The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies is now accepting research proposals for participation in the Seventh Gulf Studies Forum, to be held from 5-6 December 2020. This year the Forum will consider the topics of Sovereign Wealth Funds and Investment Policies of the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (domestic issues track) and Relations of the Gulf Cooperation Council States with Iran (international relations track).

The background paper for this year's forum highlights how sovereign wealth funds have taken on strategic dimensions among Gulf states, essentially aiming to transform real natural assets into investment resources that can diversify sources of income and avoid the tremors of the global economy. To this aim can be added providing opportunities to raise rates of return and protect government budgets and local economies from fluctuations in the price of oil and natural gas in the international market, as well as to transform financial returns from natural resources into a diversified asset portfolio in the service of generations to come. The presence of huge sovereign wealth funds in Gulf Cooperation Council states raises many issues needing investigation, including: the governance of these funds; their varieties and sources; the roles of the private sector in them; their ability to manage risks and ward off the effects of crises in the international economic system; and ways of reducing the vulnerability of national economies to dangers emerging from them.

The paper points out that today relations of the Arab Gulf states with Iran constitute a most stimulating and heatedly debated discussion topic. Given its size, demographic weight, revolutionary regime, and vigorous regional and foreign and policy initiative, Iran poses a strategic and structural challenge to the Arab Gulf states. This is notwithstanding the nature of any bilateral relations existing between them; thence the importance of renewed research on the subject, setting forth from recent developments.

The Forum's Academic Committee thus invites academics and researchers from the Gulf, the Arab World and the world more broadly to submit papers on topics relevant to these issues. Abstracts (of no more than 400 words) should be submitted at the latest on 15 April 2020, and should clearly show the research question, its importance and its contribution to the field, with a list of possible references and sources.

Research approved by the Academic Committee shall be submitted (within the limits of 6000-7000 words) no later than 1 September 2020 to the Forum, and in a form suitable for peer review and in conformity with the Center's publication guidelines. The Academic Committee will inform the author of its decision, its recommendations to improve the quality of the paper or its requested amendments, in due course.

All correspondence should be submitted to: gulf.forum@dohainstitute.org.

The ACRPS will cover the cost of travel and of accommodation in Doha for the duration of the Conference.

Please find the ACRPS publication guidelines here and the background paper here.