Please join TRENDS Research and Advisory and the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative for a two-day conference on “Middle East Security in a Changing World: Building a Sustainable Regional Security System.” This event will take place from Tuesday, November 2 through Wednesday, November 3, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. ET, both in person at the Atlantic Council Headquarters (at restricted capacity) and online. To request to attend in person, please email Joze Pelayo ([email protected]). 

The Middle East is witnessing rapid changes with major repercussions for regional security and stability. Some of these changes originate from within the region, while others are related to broader shifts across the world, such as the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging technologies. In recent years, the region has seen relative improvements in its security and development environment. The decline of civil conflicts after the Arab Spring era, the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the signing of the Abrahamic Peace Agreement have brought new opportunities for regional peace and stability. However, there remain several challenges to achieving sustainable regional security. Fast-paced technological transformations, obstacles to development, and the different approaches of regional and international powers will have considerable impact on the future of security in the Middle East.

Within this context, the conference will address six topics over two days. The first topic, “Redefining Middle East Security in an Era of Transition: A 20-Year Vision,” will address the main threats likely to affect the region over the next two decades. It will cover the links between prospects for collective security governance, state failure, extremist ideologies, regional economic cooperation, energy, and climate change.

The second topic, “Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism in the Middle East and Beyond,” will deal with the persistent threat posed by sub-state groups and transnational ideologies that seek to undermine the current regional and state system. It will also discuss efforts to fight terrorism and extremism in the Middle East, key governance challenges confronting the region, the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban, and existing and potential inter-state cooperation on the issue of combating violent extremism.

The third topic, “The Future of Middle East Security: International Priorities,” will discuss shifting global politics and its impact on regional security dynamics, focusing on US, Chinese, Russian, and European responses.

The fourth, “The GCC Perspective on Building a Sustainable Regional Security Order,” will discuss shifting global politics and its impact on regional security dynamics, focusing on regional and local responses.

The fifth topic, “New Diplomatic Initiatives in the Region: The Quest for Stable Alliances,” will focus on recent regional diplomatic initiatives, including taking stock of the Abraham Accords one year since their signing, as well as the trajectories for peace and security in the ever-evolving geopolitical context of the region.

The sixth topic, “Beyond regional Security: New Perspectives and Future Visions for Human Security,” will examine some emerging themes and trends that may shape future regional security. The intent is to discuss new and original perspectives to further inform policy recommendations for policymakers in the United States and the Gulf states.

In partnership with

TRENDS Research and Advisory

Agenda

DAY 1 – November 2, 2021

10:00 a.m. ET

WELCOMING REMARKS

Tom Warrick
Director, Future of DHS Project and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Middle East Programs
Atlantic Council
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Policy
US Department of Homeland Security

10:10 a.m. ET

OPENING REMARKS

His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Turki Al Faisal
Founder and Trustee
King Faisal Foundation
Chairman
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies

KEYNOTE REMARKS

Joey Hood
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
US Department of State

10:20 a.m.
10:35 a.m. ET

REDEFINING MIDDLE EAST SECURITY IN AN ERA OF TRANSITION: A 20-YEAR VISION

Tom Warrick
Director, Future of DHS Project and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Middle East Programs
Atlantic Council
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Policy
US Department of Homeland Security

Omar Al-Ubaydli

Director of Studies and Research and Director of Economics and Energy Studies
Bahrain Center for Strategic, International, and Energy Studies (DIRASAT)

Aisha Al Sarihi

Research Associate
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

Hesham Al Ghannam
Senior Advisor and Program Director of the International Studies Program
Gulf Research Center Cambridge

Chair
Stephen Blackwell
Scientific Advisor and Director, Strategic Studies
TRENDS Research & Advisory

BREAK

11:30 a.m. ET
1:00 p.m. ET

COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND BEYOND

Anne Speckhard
Director
International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism

Patrice Brodeur
Associate Professor, Institut d`études religieuses
Université de Montréal

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasemi

Executive Director
Hedayah

Louis Audet Gosselin
Scientific and Strategic Director
The Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV)

Chair
Lorenzo Vidino
Director, Program on Extremism
George Washington University

BREAK

2:10 p.m. ET
2:15 p.m. ET

THE FUTURE OF MIDDLE EAST SECURITY: INTERNATIONAL PRIORITIES

Anthony H. Cordesman
Emeritus Chair in Strategy
CSIS

Anna Borshchevskaya
Senior Fellow
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Wen Wang
Executive Dean
Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (Beijing, China)

Chair
Nath Aldalala’a
Main Researcher
TRENDS Research & Advisory

END OF PROGRAM

3:15 p.m. ET

DAY 2 – November 3, 2021

10:00 a.m. ET

WELCOMING REMARKS

Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali
CEO and Founder
TRENDS Research & Advisory

10:10 a.m. ET

THE GCC PERSPECTIVE ON BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE REGIONAL SECURITY ORDER

Briefing remarks
Abdullah bin Khaled Al Saud
Assistant Director of Policy Planning
Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Saudi Arabia

Panelists
Mohammed Al Sulami
Founder and Chairman
Rasanah: International Institute for Iranian Studies

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Fozzie Miller

President and CEO
The Fozzie Miller Group, LLC
Former Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces
United States Navy

Fahed Al Shelaimi
President
Gulf Forum for Peace and Security

Chair

Nadia Bilbassy-Charters
Washington DC Bureau Chief
Al Arabiya News Channel

THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS: IMPACT ON REGIONAL DIPLOMACY

In a short conversation with
H.E. Yousef Al-Otaiba
Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the US

Amb. (Ret) Marc Sievers
Director
American Jewish Committee in the Gulf

11:20 a.m. ET
11:35 a.m. ET

NEW DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES IN THE REGION: THE QUEST FOR STABLE ALLIANCES

An update on Israel’s relationship with countries of the Abraham Accords
Professor Uzi Rabi
Director, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Tel Aviv University

The Arabian Gulf perspective (Bahrain and UAE) on the Abraham Accords
Ahdeya Ahmed
Former President
Bahrain Journalists Association

Israel-GCC technical and economic cooperation
Shira Efron
Senior Research Fellow
Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
Special Advisor on Israel
RAND Corporation

The Abraham Accords as a regional security mechanism
Mohammed Baharoon
Director
Dubai Public Policy Research Center (B’huth)

Chair
Carmiel Arbit
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Middle East Programs
Atlantic Council

BREAK

12:35 p.m. ET
2:10 p.m. ET

BEYOND REGIONAL SECURITY: NEW PERSPECTIVES AND FUTURE VISIONS FOR HUMAN SECURITY

Building a global immune system
David A. Bray
Leading Global Data & Tech Ventures and C-Suite Executive
Singularity Group
Distinguished Fellow
Atlantic Council

New technologies and the future of warfare and counter-insurgency
Evanna Hu
CEO and Partner
Omelas
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
Atlantic Council

Development challenges and demographic changes
Abla Abdel-Latif
Executive Director and Director of Research
Egyptian Center for Economic Studies

Extremist groups and the future of communications
Jennifer Counter
Vice President
Orbis Operations
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security‘s Forward Defense practice
Atlantic Council

Chair
Ibrahim Bakri
Assistant Director, Middle East Center
University of Pennsylvania

CLOSING REMARKS

3:10 p.m. ET
3:15 p.m. ET

END OF PROGRAM

MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES

Sumaya Al Hadhrami
Head of Conference Department
TRENDS Research & Advisory

Sign up for all the latest updates!

Sign up for the MENASource newsletter, highlighting pieces that follow democratic transitions and economic changes throughout the region.



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.