Dr. Dania Thafer

Dr. Dania Thafer is the Executive Director of Gulf International Forum, an institute based in Washington, D.C. that provides analysis on political, economic, social, and security issues for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Iran, Iraq and Yemen. She is also a Professorial Lecturer at the School of Foreign Service’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Her expertise is on the Gulf region’s security, U.S.-Gulf relations, and the political economy of the GCC states.

 

Dr. Thafer has been widely published and consults regularly on matters concerning the GCC and the Middle East. Dr. Thafer has a new book titled “Creative Insecurity: Institutional Inertia and Youth Potential in the GCC” published by Oxford University Press and Hurst Co. (2023). Additionally, she has co-authored two edited books “The Arms Trade, Military Services and the Security Market in the Gulf States: Trends and Implications” and “The Dilemma of Security and Defense in the Gulf Region.” Her commentary has appeared in international media outlets, including:  The New York Times, Financial Times, BBC World, Washington Post, Forbes, Al Jazeera and others. Additionally, she is regularly consulted by governmental, non-governmental, corporations and research institutions globally.

 

Previously, she was responsible for building relationships with foreign dignitaries from the Middle East at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Thafer has a master’s degree in political science from New York University, and Ph.D. in Political Science, specialized in the Political Economy and International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

Ambassador Patrick Theros

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. Dania Thafer

Dr. Dania Thafer is the Executive Director of Gulf International Forum, an institute based in Washington, D.C. that provides analysis on political, economic, social, and security issues for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Iran, Iraq and Yemen. She is also a Professorial Lecturer at the School of Foreign Service’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Her expertise is on the Gulf region’s security, U.S.-Gulf relations, and the political economy of the GCC states.

Dr. Thafer has been widely published and consults regularly on matters concerning the GCC and the Middle East. Dr. Thafer has a new book titled “Creative Insecurity: Institutional Inertia and Youth Potential in the GCC” published by Oxford University Press and Hurst Co. (2023). Additionally, she has co-authored two edited books “The Arms Trade, Military Services and the Security Market in the Gulf States: Trends and Implications” and “The Dilemma of Security and Defense in the Gulf Region.” Her commentary has appeared in international media outlets, including:  The New York Times, Financial Times, BBC World, Washington Post, Forbes, Al Jazeera and others. Additionally, she is regularly consulted by governmental, non-governmental, corporations and research institutions globally.

Previously, she was responsible for building relationships with foreign dignitaries from the Middle East at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Thafer has a master’s degree in political science from New York University, and Ph.D. in Political Science, specialized in the Political Economy and International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

Ambassador Patrick N. Theros

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 was born in 1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and attended public schools in Michigan, Ohio and the District of Columbia. He 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. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

Dr. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow. Dr. Ulrichsen is a Baker Institute Fellow for the Middle East. Working across the disciplines of political science, international relations and international political economy, his research examines the changing position of Persian Gulf states in the global order, as well as the emergence of longer-term, nonmilitary challenges to regional security. Previously, he worked as a senior Gulf analyst at the Gulf Center for Strategic Studies between 2006 and 2008 and as co-director of the Kuwait Program on Development, Governance and Globalization in the Gulf States at the London School of Economics (LSE) from 2008 until 2013.

Dr. Tarik M. Yousef

Dr. Tarik M. Yousef is Senior Non-Resident Fellow. He is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Council on Global Affairs. Prior, he served as Senior Fellow and Director of the Brookings Doha Center and was a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He is a research fellow with the Economic Research Forum in Cairo.

His career has spanned the academic and think tank world at the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. His involvement with public policy includes working in the Middle East Department at the International Monetary Fund, the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank, and the UN Millennium Project.

He has contributed more than 75 articles, chapters, and reports, and co-edited several volumes including most recently “The Belt and Road Initiative: China-Middle East Cooperation in an Age of Geopolitical Turbulence” (Brookings Doha Center and the Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences, 2019); “Public Sector Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons of Experience for a Region in Transition” (Brookings Press, 2020); and “The Gulf Cooperation Council at Forty: Risk & Opportunity in a Changing World” (Brookings Press, 2021).

Yousef has served on the boards of the Middle East Economics Association; United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports; Arab Human Development Report; Arab Knowledge Report; Gender Economic Research and Policy Analysis in the Arab World; The Social and Economic Survey Research Institute; the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum; and the Arab Banking Corporation.

Dr. Courtney Freer

Dr. Courtney Freer a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum and a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University. Previously, Dr. Freer was Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre. From 2015-2020, she 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. Kenneth Katzman

Dr. Kenneth Katzman is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum. Dr. Katzman is a Senior Fellow at The Soufan Center. His work focuses on geopolitical and regional dynamics in the Middle East—with a focus on Iran—as well as United States strategy. In late 2022, Dr. Katzman retired from his longtime position as a Senior Analyst with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an arm of the U.S. Congress that provides analysis and advice to members of the U.S. Congress in their legislative and oversight responsibilities. In that post, Dr. Katzman served as a senior Middle East analyst, with special emphasis on Iran, Iran-backed groups operating in the Middle East and South Asia, the Persian Gulf states, Iraq, and Afghanistan. During his more than 30-year tenure at CRS, he provided reports and briefings to Members of Congress and their staffs on U.S. policy on these countries and issues, and provided analysis of related legislative proposals. On about a dozen occasions, he has testified before various Committees and Subcommittees of Congress on his areas of expertise. He also participated in several congressional delegations to the region at the Member and staff level. During 1996 and again during July 2001—March 2002, he was assigned to the majority staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to work on Middle East issues, including organizing hearings and helping to draft legislation such as the Iran Sanctions Act (1996).

As a well-known expert on the region, Dr. Katzman has delivered numerous presentations and briefings at conferences and meetings in Washington D.C. as well as throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia. He has also written numerous articles in various outside publications, including a book entitled The Warriors of Islam: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (Westview Press, 1993) which was the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation. Since 2017, he has been a contributor to The Soufan Center, including serving as a key drafter of several of the Center’s reports on U.S. policy toward Iran. Dr. Katzman has been quoted frequently on the region and appeared in many regional media, including Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, Al Arabiya, Sharq News, Al Araby, and Al Ghad TV.

In recent years, Dr. Katzman has worked with numerous region-related think tanks and institutions. He has authored scholarly articles for organizations including The Atlantic Council, the Gulf International Forum, the Arab Gulf State Institute of Washington, and the Arab Center D.C. Among his earlier outside publications, during 1998, he wrote expert working papers on the ballistic missile capabilities of Iran and Iraq for the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (“Rumsfeld Commission”). In late 1999, and again in 2010, the Atlantic Council published his detailed monographs on U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Dr. Katzman holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University (1991).  During May 1985—June 1989, Dr. Katzman was an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he prepared written reports for U.S. Middle East policymakers on leadership dynamics in Iran, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf states. Two years in the private defense consulting industry followed his tour at the CIA.

Professor David Des Roches

Professor David Des Roches is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies. Prior to this, he was the Defense Department director responsible for policy concerning Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Prior to this assignment, he has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Liaison to the Department of Homeland Security, as senior country director for Pakistan, as NATO operations director, and as deputy director for peacekeeping. His first job in government was as a special assistant for strategy and later as the international law enforcement analyst in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and obtained advanced degrees in Arab Politics from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, in War Studies from Kings College London, and Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. He has also attended the Federal Executive Institute, the German Staff College’s Higher Officer Seminar, the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, and the US Army Command and General Staff College.

 

Dr. Mahjoob Zweiri

Dr. Mahjoob Zweiri is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow. He is the Director of Gulf Studies Center and Associate Professor in Contemporary Politics of the Middle East at Qatar University. Before joining Qatar University in 2010, Dr. Zweiri was Senior Researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan. He was also a Visiting Professor to School of Government & International Affairs at Durham University. From March 2003 to December 2006 he was a Research Fellow and then a Director of the Centre for Iranian Studies in the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University. Dr. Zweiri has more than 80 publications in the areas of Iran and Contemporary Middle East history and politics. In addition to Arabic, Dr. Zweiri is fluent in Farsi and English.

Dr. Nabeel A. Khoury

Nabeel A. Khoury is a Senior Non-resident Fellow. In 2013, after twenty-five years in the Foreign Service, Dr. Khoury retired from the US Department of State with the rank of Minister Counselor. In his last overseas posting, Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Yemen, from 2004 to 2007. In 2003, during the Iraq War, he served as department spokesperson at US Central Command in Doha and in Baghdad. In his last posting in Washington before retirement, Khoury served as director of the Near East and South Asia Office at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He has also taught Middle East and US strategy courses at the National Defense University and at Northwestern University. Dr. Khoury is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Arab Center Washington D.C.

Khoury earned a BA in political science from the American University of Beirut and both an MA and PhD in political science from the State University of New York at Albany. Before his Foreign Service career, Khoury was assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and assistant professor of political science at the University of Jordan in Amman. He has published articles on issues of leadership and development in the Arab world in the Middle East Journal, the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and has published on the regional impact of the Arab uprisings and on US policy in Yemen in Middle East Policy. His monograph, Bunker Diplomacy: An Arab-American in the US Foreign Service, was published by Westphalia Press in 2019. Khoury’s publications and opinions can be found on Twitter @khoury_nabeel, and on his personal website: nabeelkhoury.com

Dr. Gawdat Bahgat

Dr. Gawdat Bahgat is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum and a Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. He is the author of 11 books on the Middle East. His areas of expertise include energy security, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Iran and American foreign policy.

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