Middle East Institute Hosts PMBF’s Al Maeena

Khaled Al Maeena, Senior Non-Resident Fellow for Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research & Studies

Veteran Saudi journalist and foreign policy analyst Khaled Al Maeena, Senior Nonresident Fellow for Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research & Studies, was the featured speaker at an event hosted by the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on August 15. The PMBF Program and NAAM Association cosponsored the event which focused on Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and implementation of the 2030 national development.

There has been considerable discussion over the past year about Saudi Arabia’s ongoing economic and social reforms, which have been championed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Al Maeena stressed that the changes taking place were absolutely necessary for the Kingdom’s survival. In fact, the Kingdom’s over-reliance on oil, inability to create enough jobs or provide opportunities for the large youth population, and unwillingness to address women’s issues was a growing liability. Thus, the 2030 era of reforms were badly needed and have been very popular with the Saudi public.

Al Maeena also discussed Riyad’s foreign policy, including relations with the Gulf, the broader Middle East, and Washington. He answered difficult questions about a number of serious foreign policy challenges, including the ongoing war in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the recent diplomatic spat with Canada, as well as Iran, Iraq, and Syria. He noted that Riyadh has had to adopt a new, assertive leadership role in the evolving region to meet a growing number of threats. Ultimately, the Kingdom hopes to work with Washington to foment regional stability and order.

The event, “2030 Saudi Arabia: A Conversation with Khaled Al Maeena,” was moderated by Ambassador (retired) Gerald Feierstein, Director of Government Relations, Policy, and Programs and the Middle East Institute (MEI). Guests included Washington-based foreign policy experts, scholars, and members of the press. MEI is a partnering with UCF’s PMBF Program on a project looking at the future of the Middle East through key regional relationships.

“It is important that Saudi voices are heard by those working on policy at the highest levels in Washington. Khaled Al Maeena is a respected, independent voice on Saudi Arabian domestic and foreign policy matters. We are pleased to keep working with MEI to promote understanding of the Kingdom,” stated PMBF Director David Dumke.

The Washington event was also cosponsored by NAAM Association, a non-government organization devoted to cultural dialog which is headed largely by Saudi civic and business leaders. NAAM often partners with other non-government organizations, including the UCF PMBF Program, to accomplish dialog and social development goals.

UCF and its partner, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, will be hosting a conference on Saudi youth, the 2030 plan, and US-Saudi relations in Orlando January 17-18, 2019. For more information on the conference, please go to: https://sciences.ucf.edu/news/ucf-pmu-to-sponsor-conference-on-saudi-arabia/.

For additional information about the PMBF Program, please contact Kinda Haddad at kinda.haddad@ucf.edu, or by calling (407) 823-2510.


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