Book Launch: Governance and Domestic Policymaking in Saudi Arabia

08 Jun 2022


Announced by the University of Pittsburgh NOTE Singapore Time

This book aims to provide a more balanced understanding of the contemporary processes of domestic policymaking and governance in Saudi Arabia. Comprehension of these two areas is pertinent given the importance of the government’s economic diversification plans: Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, and revised NTP 2.0. This book draws on academics, researchers, policymakers and practitioners with knowledge and experience of domestic policymaking and governance in Saudi Arabia. One of the aims of this edited volume is to analyse the factors that facilitate or constrain effective and viable domestic policymaking and governance in the Kingdom. By bringing together chapters written by scholars and practitioners with first-hand knowledge and experience from a range of social, political, economic and cultural experiences, the book examines various sectors, including labour, defence, health, youth issues, energy, and the environment.

This public discussion examines the progress made in Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation efforts, their implications for state-society relations, and the economics of the rentier social contract, among other issues.

This public talk will be conducted online via Zoom on Wednesday, 8 June 2022, from 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm (Singapore Time). All are welcome to participate. This event is free, however, registration is compulsory. Successful registrants will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom details closer to the date of the event.

Register here:

Dr Mark C. Thompson is senior research fellow and head of the socioeconomics programme at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) in Riyadh. He was previously assistant professor of Middle East Studies at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, (2012-2019) where he taught undergraduate courses in international relations and globalisation. Dr Thompson has lived and worked in Saudi Arabia since 2001 for diverse institutions such as Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Saudi Arabian National Guard and Prince Sultan University. He holds a PhD from the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK, where he also taught a course on political reform in the Gulf. His principal research areas are Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic development and societal transformation and he has published on topics such as Saudi youth issues and challenges facing Saudi women leaders in publications such as the British Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Arabian Studies, Asian Affairs, Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Policy; POMPES Studies, Chatham House, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and Gulf Affairs. In addition, he published a book with I.B. Tauris Saudi Arabia and the Path to Political Change: National Dialogue and Civil Society (2014). Mark is also the co-editor of the I.B. Tauris book Policy-Making in the GCC: State, Citizens and Institutions (2017) with Dr Neil Quilliam from Chatham House, based on their Gulf Research Meeting workshop in 2015 as well as providing chapters on Saudi Arabia for edited books such as Public Brain Power: Civil Society and Resource Management Palgrave Macmillan (2017).

In 2019, Dr Thompson published his Cambridge University Press book Being Young Male and Saudi: Identity and Politics in a Globalized Kingdom about societal issues and change from the perspective of young Saudi men. He also has another co-edited book with Dr Neil Quilliam Governance and Domestic Policy Making in Saudi Arabia: Transforming Society, Economics, Politics, and Culture (I.B. Tauris, 2022) based on their Gulf Research Meeting workshop in 2019.

Dr Neil Quilliam is an energy policy, geopolitics and foreign affairs specialist with extensive knowledge and experience of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He is energy research director at SRMG Think, managing director at Azure Strategy Consulting and an associate fellow with Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. He headed the programme’s Future Dynamics in the Gulf project.

Prior to that, Dr Quilliam was project director of the ‘Syria and Its Neighbours’ policy initiative and acting head of the MENA programme, having first joined Chatham House as a senior research fellow in 2014.

He has also served as senior MENA energy adviser at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, senior MENA analyst at Control Risks, London, and senior programme officer at the United Nations University, Amman.

He has lived in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE and has travelled extensively around the MENA region, working on a variety of development, education and research projects.

He has also published books and articles on international relations and the political economies of Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the GCC states.

Ms Jessica Obeid is an independent consultant focusing on the energy transition. She possesses unique assets of combining technical and policy expertise and has advised a wide range of public and private sector entities in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Additionally, Ms Obeid is non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute – Washington DC with a dual affiliation in the energy and economics programme and the Lebanon programme. She is fellow at the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies- Beirut. She also serves as senior global advisor for Azure Strategy – London. From 2017-2018, she was resident fellow at Chatham House’s energy, environment and resources programme – London. Prior to that, she had a decade experience in engineering and was the chief energy engineer at UNDP in Beirut.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:45pm
online Singapore Time