(This event is jointly organised by MEI’s Political Economy Research Cluster and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).
The challenges facing future Middle Eastern leaders are such as defy quick fixes or country-specific policies. This applies as much to counter terrorism as it does to economic growth, ideological radicalism or the mediation of regional conflict. Towards that end, this paper will explore the possibilities of a Middle Eastern confederation. Several models can be drawn upon for best (and worst) practice: the EU, ASEAN, the GCC and so forth; however, any attempt at regional confederation will have to be cognizant of the Middle East’s unique set of pressures and opportunities. The last 15 years have shown the unsustainability of current structures and their unsuitability to address fundamentally existential and transnational challenges (climate change, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, political reform etc). It is vital for the future prosperity and security of the region that a concerted effort is made to create new alternative structures that are more fit for purpose.
About the Speaker(s)
Ali A. Allawi is a writer, biographer and former government minister in Iraq. He received his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Harvard University. He served in the World Bank group for a number of years before founding his own investment firm. Following the changes in Iraq in 2003, he served as the Minister of Trade, and then the first civilian Minister of Defence. In 2005 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Iraq and then served as Minister of Finance. In 2007, he left public service to pursue scholarly and academic interests. He has authored four books including The Occupation of Iraq (Yale: 2007) and The Crisis of Islamic Civilisation (Yale: 2009). His book Faisal I of Iraq published in 2014 is the first comprehensive biography of this seminal figure set against the formative years of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the state system in the Middle East. At various times, Ali Allawi has been associated with Oxford University (Senior Associate Member); University of Exeter (Fellow); Princeton University (Fellow); Harvard University (Fellow); and National University of Singapore (Visiting Professor). He has made numerous media appearances, and his articles and essays have appeared in major international journals and newspapers. He is the recipient of several public policy and diplomacy awards, and his books have garnered prizes. He is currently working on a book on the economic history of the modern Arab/Islamic worlds.