Please join Gulf International Forum in this timely virtual panel discussion “Between Mediators and Stakeholders: Gulf States’ Role in the Israel-Gaza Crisis” on October 26, 2023 at 12:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time.
Featured speakers: Ambassador Patrick Theros, Dr. Randa Slim, Dr. Aziz Alghashian, Dr. David Pollock and Khalil Shahshan.
Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros
Strategic Advisor and Senior Fellow, Gulf International Forum
Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros is Strategic Advisor and Senior Fellow at Gulf International Forum. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar from 1995-1998. Prior to his appointment, he served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. From 1991-1993, Ambassador Theros served as the Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of Central Command (CENTCOM).
Ambassador Theros joined the Foreign Service in 1963, and served in a variety of positions in Washington D.C., Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Syria, including charge d’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassies in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
In 1999, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al-Thani awarded Ambassador Theros the Qatar Order of Merit for his efforts in service of the U.S.-Qatar bilateral relationship. His commitment to national service also earned him the President’s Meritorious Service Award and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service (1992). Ambassador Theros has also earned four Superior Honor Awards, the highest awards for distinguished service given by the Foreign Service.
After his retirement from the Foreign Service Ambassador Theros assumed the office of President of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council in March 2000 until his retirement in 2017. Ambassador Theros’ personal commitment to community and public service earned him the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem (1999), as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom (2005).
In addition to his duties as President of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council, Ambassador Theros is also active in the following organizations: The Middle East Policy Council, Board of Directors; The Council of Foreign Relations, Member; The Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Member; and The American Academy of Diplomacy, Member.
Ambassador Theros graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1963. He has done advanced studies at the American University in Washington, D.C., the Universidad Centroamericana in Nicaragua, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He is married to Aspasia (nee Pahigiannis) and has three children. He speaks and reads Spanish, Arabic and Greek professionally.
Khalil E. Jahshan
Executive Director, Arab Center Washington DC
Khalil E. Jahshan is a Palestinian American political analyst and media commentator. He serves as Executive Director of Arab Center Washington DC. Between 2004 and 2013, he was a Lecturer in International Studies and Languages at Pepperdine University and Executive Director of Pepperdine’s Seaver College Washington DC Internship Program. Previously, Jahshan served as Executive Vice President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and Director of its government affairs affiliate, National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA)-ADC.
Throughout his career, he held numerous leadership positions in Arab American organizations, including Vice President of the American Committee on Jerusalem, President of the National Association of Arab Americans, National Director of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Assistant Director of the Palestine Research and Educational Center, and Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Chicago Extension and at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Jahshan also served on boards of directors and advisory boards of several Middle East-oriented organizations including ANERA, MIFTAH, and Search for Common Ground. He appears regularly as a political commentator on Arab and American media outlets.
Dr. Randa Slim
Senior Fellow and Director of Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program, Middle East Institute
Dr. Randa Slim is the Director of the Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program at the Middle East Institute and a non-resident fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute. A former vice president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, Slim has been a senior program advisor at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a guest scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, a program director at Resolve, Inc, and a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. A long-term practitioner of Track II dialogue and peace-building processes in the Middle East and Central Asia, she is the author of several studies, book chapters, and articles on conflict management, post-conflict peace-building, and Middle East politics. Dr. Slim holds B.S. and M.A. from the American University of Beirut and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.
Dr. Aziz Alghashian
Researcher and Fellow, the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-Sectarianisation Project
Dr. Aziz Alghashian is a Saudi researcher and fellow with the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation project. His research focuses on Saudi-Israeli relations and Saudi foreign policy and aims to understand and explain Saudi implicit forms of communication and cooperation. After completing a year of officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Alghashian earned an undergraduate degree in international relations from Nottingham Trent University, an MA in diplomacy from the University of Nottingham, and a PhD focused on Saudi-Israeli relations from the University of Essex. He was then a lecturer of politics and international relations at the University of Essex, where he taught Middle East studies, international relations, and political theory. Alghashian’s analysis has been published by AGISW and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Dr. David Pollock
The Bernstein Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Dr. David Pollock focuses on the political dynamics of Middle East countries. He is the director of Project Fikra, a program of research, publication, and network-building designed to generate policy ideas for promoting positive change and countering the spread of extremism in the Middle East. At the forefront of this effort is Fikra Forum, a unique Arabic-English bilingual online platform that promotes exchanges between mainstream Muslims and Arab democrats and U.S. decisionmakers and opinion leaders.
Dr. Pollock served previously as senior advisor for the Broader Middle East at the State Department, a post he assumed in 2002. In that capacity, he provided policy advice on issues of democracy and reform in the region, with a focus on women’s rights. He also helped launch the department’s $15 million Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative and the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, working directly with advocates across the Middle East.
From 1996 to 2001, Dr. Pollock served in several other State Department policy advisory positions covering South Asia and the Middle East, including four years as regional expert on the secretary of state’s Policy Planning Staff. Previously, he was chief of Near East/South Asia/Africa research at the U.S. Information Agency, where he supervised the government’s study of public opinion, elite attitudes, and media content across the three regions. In 1995-1996, he was a scholar-in-residence at The Washington Institute, where he authored the widely read Policy Paper The ‘Arab Street’? Public Opinion in the Arab World.
Dr. Pollock has served as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University and as assistant professor at George Washington University. He has traveled widely in the Middle East and maintains a large network of contacts in government, academia, and business throughout the region.