The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies will convene its Third Annual Conference of Arab Research Centers from December 6-8, 2014. This year’s meeting is entitled, “The GCC Countries: Politics and Economics in Light of the Regional and International Shifts and Changes”. To date, the ACRPS has received 150 proposals and abstracts that address one of the following themes: the geopolitics of the Gulf; regional and global dynamics and relations with world powers; GCC states and the regional Arab setting; and the economic and political challenges Gulf States face in their quest for greater integration.

The decision to focus on the Gulf region for this conference is due to the recent, rapid expansion of interest in the GCC states and their growing role in Arab-wide issues. With erstwhile central states—Iraq, Syria and Egypt—being eclipsed and embroiled in turmoil, GCC countries now play leading roles in inter-Arab politics. This has been particularly true since the Arab Spring and the deep changes resulting from it. Conference participants will be given the opportunity to examine the extensive challenges facing the GCC in light of far-reaching global developments.

The extent of interest shown in the conference is an indication of the level of enthusiasm from academics around the Gulf, the wider Arab region, and internationally about the GCC and its rapidly expanding role. It also reflects an interest in the future of the GCC in light of the deep-rooted changes affecting the region and the world more generally. One notable feature of this year’s conference is the high proportion of young researchers, many of whom have only recently gained their doctoral or master’s degrees.

The annual Conference of Arab Research Centers is now a well-established tradition at the ACRPS, and a number of policy institutes that have demonstrated an interest in the GCC states have been invited to attend. The conference is one of three regular annual events hosted by the ACRPS, including: the Annual Conference for the Social Sciences and the Humanities, during which the Arab Prize is presented, is held in March each year; the Annual Conference of Democratic Transition, which is held in September of each year, focusing this year on the theme of religious minorities; and finally, the Annual Conference of Arab Research Centers, which hosts policy research institutes from across the Arab region, as well as selected journalists and politicians from across the world.