of nation-building and how to apply them in some Arab countries that face post-conflict challenges. These papers were characterized by seriousness, creativity and innovation.

We look forward to continuing this constructive cooperation in times to come in order to address the strategic, economic and security issues of interest to the region and the whole world, and to apply these results in supporting the efforts aimed at achieving security, development and peace, regionally and internationally.

Dear Participants,

The important recommendations that you have bought to this Conference have a great deal of significance, and we will work to make them find their way to decision-makers, in order to be translated into practical policies on the ground; to achieve stability in the Arab region. These recommendations are the outcome of long experiences, profound views and multiple scientific insights targeted at reaching the best ways to deal with the challenges of nation-building in the wake of internal conflicts, and the challenges they raise at various levels.

May God guide your steps on the path of goodness,

Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

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