Ali Behbehani

Abdelrahman Kamel

Abdelrahman Kamel is a cultural diplomacy specialist with a notable track record of fostering partnerships within the arts, culture, and museum sectors. He currently channels his expertise at the Qatar America Institute for Culture where he contributes to bridging the cultures of Qatar, the United States, and the larger Arab and Islamic world. On the academic front, Abdelrahman embarked on his scholarly journey at Georgetown Qatar’s Culture and Politics program. This was succeeded by specialized studies in Museum and Gallery Practice at the University college of London in Qatar as well as a master’s in Art History from the University of Toronto. In addition to his role at QAIC, Abdelrahman is currently immersed in his doctoral studies in cultural diplomacy at Queen’s University. His professional journey has seen him take on multiple roles, encompassing positions as a teaching, research, curatorial as well as executive assistant. These roles span prestigious institutions, such as Northwestern’s Media Majlis, the Royal Ontario Museum, the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative, and the Canadian committee of the International Council of Museums. Possessing a rich blend of academic knowledge and professional experience, Abdelrahman’s passion is geared towards advocating integration, embracing multiculturalism, and navigating postcolonial narratives within the Middle Eastern cultural milieu. His commitment to advancing the narrative of art and culture in the region is evident through his research and continuous efforts.

Dr. Ali Alkandari

Dr. Ali Alkandari is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum. He is a history professor at Kuwait University specializing in Islamist movements, social transformations, and the contemporary history of the Gulf. Dr. Alkandari holds Masters of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and received his PhD from the University of Exeter in 2014 in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He is currently the head of Kuwait University Faculty Association KUFA. He also served as a member of the National Union of Kuwaiti Students from 2010 to 2013, serving as its president during his final year. He has appeared widely as a contributor on Gulf media networks, including Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, Mont Carlo, and Al Arabi.

Dr. Hind Al Ansari

Dr. Hind Al Ansari is a Fellow at Gulf International Forum. She is a development and global education researcher based in Washington and recently completed a one-year fellowship at the Wilson Center. Dr. Al-Ansari has published multiple articles and has been recognized for her work as a recipient of the Middle East Policy Council 40 Under 40 Award. She holds a PhD in Education from Cambridge University and a Master in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard.

Matthew Levy

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:

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.

Dr. Yagoub Y. Al-Kandari

Dr. Yagoub Al-Kandari is member of the Advisory Board. Dr. Al-Kandari is a Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. He is the Director of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Center in Kuwait University. He was the former Dean of the College of Social Sciences. Dr. Al-Kindari was a Chief Editor of several academic journals and research centers in the GCC states. Also, he served as Dean Assistant of College of Graduate Studies of Academic and Acting Chair of Sociology and Social Work Department at Kuwait University. He has 145 published works (30 books and has 70 published scientific papers in refereed journals with many other publications in conferences proceedings). Dr. Al-Kandari is a member of many local, regional, and international associations. He received his Master and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University, USA, Major in Anthropology. He is the Recipient of six scientific awards; one of them is the State Award for Scientific Production Award.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada

His Excellency, Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada is member of the Advisory Board. His Excellency was Minister of Energy and industry and Chairman of the Board of Qatar Petroleum during the period from 2011 to 2018.  He was also Managing Director of QP during the period from 2011 – 2014. Earlier, from 2007 to 2011, H.E. was Minister of State for Energy and Industry Affairs and Member of the Cabinet.

During his tenure, His Excellency assumed leading roles in various government and semi-government organizations. He was a member of the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, Chairman of RasGas, Chairman of Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd. (NAKILAT) and Qatar Electricity & Water Company (QEWC). H.E. was also the Chairman of the Permanent Water Resources Committee (PWRC) at Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa).

H.E. Dr. Al-Sada has over 35 years of experience in the energy sector.  In 1983, he joined Qatar Petroleum (QP) and started a lifetime career in the oil and gas business. He moved up the corporate ladder and assumed a number of managerial positions. In 1997, he was appointed QP Technical Director, where he successfully directed the execution of a number of major oil, gas and infrastructure projects. In 2006, he was appointed Managing Director of RasGas Company Limited (RasGas).

In 2017, the Energy Institute of the UK presented Dr. Al-Sada with The International “Oil Diplomacy Man of the Year” Award. The award was in appreciation of Dr. Al-Sada’s efforts and contribution to the restoration of balance to the oil market during Qatar’s tenure as President of OPEC Conference in 2016.

In November 2020, His Majesty Emperor Naruhito of Japan awarded HE Dr. Al-Sada the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest decoration conferred by the Japanese Government, for his efforts in developing and further strengthening friendship and cooperation between Qatar and Japan. His Excellency currently holds the position of “Chairman of Qatar Solar Technologies” (QSTec).

An active member of the Qatari community, His Excellency was a member of the Qatar Foundation Board of Directors. In addition, he is the Chairman of the Joint Advisory Board (JAB) at Texas A & M University Qatar (TAMUQ) and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Doha for Science and Technology. And a member of the Advisory Board of GCC Supreme Council.  He is also the Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Children’s Museum,  and He was the Chairman of the Qatar University Alumni Association.

H.E. Dr. Al-Sada was a founding member of the National Committee for Human Rights. He also served as a member of the Permanent Constitution Preparation Committee and the Supreme Education Council.

His Excellency holds an MSc degree and a PhD from the University of Manchester in the UK and a BSc degree in Marine Science and Geology from Qatar University.

His Excellency is married and has five children.

Dr. Baqer Al Najjar

Dr. Baqer Al Najjar is member of the Advisory Board. Previously, he served as a Member of Bahrain Shura Council, Dean and Professor of Sociology at the University of Bahrain. He is one of the most prominent Arab authors in Sociology; some of his books are; “Voluntary Social Work in the Arabian Gulf,” 1988, “Labor Productivity in the Industrial Sector in Bahrain,” 1993, “Sociology of the Arab Community in the Gulf, Women and the Modernization,” 2000, and “Religious Movements in the Arabian Gulf,” 2007. Dr. Al Najjar holds PhD in Sociology from University of Durham.

Aasim Alwaleed Ali Al-Thani

Sheikh Aasim Alwaleed Ali Al-Thani is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Gulf International Forum. He is a Young Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy and a commissioned officer in the Ministry of Defence (MOD). He has served as a platoon commander, national security analyst, and operations officer in the Qatar Armed Forces (QAF). He holds several honours and has received special recognition from national and foreign heads of state.

Sheikh Aasim is a nominee of the Ministry of Defence for the MSt in Diplomatic Studies Programme (DSP) at the University of Oxford. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) and Ahmed Bin Mohammed Military Academy (ABMMC) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service with a Major in International Politics, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Military Science, respectively. He is a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors Society. His research interests include geopolitics, strategic studies, intelligence history, defense diplomacy and small states’ security.

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