Over 160 researchers, many of them young scholars, have submitted research proposals for the First Annual Gulf Studies Forum, an upcoming event being hosted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in Doha, from December 5-7, 2015. The proposals respond to one of the two themes selected by the ACRPS for this year’s meeting: “Education within the Gulf Cooperation Council”; and “The Security and International Relations of the Gulf”.

Within the first theme, accepted proposals have been categorized into one of the following panels: “Education Policies and Strategies within the GCC states: The Status Quo and the Challenges”; and “The Impact of Education Policies and Outcomes on Society and Development in the Gulf States”; within the second theme, the panels are categorized as follows: “Gulf Security and Relations with Global Powers and with Asian Rising Powers”; “The GCC States and the Regional Order”; and “Relations between the GCC States and Non-State Actors”.

The enthusiasm shown by scholars keen to participate in this year’s event demonstrates the high level of interest which researchers – be they from the Gulf, other parts of the Arab world or from non-Arab countries – have in contemporary issues being addressed by the forum. Notably, much of this enthusiasm has come from young scholars, many of whom have only recently earned their doctoral or Master’s degrees.

The Gulf Studies Forum was established following the success of ACRPS’s Third Annual Conference of Arab Research Centers held in December 2014, which was devoted to “The GCC Countries: Politics and Economics in Light of the Regional and International Shifts and Changes”. Each year, the Annual Forum will be organized along two tracks: the first will address a chosen topic of significance to the GCC states which will change yearly, while the second will discuss the broader challenges posed to GCC states by the regional and international environment, and will feature as a permanent item on the Forum’s agenda.