|GCC 30th anniversary celebrated|
First-ever forum addresses past achievements and future prospects
Inauguration keynote address by GCC Assistant Secretary General
On November 22-23 at QU, the first-ever forum in the region was held to commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The 2-day scientific and academic conference was organized by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in collaboration with the Department of International Affairs (DIA) and the Gulf Studies Program under the theme “The GCC at 30: Past Achievements and Future Prospects”.
Its goal was to bring together regional academic and experts to dialogue on the alliance’s gains and challenges, its growing international role, and the way forward, conference organizers said, adding that the forum also served to showcase QU’s newly-established Gulf Studies Master’s program. It was also designed to engage DIA students on the GCC’s political, economic and social progress and development.
The significance of the event was underlined by the inauguration keynote address by GCC Assistant Secretary General H.E. Dr Abdalla Bin Oqlah Al-Hashem on behalf of GCC Secretary General H.E. Dr Abd Al Lateef Al Ziyani .
The conference drew participants from Qatar University, UAE University, Bahrain University, Oman State Council, Kuwait National Assembly, GCC Secretariat, , Kuwait Energy Company, Al Jazeera, Gulf Research Center, Carnegie Mellon University Qatar, Georgetown University Qatar, University of Venice, Johns Hopkins University and the National University of Singapore, as well as representatives from academia, media, government and industry in Qatar, members of QU leadership, DIA students and faculty. Representatives from the embassies of UK, Japan and Singapore also attended.
In her welcoming remarks, QU President Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad said: “We are honored to hold this auspicious event that celebrates the Council’s role of leadership in the region. We are at the threshold of a new era. The region has seen over the past few years unprecedented economic growth and social development as well as recent events that impacted on the region and the Arab world, positively and negatively. The presence of Dr Al-Hashem underlines the importance of this forum to engage such dialogue and reflects QU’s position as an institution committed to contributing to the developments taking place in the region, as evidenced by our new Gulf Studies Program”.
Prof Al-Misnad urged the students to interact with the experts and academics present to express their views and opinions and gain further knowledge about the alliance, its role in the region and in the international region, with the aim to forming a better understanding of developments and changes in the Gulf.
H. E. Al-Hashem said: “I am honored to be here to participate in this dialogue about the Council’s importance on a regional level as well as in the wider Arab perspective. Many events have occurred over the 30 years we have been in existence and while the process of effecting change may appear to be slow, it is important to know that strategic issues need patience. We stand firm in participating in the dialogue on the region’s challenges and prospects and we hope to learn much from this forum and the recommendations generating from it”. Dr Al-Hashem also sent congratulatory messages to the government and people of Oman on the celebration of its 41st anniversary of independence and to the UAE on its 40th anniversary.
The conference agenda comprised five panel discussions on the GCC, its achievements and challenges; regional integration issues; social transformation; security challenges; and education, media and culture. Discussion topics included “Constitutional and Institutional Foundation of the GCC”, “Gulf Women: Challenges of Public Participation”, “From the Customs Union to the Common Market”, “Regional Challenges: Yemen, Iraq and Iran”, and “The role of Gulf media institutions”. A Roundtable also engaged dialogue on the alliance’s present challenges and future prospects.
Commenting on the conference, CAS Dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi said: “We are proud of being the first institution celebrating and organizing a conference on the anniversary of the GCC. The themes around which the papers were selected are comprehensive and include pressing issues related to the GCC countries and to the GCC as an organization. One of aims of this conference is to engage students in public issues as they are very much relevant to their lives as citizens of the GCC. It is important to note that all of the topics that were presented in the conference are one way or another incorporated into our newly-established Gulf Studies program”.
DIA Head Dr Steven Wright said: “This conference underlines Qatar University’s commitment to gulf studies and its emergence as the leading educational institution in the Arabian Gulf which specializes in this important field of study. We are fortunate to have the participation of an exceptional number of experts in Gulf Studies and the range of topics discussed proved truly fascinating”.