Upcoming Event

Details

Date:
May 14
Time:
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:

Venue

Online

Organizer

Gulf International Forum

Synopsis:

In a dramatic shift in Kuwait’s political landscape, on May 10, 2024, Emir Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Sabah declared the dissolution of the nation’s parliament and suspension of key constitutional articles for up to four years, only weeks after recent legislative elections. During this period, the emir and the cabinet will wield the legislative powers traditionally held by parliament. This marks the third instance of such a suspension in Kuwait in the last four decades. The emir cited widespread corruption and power abuses, infiltrating numerous state institutions—including those in security, economics, and the judiciary—as the catalysts for this decision. He emphasized that these measures are essential to protect the nation’s paramount interests amid ongoing instability.

This significant development underscores a troubling pattern in Kuwaiti politics, where the frequent dissolutions of parliament and resulting stalemates between legislative and executive branches have impeded crucial investments, reforms and necessary economic and development projects. These reforms are particularly aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil revenues.

Featured Speakers: Ambassador Patrick Theros, Dr. Courtney Freer and Dr. Michael Herb.

Speakers Bio:

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.

Dr. Courtney Freer

Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Gulf International Forum

@courtneyfreer

Dr. Courtney Freer is a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University and a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum. Previously, Dr. Freer was Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre. From 2015-2020, Courtney was a Research Officer for the Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre. Her work focuses on the domestic politics of the Gulf states, particularly the roles played by Islamism and tribalism. Her book Rentier Islamism: The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gulf Monarchies, based on her DPhil thesis at the University of Oxford and published by Oxford University Press in 2018, examines the socio-political role played by the Muslim Brotherhood groups in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. She previously worked at the Brookings Doha Center and the US–Saudi Arabian Business Council. Courtney holds a BA from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the George Washington University.

Dr. Michael Herb

Professor of Political Science, Middle East Center at Georgia State University

@mike_herb

Michael Herb is a Professor of the Political Science Department. Dr. Herb’s research interests focus on issues related to the Arab monarchies of the Gulf. He has written on the political consequences of oil wealth, on the relationship between taxation and democracy, and on how monarchism shapes the process of democratization. He maintains the Kuwait Politics Database, the most comprehensive and authoritative source of information on Kuwaiti elections. He is the author of The Wages of Oil: Parliaments and Economic Development in Kuwait and the UAE (Cornell University Press, 2014) and All in the Family: Absolutism, Revolution, and Democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies (State University of New York Press, 1999).

Details

Date:
May 14
Time:
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:

Venue

Online

Organizer

Gulf International Forum
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