Summer 2015 Intensive Language Program at The Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, in collaboration with The Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM) for the summer of 2015, is pleased to announce its Summer Language Program in the Kingdom of Morocco. Students will spend six weeks in historic Meknes, Morocco taking part in intensive Arabic language instruction. Students at all levels of Arabic proficiency are encouraged to apply.

Students will spend four (4) hours each weekday in formal Modern Standard Arabic classes, as well as complete out-of-the-classroom assignments. The AALIM center is host to a community of Arabic learners throughout the summer, providing for a fully immersive program. Students may choose to take an additional three (3) hours of Moroccan darija dialect classes.

Those selected will also gain direct personal experience in Moroccan culture, history, and society through a variety of day excursions, local outings, workshops and demonstrations. Meknes is an ideal setting for students to focus on learning Arabic while exploring ancient and modern Morocco. The main AALIM center is located inside the traditional walled old city, called the Medina, an area which features heavily in the Western popular imagination of Morocco. Meknes is also a thriving modern metropolis of over one million residents. The AALIM center is just a short walk from the bustling town center in the New City.

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2014-15 Model Arab League Study Visit to Saudi Arabia Pictures

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations led a delegation of ten students and five university faculty members, all selected from the Council’s Model Arab League program, on a study visit to Saudi Arabia from December 28, 2014 – January 7, 2015. The goal of the visit was to provide an empirical educational introduction to the kingdom’s culture and society for a select group of American students and faculty members who have performed exceptionally well in the Model Arab League program. During the course of their visit, the delegation met Saudi Arabian educators, business representatives, civil society leaders, and American diplomats in addition to visiting numerous sites of cultural, developmental, and historical interest.

Some pictures from the study visit are available below.

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NCUSAR Signs Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Gulf Research Center

NATIONAL COUNCIL SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH GULF RESEARCH CENTER 

Organizations to Collaborate on Programs, Publications, and Activities Analyzing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the GCC’s Six Member-Countries, Arabia and the Gulf as a Whole, and U.S. Relations with the Region

Washington, DC, USA & Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: The Washington, DC-based National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (National Council) recently executed a Memorandum of Understanding for future strategic cooperation on matters of mutual interest with the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based Gulf Research Center (GRC), which has consistently been ranked among the Top Think Tanks in the Middle East and North Africa by the University of Pennsylvania. The National Council and GRC agreed to coordinate efforts to promote understanding of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its member countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), regional and international issues affecting the broader Gulf and Arabian Peninsula regions, and the multifaceted and mutually beneficial U.S.-Gulf relationship. Through research projects, educational programs, events, and activities the organizations will seek to assist the reciprocal processes of knowledge acquisition between the GCC countries and the global community. Under the Memorandum of Understanding each party will maintain its independent status.

Gulf Research Center Founder and Chairman Dr. Abdulaziz Sager met with a National Council delegation in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 3, 2015.

Gulf Research Center Founder and Chairman Dr. Abdulaziz Sager met with a National Council delegation in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 3, 2015. The delegation was comprised of outstanding students and faculty advisors from the Council’s Model Arab League student leadership development program, and led by Council Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony, board member John Pratt, and staff members Laura Tucker and Kaylee Boalt.

GRC Founder and Chairman Dr. Abdulaziz Sager said that, “this collaboration will facilitate the expansion of the GRC’s work in the United States and around the world. It will assist our researchers and analysts in their understanding of how the global community responds to the Gulf. It will also enable us to increase the number of events and programs we administer jointly. Dr. John Duke Anthony and the National Council have a long history of research, publications, and education regarding the GCC, its member-countries, the Arabian Peninsula as a whole, and the Gulf and Arab world more broadly. As such, the Council will be an ideal collaborator for advancing our key objective — ‘Knowledge for All.’ We look forward to a fruitful and productive relationship.” 

National Council Founding President and CEO Dr. Anthony noted that the agreement, “formalizes a process of cooperation between our two organizations that has existed informally for quite some time. Working with the GRC strengthens the Council’s multifaceted efforts to build as many new U.S.-Arab bridges and strengthen as many existing ones as possible. The GRC is recognized globally as one of the Arab world’s foremost private research and educational organizations devoted to increasing knowledge and understanding of the GCC region, the GCC itself, and the six GCC member-countries’ domestic and external issues, challenges, and opportunities. The collaboration will enhance the Council’s educational efforts regarding this internationally vital region.” 

About the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations: Founded in 1983 and based in Washington, DC, the National Council is an American non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. Information about the Council’s program, projects, events, and activities can be found at ncusar.org. 

About the Gulf Research Center: Founded in 2000, and based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with regional offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Cambridge, United Kingdom, the Gulf Research Center is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization focused on the production and dissemination of objective and scholarly research about the GCC area as well as Iran, Iraq, and Yemen. Information about the Center’s publications, workshops, seminars, and conferences is available at grc.net.

Gulf Research Center National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

 

Gulf Research Center Publishes Reports on Saudi Arabia Business Sectors

Gulf Research Center

The Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based Gulf Research Center has consistently been ranked among the Top Think Tanks in the Middle East and North Africa by the University of Pennsylvania.

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations is pleased to announce the availability of six important Gulf Research Center (GRC) reports on key business sectors in Saudi Arabia. The reports study the kingdom’s economic growth with a view to exploring the country’s future development trajectory. Each report outlines a different sector’s current environment and principal indicators. Also analyzed are the sectors’ challenges and regulatory issues together with emerging themes likely to impact future development potential and investment opportunities.

Below is a link to each of the six reports, which are available to purchase from the GRC. Additional publications from the GRC, many of which are free to download, can be found at: http://grc.net/index.php?sec=Publications.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Water Sector Report

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Water Sector Report

Abstract: Saudi Arabia lies in the arid, semi-arid region of the Arabian Peninsula and is the largest country in the world without rivers. Despite unfavorable climatic conditions and scarcity of natural water resources, it has succeeded in meeting most of the water requirements of its rapidly growing population so far. Water consumption in the Kingdom increased at a CAGR of 2.6% from 1970 and reached 17,903 million cubic meters (mcm) in 2010 or about 653 m3 per capita, about 35% higher than the global average. The rise in water consumption was led by a nearly five time increase in population during the same period (1970–2010), higher urbanization levels, which increased from about 50% to over 80%, and increased industrialization.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Real Estate Sector Report

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Real Estate Sector Report

Abstract: Real estate is one of the key non-oil sectors of the economy of Saudi Arabia and will play an important role in the success of the economic diversification planned by the Kingdom. The real estate sector will continue to grow in the future led by growing population, rising personal incomes, increasing participation of multinational companies in the country, government initiatives, and increased private participation.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Industry Sector Report

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Industry Sector Report

Abstract: In the past few years, most of the industrial growth in Saudi Arabia has been led by the construction and cement, metals and mining, and petrochemicals and refineries sub sectors, among others. The government’s plan for economic diversification, including investments in large infrastructure projects such as the six economic cities, is one of the key drivers of growth in the industry sector. Saudi Arabia has a large local population base which is growing at over 2% per annum, which will also drive the demand for better infrastructure including housing.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Healthcare Sector Report

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Healthcare Sector Report

Abstract: Saudi Arabia’s healthcare sector has come a long way since the establishment of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the 1950s. The years that followed saw Saudi Arabia emerging as a key player in the global economy, following the success of its oil industry, which enabled investments to build a local healthcare system. Five-year plans, better healthcare infrastructure, and recruitment of expats as doctors and nurses led to a multifold increase in the quality of services provided by the healthcare sector.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Energy Sector Report

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Energy Sector Report

Abstract: The oil and gas industry is the backbone of the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributing about 75% to budget revenues, 45% to GDP, and 90% to exports. Saudi Arabia has the second largest oil reserves, largest oil production, and the fifth largest natural gas reserves in the world. Over 72% of the oil produced in the Kingdom is exported. Indeed, the economy of Saudi Arabia is dependent on these non-renewable sources of energy, with a high correlation between Saudi Arabia’s GDP and oil prices.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Foreign Trade and FDI Report

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Foreign Trade and FDI Report

Abstract: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranked 22nd in the ‘Ease of Doing Business Rankings’ in 2013. This is a significant improvement compared to its ranks (above 100) a few years ago. This change has been led by increasing government initiatives, which are enabling a friendly investment environment that encourages participation from foreign and local investors. Indeed, Saudi Arabia received the highest FDI inflows in the GCC region in 2012.

2014 Model Arab League Study Visit to Qatar Pictures

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations led a delegation of ten students and five university faculty members, all selected from the Council’s Model Arab League program, on a study visit to Qatar from November 28 – December 5, 2014. The visit provided the American students and faculty members an opportunity to explore the dynamics of some of the major economic, political, and social determinants of Qatar’s culture as well as the country’s modernization and development.

Some pictures from the study visit are available below.

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The ISIS Challenge and HRH Prince Khaled bin Bandar’s Visit to Washington: The Issues, The Implications

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Prince Khaled bin Bandar greets President Barack Obama upon his arrival in Riyadh in March 2014.

Prince Khaled bin Bandar greets President Barack Obama upon his arrival in Riyadh in March 2014. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

Strategic Saudi Arabian-U.S. cooperation continues. Another prominent Saudi Arabian leader – Chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency HRH Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud – visits Washington, DC this week. Coming after recent visits by Saudi Arabian Minister of the Interior, HRH Prince Mohammad bin Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, and Minister of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, HRH Prince Mit`eb bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Prince Khaled’s visit will most likely continue discussions on joint efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Four months after the formation of the U.S.-led international coalition to degrade and defeat ISIS, Prince Khaled will review past accomplishments, study lessons learned, and coordinate future steps to combat what has become a serious threat to peace and security in the Arab East.

Ameliorating the ISIS Challenge

Since its June 2014 conquest of northern Iraq with a then-ragtag army, ISIS has become the foremost security and strategic challenge to the nation-state order in the Levant and Arabian Gulf. A now-much-better-equipped and -armed military force occupying large swaths of Syria and Iraq, it possesses a contiguous base of operations that threatens all adjacent countries. The bearer of a messianic vision to re-establish what it considers a virtuous state – a “Caliphate” – that harkens back to the first few decades of the pax Islamica in the Arabian Peninsula more than fourteen centuries ago, ISIS and its close and distant adherents alike sadly represent a hope, albeit false, to disenfranchised, alienated, or simply misguided Sunni Muslims everywhere.

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NCUSAR’s Summer 2015 Washington, DC Internship Program – Applications Due February 27

Special Opportunity for Students:

The National Council Fellowships:
Washington, DC Summer Internship Program

May 25 – July 31, 2015

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ Washington, DC Summer Internship Program offers undergraduate and graduate students a ten-week professional, academic, and career opportunity internship in the nation’s capital. The program features a demanding mix of professional involvement, intellectual challenge, career exploration, and cultural encounters designed to provide interns with a rich and varied experience during their time in Washington.

  • Professional workplace experience: Interns are placed with one of over a dozen Near East and Arab world-related organizations in Washington, D.C., where they are expected to work 35-40 hours/week under the direct supervision of their host organizations.
  • Academic seminars: Interns take part in twice-weekly seminar sessions designed to provide them with greater depth of knowledge about the Arab world, to underscore the cultural, economic, and political diversity of Arab states, and to explore the intricacies of Arab-U.S. relations. There will be a particular emphasis, though not exclusively, on Arabia and the Gulf.
  • Site visits: Interns receive a behind-the-scenes look at many of the central institutions of federal government, national security policymaking, international diplomacy, and international business.

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Gulf Cooperation Council Establishes Unprecedented Joint Military Command

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Leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE meet for the Gulf Cooperation Council's 35th Ministerial and Heads of State Summit in Doha, Qatar.

Leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE meet for the Gulf Cooperation Council’s 35th Ministerial and Heads of State Summit in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Qatar News Agency.

In a significant development at the 35th Ministerial and Heads of State Summit in Doha, Qatar, all six Gulf Cooperation Council member-states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) agreed to the establishment of a unified armed forces command. This major breakthrough is not to be confused with the quite different Dir Al-Jazeerah (Peninsula Shield). That force, based at Hafr Al-Batin in northern Saudi Arabia and established in 1984 during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, is the one that dispatched several of the member-states’ defense units to Bahrain in 2011.

The new joint military command will, prudently, be based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The kingdom, beyond being the only GCC country with strategic geographic depth other than Oman, has the largest economy and armed forces as well as a populous citizenry numerically greater than all the citizens of the other five member-states combined. It is also the site of the GCC’s General Secretariat, the largest and oldest of the pan-GCC think tanks dedicated to precisely the kinds of greater cooperation that the member-states seek to achieve, sustain, and protect. 

Dir Al-Jazeerah in Context

Dir Al-Jazeerah presently consists of 4,000 land-based forces. All six countries, including those of Oman and Qatar – which over extended periods earlier had reservations regarding the force’s capabilities, readiness, overall effectiveness, and utility – are represented in the force.

Critics have frequently pointed out that the force lacks credibility. That is, one ought not to expect it to be able to protect against an invading force that is battle-hardened and better equipped, or of any significantly larger size. To view it from that prism, though, is a recipe for misunderstanding. The force’s real position and role can be likened to a neighborhood fire brigade – a metaphor, so to speak, for the kind of assistance it rendered Bahrain. It is also much more than that. Symbolically, strategically, and geopolitically it serves as an important linkage for all six countries not only to one another, but also to their friends, allies, and strategic partners further afield.

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