May 15, 2017

Saudi Arabia Transforming

Saudi Arabia Transforming Conference Report

Read full conference report.

May 10, 2017

Saudi Arabia has embarked on an ambitious program of national transformation aiming to diversify the economy away from oil dependence, expand the private sector, and transform government practice. Yet difficult challenges remain. AGSIW’s conference, “Saudi Arabia Transforming,” focused on the key drivers reshaping Saudi Arabia, a year after the release of Saudi Vision 2030.

Morning Keynote
A Conversation with Abdulaziz Al Sager, Chairman, Gulf Research Center   
Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar, AGSIW (Moderator)

Session 1: Saudi Vision 2030: One Year Later
Saudi Arabia has embarked on an ambitious program of national transformation aiming to diversify the economy away from oil dependence, to create growth in the private sector, and jobs for young people. Yet difficult challenges remain, particularly in creating new sources of government revenue and reductions in government expenditure. What, precisely, do the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030 plan entail? How do we assess progress on these reforms? What are limits to these aspirations?


Khlood Aldukheil, Executive Vice President, Aldukheil Financial Group
Elena Ianchovichina, Lead Economist, Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank
Alia Moubayed, Director of Geo-economics and Strategy, The International Institute for Strategic Studies
Karen E. Young, Senior Resident Scholar, AGSIW (Moderator)

Session 2: Culture Shock: Saudi Vision 2030 and Social Change
Saudi Vision 2030’s drive for economic diversification promotes opportunities in new fields such as visual media and entertainment, sports, and tourism. How will these economic changes challenge the conservative culture of the Kingdom? Will it transform gender relations, or conversely, will the absence of women’s empowerment inhibit its success? What role do youth and technology play in encouraging entrepreneurship and improving quality of life?


Hala Aldosari, Visiting Scholar, AGSIW
Lina K. Almaeena, Shura Council, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Ahmed Al Omran, Journalist
Kristin Smith Diwan, Senior Resident Scholar, AGSIW (Moderator)

Lunch Keynote

George R. Salem, Member of the Board of Directors, AGSIW, Strategic Advisor, DLA Piper (Introduction)
H.H. Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Session 3: Economic Transformation and Saudi Arabia’s Global Posture
Saudi Arabia’s economy has been closely linked to its foreign policy and national security strategy since the founding of the modern Saudi kingdom. How might this national transformation impact Riyadh’s strategic relations and thinking? Will foreign interventions (in Yemen) and foreign actions (such as JASTA legislation) constrain Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans for socioeconomic change?


Mohammad Alsulami, Arabian Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies
Christian Koch, Director, Gulf Research Center Foundation
Tim Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs,
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, United States Department of State
Amb. Stephen A. Seche, Executive Vice President, AGSIW (Moderator)

Photos from “Saudi Arabia Transforming”

Saudi Arabia Transforming