Based in Doha, Qatar, the (BDC) is an overseas centre of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., that advances high-quality, independent policy analysis and research on the Middle East. The Center maintains a reputation for policy impact and cutting-edge, field-oriented research on socioeconomic and geopolitical issues facing the broader Middle East, including relations with the United States.
The Brookings Doha Center International Advisory Council is co-chaired by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, former prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of the State of Qatar, and Brookings President Strobe Talbott. Members include: Madeleine Albright, Samuel Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Edward Djerejian, Wajahat Habibullah, Musa Hitam, Pervez Hoodhboy, Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, Nemir Kirdar, Rami Khouri, Atta-ur-Rahman, Ismail Serageldin and Fareed Zakaria. Salman Shaikh used to serve as the center's director.
The creation of the centre was announced in October 2007 by Brookings President Strobe Talbott. The Center was formally inaugurated by H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani on February 17, 2008.
In pursuing its mission, the BDC undertakes field-orientated research and programming that addresses and informs regional and international policy discussions, engaging key elements of governments, businesses, civil society, the media, and academia on four key areas:
- The international relations of the Middle East, emphasising ties within the region as well as regional ties between the Middle East, the United States, and Asia
- Conflict and post-conflict transitions, including security, peace processes and reconstruction
- Economic and fiscal strategies of Middle Eastern states, including the geopolitics and economics of energy
- Governance and institutional reform, including democratisation and state-citizen relations
Open to a broad range of views, the BDC encourages a rich exchange of ideas between the Middle East and the global community. Since its founding, the BDC has hosted a number of leading scholars from a dozen different countries; put on a variety of events, including high-level roundtables, timely policy discussions, and the annual Doha Energy Forum; and published a series of influential Policy Briefings and Analysis Papers.
Syria Track II Dialogue Initiative
A community-focused exercise that aims to target a core group of influential Syrians. The dialogue provides a venue and process through which key Syrian communities and constituencies can build relationships and coordinate on issues of mutual concern. It is hoped the project will develop practical outcomes to help end the conflict and influence Track I mediation efforts undertaken by the United Nations, as well as by key regional and international states.
The findings and recommendations from the program's workshops are documented in the Center's "Transitions Dialogue Series" publications.
BDC-Stanford University Project on Arab Transitions
The "Project on Arab Transitions," is a three-year joint initiative between the BDC and the Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. The project aims to generate comprehensive analysis of the conditions affecting democratisation and good governance throughout the current period of Arab transition.
The project combines academic rigor, informed field research, and policy relevance to systematically analyse and illuminate the nature of Arab transitions, focusing on electoral design, constitution-drafting, political party development, and national dialogue processes. By engaging Arab and Western scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, the project provides new voices and original scholarship from the Arab region and beyond to help inform policy and development assistance to countries of strategic importance.
Outputs of the project will be:
- Policy white papers to be presented in Washington, DC, Europe, and the Middle East to policymakers and the development community;
- A series of public events in Doha and the U.S.;
- Private meetings with U.S., European, UN, and Arab stakeholders;
- A funding mechanism for U.S. and Arab scholars and stakeholders to conduct field research in the Arab region.
Brookings Doha Energy Forum & Energy Research Platform
The Brookings Doha Energy Forum is a unique conference focused on systemic shifts in the global balance of energy supply and demand, which coincides with a period of unprecedented and rapid change in the Middle East. New demand centres in South and East Asia and a levelling out of demand in the United States and Europe have the potential to lead to a fundamental transformation of the region’s role and the global politics of oil and gas. With this in mind, the BDC and Brookings Energy Security Initiative developed the Brookings Doha Energy Forum.
The conference and its associated research address:
- The growing strategic relationship between the Middle East and Asia;
- The economic implications of an eastward shift in focus by Middle East suppliers;
- The shifting effect on governance and transparency in producer nations.
In addition to the annual conference, the BDC more broadly seeks to establish an energy research platform which examines global energy markets—with a focus on the Middle East and Asia—in collaboration with the Brookings Energy Security Initiative.
Internships and Fellowships
Visiting fellows takes up residence at the BDC for a six to nine-month period, throughout which time they conduct individual research, interact with policymaking communities, and present their research at a seminar.
Visiting fellows are drawn from mid-to-senior ranks of governments, think tanks, universities, and media from the United States, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Successful applicants ordinarily have a PhD or broad governmental, civil society, or professional experience, as well as fluency in English.
Visiting fellows complete both a Policy Briefing and Analysis Paper throughout their time affiliated with the BDC.
The Brookings Doha Center hosts up to three nonresident fellows for a period of one year with possibility of renewal. Candidates are accomplished scholars, analysts or former officials with a concentration that falls within one of the three main areas of the BDC’s work: democratization, political reform and public policy; emerging powers in the Middle East; and conflict and peace processes in the region.
Brookings Doha Center – Qatar University Visiting Fellowship
Over the course of a 4-6 month period, fellows teach a seminar at the university and have the opportunity to conduct original research of their own. Fellows author 1-2 policy briefs on their area of focus, to be published by Brookings. Fellows additionally augment the BDC research platform by producing additional opinion pieces and articles as an affiliated BDC scholar.
Fellows teach a semester-long seminar (16 weeks) at Qatar University on a topic of their own choosing. This might be one of the courses currently offered in the QU International Affairs programme (history, political science, economics, international relations), or a related subject, as defined by the fellow. Courses are discussion-based, enabling fellows to develop and refine their ideas and research in an academic setting. Fellows additionally supervise the research of up to four Qatar University students, thereby contributing to the intellectual life of the University.
The BDC regularly hosts interns from as well as , , and additional local academic institutions for semester-long and summer-long terms.
Salman Shaikh is the previous director of the Brookings Doha Center and fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He focused on mediation and conflict resolution issues facing the Middle East and South Asia. He has held posts at the United Nations and the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned in Qatar.
Ibrahim Sharqieh is deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center and fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Sharqieh previously served as senior project director at the Academy for Educational Development (AED), where he managed international development projects in several Arab countries, including Yemen and Qatar. He additionally served as an academic advisor to the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. and taught International Conflict Resolution at The George Washington, George Mason, and Catholic universities. Sharqieh received his Ph.D. from George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution in 2006.
Sultan Barakat is Senior Fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution and Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center. He is a Professor and Chairman of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit, University of York. He has written extensively on the issue of conflict management, state fragility and post-war reconstruction. His most recent book is entitled Understanding Influence: The Use of Statebuilding Research in British Policy, published by Ashgate in 2014.