Conference on Social Media in Kuwait University

16 May 2022

On May 16th, the Department of Philosophy at the College of Arts in Kuwait University together with the Regional Program Gulf States organized a one-day conference in Kuwait on the impact of social media on people’s freedom, identity, culture, psychology, and political activism. The conference was attended by tens of university students and faculty members, and it received wide media coverage in Kuwait.

Bright Lights, Smart City

Dubai Projects Its Future at Expo

This article explores the role of Expo 2020 in terms of its functions beyond the economic and tourism related gains to the UAE. It discusses the significance of such a mega event regarding the public diplomacy angle and highlights factors such as person-to-person diplomacy and the projection of green futures as being of equal importance to the government.

The United Arab Emirates in Yemen

From Direct to Indirect Engagement and Back

This article explains why the UAE changed its strategy in the war in Yemen from direct engagement in 2015, to indirect engagement in 2019, and why this strategy was reversed back in early 2022. It also discusses Iran’s connection to the Houthi attacks on the UAE, and the prospects for UAE direct engagement in the war.

Placemaking, a stress relief tool for deliverables in GCC smart cities

The city around the public space was the founding principle of the traditional GCC cities. Today, placemaking strategies can generate a sustainable, vibrant, and livable public space as the active interface of smart cities. Engaging with the community on PPPP projects could be an effective stress relief on economic burden and constructive support in decision making for the national and local governments.

Collective intelligence and cities’ smart growth in GCC

The involvement of local research centers, together with NGOs and young designers, makers, and future inhabitants of the newly developed districts, could generate urban and social smart growth as a unique benefit for GGC existing cities during their fast-growing process. It could strongly impact local communities in terms of optimizing resources, ensuring concrete results, and immediate application of best practices while empowering young adults to embrace and lead the transformation and activating a process of informed decision-making.

A new “Agenda for the Mediterranean” should include the GCC

Why is there a need for close relations between the EU and the Gulf states?

The last face-to-face meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council dates back to 2016. There are many reasons for this, both on the part of the EU and the GCC. A changed energy and geopolitical situation has also contributed to a decrease in mutual interest. The EU should use the realignment of its foreign and security policy, especially the relaunch of an “Agenda for the Mediterranean” in spring 2021, to also put relations with the Gulf States on a new basis. To do this, the EU does not have to give up its position on human rights issues. Instead an increased engagement with Gulf states will enhance its voice in the region.

Environmental retrofitting

A mandate for liveable GCC smart cities

Several strategies are in place in the main Gulf countries to create districts’ cooling systems. However, the target of livable and walkable districts requires a comprehensive approach, including macro and micro-scale interventions that cooperate to minimize energetic consumption and the related CO2 footprint for new and existing built environments. Reducing AC dependency through environmental retrofitting of the existing real estate would play a substantial role in fighting the heat island effect in the GCC’s cities.

Smart Cities and Quality of life

A report from the GCC

Main GCC Cities in 2021 are ranking 28th to 30th in the Smart City Index worldwide. The same cities are also scoring 14th to 55th in the Quality of Life Index. Besides the traditional urban management tools and implementation, this is showing a massive commitment in the last years to improve a comprehensive system of e-governance and services to the citizens in terms of quality of life.

Resilience, growth, and GCC smart cities

Moving toward a digital enabling cities instead of smart cities would shift the focus to a human-centric approach. And the ICT serving the social and human capital in terms of knowledge, inclusion, and participation would enhance a smart design strategy in making smart cities as a city with a focus on the high quality of life. Gulf Countries have all the tools in place for a citizen and environmental effective resilience, and are ready to give the last touch through smart design strategies.

Who is worthy of ‘Women’s Rights’?

Intersectionality in perspective in the Gulf

The series of the articles on “Women in the Gulf States” were solicited and edited by Dr. Zarqa A. Parvez with support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. In this final article of the series, Dr. Parvez makes a brief overview of the published articles and stresses the importance of intersectionality as a lens in addressing women rights in the Gulf States. She also calls for a more inclusive approach to women rights, and highlights direction for future research.