Security and Securitization in the Middle East and North Africa

Speakers

Aisha Al-Sarihi

Research Fellow

National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute

Victoria Araj

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Public History, Lincoln International Business School

University of Lincoln

Omar Ashour

Associate Professor of Security Studies

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies

Yara M. Asi

Non-resident Fellow

Arab Center Washington DC

Jessica Barnes

Associate Professor, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

University of South Carolina

Marina Calculli

University Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities

University of Leiden

Abdelwahab El-Affendi

Provost and Acting President

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies

Marc Owen Jones

Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies

Hamad bin Khalifa University

Mehran Kamrava

Professor of Government

Georgetown University in Qatar

Banafsheh Keynoush

Fellow

International Institute for Iranian Studies

Tamara Kharroub

Deputy Executive Director & Senior Fellow

Arab Center Washington DC

Bessma Momani

Professor of Political Science

University of Waterloo

Pete Moore

M.A. Hanna Associate Professor of Politics, Department of Political Science

Case Western Reserve University

Yousef Munayyer

Non-resident Senior Fellow

Arab Center Washington DC

Nancy Okail

President and CEO

Center for International Policy

Kenneth Roth

Former Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

About the Seventh Annual Conference

Autocratic leaders in the MENA region have been investing heavily in regime survival and stability post-Arab Spring, strengthening security and military institutions at the expense of economic and social development. They have also worked to establish regional and global alliances that rely more on military cooperation than on diplomacy, and that emphasize regime security while simultaneously neglecting the importance of defending human rights, prioritizing democratic governance, and seeking just and long-term solutions to festering conflicts. Meanwhile, significant shifts in the region’s geopolitical environment are impacting such issues as the regional approach to Iran, US-Gulf relations, the rehabilitation of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Turkey’s regional role, Arab normalization with Israel, and an increasingly common Arab turn toward Asia and toward developing closer relations with Russia and China.

At the same time, the Biden Administration appears to be both reviving and reinforcing the long tradition in American foreign policy of advocating a narrow and short-term focus on securitization and stability at the expense of human rights and democracy, despite President Biden’s rhetorical stance regarding “US values” and the importance of holding autocratic regimes accountable. The president’s July 2022 visit to the Middle East, which was primarily dedicated to building military and security alliances in the region and to propping up authoritarian states and regimes, is an excellent case in point. While the US and its authoritarian Arab allies continue to develop and strengthen their security stances, citizens of the Middle East and North Africa are increasingly experiencing greater insecurity in terms of economic conditions, food security, access to clean water, healthcare, adequate shelter, digital rights, harmful effects of climate change, and both personal and collective safety.

Arab Center Washington DC is dedicating its seventh annual conference to the issue of securitization in the Middle East and North Africa, the growth of which has led to greater economic and social insecurity for the vast majority of the region’s population. This conference will also assess the impact and implications of shifting global and regional security alliances and will provide recommendations for US policy going forward.


Conference Agenda

Day 1: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

09:00 AM – 09:30 AM
Keynote I

Kenneth Roth
Former Executive Director, Human Rights Watch


09:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Session I: Regional Security Concerns and Shifting Global and Regional Alliances

Omar Ashour
Associate Professor of Security Studies, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies; Founding Director of the Critical Security Studies Graduate Program (MCSS) and Director of the Strategic Studies Unit, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies

Marina Calculli
University Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University

Banafsheh Keynoush
International Geopolitical Consultant, Scholar, and Author; Nonresident Scholar, Middle East Institute; Fellow, International Institute for Iranian Studies

Yousef Munayyer
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Arab Center Washington DC

Mehran Kamrava – Moderator
Head of the Iranian Studies Unit, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies; Professor of Government, Georgetown University Qatar


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Session II: Prioritizing Security, Undermining Human Rights

Abdelwahab El-Affandi
Provost and Acting President, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies

Pete Moore
M.A. Hanna Associate Professor of Politics, Department of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University

Nancy Okail
President and CEO, Center for International Policy

Additional speakers to be announced


Day 2: Thursday, October 13, 2022

09:00 AM – 09:30 AM
Keynote II
Keynote speaker to be announced


09:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Session III: Tackling Escalating Threats: Climate Change, the Future of Energy, and Cybersecurity

Aisha Al-Sarihi
Research Fellow, National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute

Marc Owen Jones
Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies, Hamad bin Khalifa University

Tamara Kharroub – Moderator
Deputy Executive Director and Senior Fellow, Arab Center Washington DC

Additional speakers to be announced


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Session IV: The Future of Human Security: Responding to Economic Crises, Violence, Health Emergencies, and Food Insecurity

Victoria Araj
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Public History, Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln

Yara M. Asi
Assistant Professor in the School of Global Health Management and Informatics, University of Central Florida; Nonresident Fellow, Arab Center Washington DC

Jessica Barnes
Associate Professor, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina

Bessma Momani
Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Additional speakers to be announced

Date

Wednesday October 12, 2022

Time

09:00 AM - 12:30 PM ET