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"Conference Spotlights Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Middle East"

Saudi Standpoint: (left to right) the Belfer Center’s Hilary Rantisi, Nawaf Obaid, Nicholas Burns, Prince Turki Al Faisal, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, and Belfer Director Graham Allison.

"Conference Spotlights Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Middle East"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Summer 2013

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Middle East Initiative


Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki Al Faisal told a standing-room only audience at Harvard Kennedy School in April that his nation is investing huge sums in solar, wind, and nuclear energy to reduce domestic reliance on its oil reserves. Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia’s security depends on a healthy energy policy that uses oil to earn export revenues rather than for domestic consumption.

Prince Turki spoke on “Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Policy Doctrine after the Arab Awakening” at a conference on Saudi Arabia and its role in the Middle East, organized by the Belfer Center and its Middle East Initiative. The event was moderated by Nicholas Burns, faculty chair of the Middle East Initiative.

The goal of the conference was to better understand Saudi Arabia’s role in the Middle East in light of the Arab Awakening and to deepen the relationship between the Kingdom and Harvard Kennedy School.

Earlier in the day, a panel of Saudi experts discussed “Energy and the Arab Awakening” in a discussion moderated by Henry Lee, senior lecturer in public policy and director of the Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program. A delegation of 14 Saudi royalty, government officials, academics, and businessmen took part in the conference, organized with assistance from Belfer Center Fellow Nawaf Obaid.

During the visit, the delegation also joined Burns, Lee, Middle East Initiative Director Hilary Rantisi, and others for an off-the-record brainstorming on the U.S.-Saudi relationship and challenges and opportunities facing Saudi Arabia.


For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.

For Academic Citation:

"Conference Spotlights Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Middle East." Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Summer 2013.

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