Qatar’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington to Address Youth Leadership Development Program

Dr. Hamad Al Muftah to Speak at Annual National University Model Arab League Forum

 

Students in the Youth Leadership Development Program / Model Arab League role-play as diplomats representing different Arab countries. As they analyze and address issues from a perspective different than their own, they dramatically improve their ability to think critically and empathetically.

Washington, D.C., U.S.A.: During the final weekend in March, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (“National Council” / “Council”) will host the Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of the State of Qatar. Dr. Hamad Al Muftah will address the Council’s forthcoming 38th Annual National Youth Leadership Development / Model Arab League Conference. He will make remarks to the Council’s student-led forum virtually as it convenes online at the National-level for the first time. The Embassy of the State of Qatar is the exclusive sponsor of the 2021 National Youth Leadership Development / Model Arab League Conference.

Background and Context

Each school year, the National Council convenes as many as 25 different Youth Leadership Development Program / Model Arab League conferences. The forums are held in more than 20 cities throughout the United States, reaching a large and diverse collection of future American and Arab leaders.

Since its establishment 38 years ago, the National Council’s Youth Leadership Development Program has produced over 50,000 alumni. Many of the former participants now serve as elected and appointed leaders, prominent diplomats, national security analysts, commanders in the United States and other countries’ armed forces, international media correspondents, international business executives, and a broad range of other roles and positions where they work to sustain and deepen the Arab-U.S. relationship.

Continue reading »

Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations Spring 2020 “NEWSLINES”

The Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations (CCUSAR), with Dr. Joe P. Dunn serving as Director, is an initiative of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Dr. Dunn is an alumni of the Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies Program, the coordinator of the Southeast Model Arab League, and the faculty advisor heading the Converse College Model Arab League program.

CCUSAR recently published its Spring 2020 “NEWSLINES” newsletter, available for download through the link below.

DOWNLOAD “CCUSAR NEWSLINES (Spring 2020)” [PDF]

Arabia to Asia: The Myths of an American “Pivot” and Whether or Not There’s a U.S. Strategy Toward the GCC Region

Download as PDF

That the foreign policies of various governments often appear to be confusing or contradictory is because they frequently are. During Barack Obama’s presidency, such inconsistency has seemed to characterize aspects of America’s relations with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The ambiguity and uncertainty that accompanies it is among the things that Obama has sought to dispel and clarify in the course successively of his March 2014 visit to Saudi Arabia, his May 2015 summit at Camp David with senior leaders of all six GCC countries, and his mid-April 2016 attendance at a similar meeting with leaders of the same countries. As this essay seeks to demonstrate, what he has had to contend with – and what others of late have had to contend with regarding aspects of his administration — in terms of background, context, and perspective has not been easy of resolution, amelioration, or even abatement.

Assumptions, Ambitions, and Abilities

Dating from before and since these high-level GCC-U.S. meetings, Washington has taken steps to strengthen and extend America’s overall position and influence in the GCC region. A principal means for doing so has been through the GCC-U.S. Strategic Dialogue.[1] But one example among several was when former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, came with approvals for billions of dollars in sales of U.S.-manufactured defense and security structures, systems, technology, and arms to GCC countries, together with long-term munitions and maintenance contracts.

President Barack Obama attends a U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2016. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

President Barack Obama attends a U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2016. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

Yet, simultaneously, signals from Washington and the mainstream U.S. media before and since Obama’s meetings with his GCC counterparts have not always been as clear as the signalers thought would or should be the case. That said, what specialists have had no doubt about for some time is that the Obama administration is recalibrating the strategic focus of its international priorities in hopes of being able to accomplish two objectives at the same time. One objective has been, and continues to be, a steadfast resolve to remain committed to the security, stability, and prospects for prosperity in the GCC region. The other has been and remains a parallel determination to emphasize the Asia-Pacific regions.

Affecting the need for such a recalibration have been major U.S. budget reductions and their impact on strategic concepts, forces, and operational dynamics. At issue and under examination in this regard, according to the Secretary of Defense in advance of the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), are, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, America’s assumptions, ambitions, and abilities.

Understandably, the GCC region’s reaction to these trends and indications was and continues to be mixed.

Continue reading »

Stars of the National Council’s Model Arab League Head to Qatar

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO, and U.S.-GCC Corporate Cooperation Committee Founder, Board Member, and Secretary Dr. John Duke Anthony, presently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to attend the annual GCC summit, spent the past ten days in Doha, Qatar. He did so as leader of a delegation participating in a cultural study visit sponsored by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The National Council’s Model Arab League delegation takes in a sunset along the corniche in Doha.

The visit was a reward for a delegation of five American faculty advisers and ten U.S. university and armed forces institutions students. The participants were Outstanding Award Winners in the National Council’s Model Arab League Program (MAL), which began in the early 1980s and presently has 38,000 alumni.

The Models are conducted for some 2,500 university and secondary school participants 20 times a year at a nearly equal number of U.S. universities. The Council has also helped to establish Model Arab League Programs conducted yearly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with Bahrain and Oman in the process of establishing their first-ever programs this year and Qatar’s Gulf Studies Program (see below) intending to organize the first-ever MAL devoted exclusively to the six GCC member countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

During their time in Qatar, the delegation members visited and had briefings at the Qatar Foundation, the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Human Rights Committee, Al Jazeera, Katara Cultural Village, the Qatar National Museum, and various branch campuses of blue-ribbon American universities. They also spent an evening with a Qatari family at their farm and sailed on an Arab dhow – a traditional “sundowner” experience, with Doha’s glittering skyline of modernist buildings as the backdrop for photography.

Continue reading »

Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations Spring 2015 “NEWSLINES”

2015-newslines-200x257The Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations (CCUSAR), with Dr. Joe P. Dunn serving as Director, is an initiative of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Dr. Dunn is an alumni of the Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies Program, the coordinator of the Southeast Model Arab League, and the faculty advisor heading the Converse College Model Arab League program. CCUSAR recently published its Spring 2015 “NEWSLINES” newsletter featuring:

The full issue of CCUSAR’s Spring 2015 NEWSLINES is available for download through the link immediate below.

DOWNLOAD “CCUSAR NEWSLINES (Spring 2015)” (.pdf file)

The GCC-U.S. Summit: An Opportunity for Strategic Reassurance?

Download as PDF

An unprecedented and extraordinary event is about to occur: a heads of state summit. These, by any standard, can be and often are extraordinary events. That’s what this one is. It is so because it gathers in the capital of the United States President Barack Obama with the representatives of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The two-day summit is set for May 13-14, 2015.

GCC leaders are scheduled to meet with the president in Washington on day one and on day two gather with him in the more capacious and secluded confines of Camp David. The latter venue is a longtime private presidential meeting place in the Maryland foothills, which is conducive to wide-ranging and deeply probing discussions on matters of common, timely, and varying degrees of urgent interest to the president, his advisers, his guests, and their advisers. The focus of this essay is the issues, challenges, and opportunities that will focus the principals’ attention while there.

The Summit’s Participants in Context

That the summit is occurring at this time is no mere coincidence. In terms of the GCC-U.S. relationship, it brings to the forefront the chief representative of the world’s most militarily, economically, and technologically advanced nation. Joining him will be the leaders of six neighboring Arab Gulf countries from what is arguably the world’s most strategically vital region that are little known and even less well understood by the American people as a whole.

What needs to be better comprehended by the American public regarding these countries are the roots and nature of their multifaceted strategic importance not just to their peoples and immediate region, but also the United States and the world in general. To begin with, the six GCC countries possess thirty per cent of the planet’s proven reserves of oil, the vital strategic commodity that drives the world’s economies. Collectively, they are also the holders of the developing world’s largest reservoir of financial assets, as measured in the trillions of dollars.

Crude Oil 2014 Proved Reserves.

In addition, the GCC countries have no rivals in their combined positive impact on the American aerospace and defense industries. In the past half-decade, their purchases of U.S.-manufactured defense and security structures, systems, technology, weaponry, ammunition, training, maintenance, and operational assistance have massively impacted and continue to impact the American economy.

The dynamism and mutuality of benefits in the U.S.-GCC relationship are envied by virtually every country that wishes it could accomplish anything remotely similar.

The purchases of American export goods and services by these countries have provided jobs essential to the material wellbeing of millions of Americans. They have extended production lines of products that would otherwise no longer be available. As a consequence, they have lowered the cost per unit of many American manufactured goods. In so doing, they have thereby enhanced the competitiveness of this component of the American economy to a degree envied by virtually every government or corporation in other countries that would wish they could accomplish anything remotely similar.

Continue reading »