Center for International and Regional Studies
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The Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), located in Doha, Qatar, is a center for international and regional affairs. The Center is a part of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Qatar). The Center works closely with SFS-Qatar Faculty to create research and publications, organize events and manage outreach activities.
Founded in 2005, the Center works mainly in four areas: research, events and conferences, outreach and publications. The first Director, Mehran Kamrava, still directs the Center.
Guided by the principles of academic excellence, forward vision, and community engagement, the Center for International and Regional Studies's mission revolves around five principal goals: To provide a forum for scholarship and research on international and regional affairs; To encourage in-depth examination and exchange of ideas; To foster thoughtful dialogue among students, scholars and practitioners of international affairs; To facilitate the free flow of ideas and knowledge through publishing the products of its research, sponsoring conferences and seminars, and holding workshops designed to explore the complexities of the 21st century; To engage in outreach activities with a wide range of local, regional and international partners.
The Center for International and Regional Studies was founded in 2005 with the initiatives of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Since its conception, the Center focuses on comprehensive studies and events on international and regional studies with an emphasis on the Persian Gulf and Middle East region. The Center for International and Regional Studies' (CIRS) mission revolves around five principal goals:
- To provide a forum for scholarship and research on international and regional affairs
- To encourage in-depth examination and exchange of ideas
- To foster thoughtful dialogue among students, scholars and practitioners of international affairs
- To facilitate the free flow of ideas and knowledge through publishing the products of its research, sponsoring conferences and seminars, and holding workshops designed to explore the complexities of the twenty-first century
- To engage in outreach activities with a wide range of local, regional and international partners.
The Center engages in particular areas of academic endeavour, including:
- Conferences and Events
- Research and Scholarship
- Community Outreach
The following are some of the research initiatives currently undertaken by the Center:
Healthcare Policy and Politics in the Gulf States: CIRS is launching a new research project on the topic of “Healthcare Policy and Politics in the Gulf States” in order to promote an academic exploration of how the health profile of the region has changed over the course of a few decades. The purpose of the CIRS research initiative is to determine the economic, political, and social implications of healthcare management in the region. This project will examine existing conditions of healthcare systems in the GCC, identify the existing challenges and pressures on the countries and societies, and assess how through their policymaking apparatus states are attempting to meet these challenges.
Social Currents in the Maghreb: This research initiative was launched to explore the "variations in social movement mobilization" in countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco, and Libya before, after, and during the Arab Spring. The initiative will also seek to investigate the social and cultural trends evident throughout society.
The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities: This multi-disciplinary research project aims to understand the city's importance as a cultural and social space by examining the urban setting and configurations of cities in the Gulf region (the GCC, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen). By engaging with professionals from a variety of disciplines, it aims to link macro-level knowledge of urban projects with the micro-level understanding of spaces of residence and social interactions.
Transitional Justice in the Middle East: Despite limited academic interest in the past, transitional justice in relation to the Middle East has become an increasingly relevant topic due to recent events in the region. CIRS is launching this research initiative to examine various experiences of transitional justice as they unfold across the region in the post-Arab Spring era.
Events and conferences
Model United Nations: This CIRS-sponsored conference is a forum for high school students to debate current global issues and gain insight into international politics and policy-making. High school students from around the world come to Doha, Qatar to debate on contemporary international politics. Following 2007 annual conference, the Center hosted another one in January 2008.
Monthly Dialogue Series: This monthly event hosts scholars from SFS-Qatar and elsewhere about their latest academic research. Some of the events in this series were “Living in the Past: Cairo Women of the darb” by Prof. Amira Sonbol, “The Ambassadors of Islamic spirituality and the Encounter of Religions” by Prof. Patrick Laude and the “A Public Good? Palestinian Businessmen and the British Colonial State 1939-1946” by Dr. Sherene Seikaly.
CIRS also hosts other relevant events on international and regional studies:
Speaker: Mehran Kamrava Date: September 2007
Date: October 2007
- US 2008 Elections
Speaker: Prof. Gary Wasserman Date: November 2007
- A Short History of British Diplomacy
Speaker: Ambassador Stephen Day Date: November 2007
Date: November 2007
- Lecture by Hany El Banna, President of Islamic Relief
Date: December 2007
- Distinguished Lecturer: Dr. John Esposito
Date: February 2008
- Innovation in Islam
Date: April 2008
CIRS publishes a variety of research throughout the academic year, including Occasional Papers, Annual Reports, Newsletters, Books, Summary Reports, Briefs, as well as various Arabic language publications as well.
CIRS has published Occasional Papers on a large variety of topics since its inception in 2007. Most of the papers are based on topics that are relevant to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, and focus on a variety of disciplines. Some of the papers include:
- Implications of the 2011-13 Syrian Uprising for the Middle Eastern Regional Security Complex, authored by Fred H. Lawson. It focuses on the new configuration of the Middle Eastern regional security complex (RSC) in the context of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2010-11. Foreign policies adopted between 2000 and 2010 by the Ba‘thi regime in Damascus, the leaderships of Lebanse Hizbullah and HAMAS, and the Israeli government to repel overlapping threats created a patchwork of strategic rivalries and alignments. Civil and political unrest in Iraq and Egypt in early 2011, along with the outbreak of civil war in Syria later that same year, generated an even more intricate web of interstate security mechanisms. The reconfigured RSC that emerged is only beginning to be explicated, and can best be discussed by tracing the connection between domestic political conflicts and shifts in external belligerence and alignment across the region.
- Iran's Northern Exposure: Foreign Policy Challenges in Eurasia, authored by Manochehr Dorraj. This paper studies Iran’s evolving interest and geopolitical obstacles to its foreign policy in Central Eurasia. Since the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, Iran performed a balancing act. That is, it aspired to develop closer relations with a region with which it shared significant historical and cultural ties. At the same time, Russia regards Central Eurasia as its sphere of influence and would like to keep the “intruders” at bay. Hence, the United States’ expanding presence in the region has added a new twist to Iran’s geopolitical calculations in how to define its policy toward the region. Turkish-Iranian cooperation and competition in the region is yet another piece in the strategic triangle that molds Iranian regional political posture. The looming impact of these three countries aside, as an emerging regional power with its own political agenda, perception, and calculus of its interests, Iran uses identity politics and shared cultural and religious values, where appropriate, to shape closer relations with Central Eurasian countries. Beyond this motif in Iran’s foreign policy, this paper focuses on political, economic, and strategic variables affecting Iran’s foreign policy decisions in Central Eurasia. Islamic factors are treated as variables within the broader context of sociocultural factors that have played a role in shaping Iran’s foreign policy in the region.
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- "Events at CIRS". CIRS. Retrieved 2007-01-10.[dead link]
- "Model United Nations". CIRS. Retrieved 2007-01-10.[dead link]
- "Outreach". CIRS. Retrieved 2007-01-10.[dead link]
- "West misused Islam for Political Reasons, meet told". The Peninsula. October 26, 2007.
- "US-Iran War Highly Unlikely, says Expert". The Peninsula. September 12, 2007.
- "Only 30% Likelihood of US Attack on Iran, says Expert". Gulf Times. September 12, 2007.
- "Lecture on US-Iran Standoff". Gulf Times. September 9, 2007.
- Sarmad Qazi (October 25, 2007). "US Presidency will have to Rediscover Diplomacy". Gulf Times.
- "Seminar on Future of US Policy in Mideast". The Peninsula. October 18, 2007.
- "Experts Discuss Impact of Industrialisation on Environment". The Peninsula. November 14, 2007.
- "Expert Study Industry Impact on Environment". Gulf Times. November 14, 2007.
- "Events at CIRS". CIRS. Retrieved 2007-01-10.[dead link]
- Patricia Fagen, Iraqi Refugees: Seeking Stability in Syria and Jordan (pdf file)
- CIRS, CIRS Newsletter: September 2007 (pdf file)
- CIRS, CIRS Newsletter: January 2008 (pdf file)