Press Release - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Harvard’s Belfer Center Establishes Project on Saudi and GCC Security

Mar. 27, 2017

Cambridge, MA — The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School has announced the establishment of The Project on Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council Security. The project is made possible through a gift from HRH Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

The new project, to be directed by BG (ret) Kevin Ryan, director of the Belfer Center’s Defense and Intelligence Projects, will conduct studies related to defense, security, and intelligence issues in the Saudi/GCC area and will include a speaker series featuring current and former national security practitioners.

“Maintaining peace and security in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula is essential for a range of international interests,” said Belfer Center Executive Director for Research Gary Samore. “We are deeply grateful to Prince Turki for his generous gift, which will allow us to focus attention on this critical set of issues.”

The current gift will support the project for two years and expands upon the already extensive work being carried out by the Belfer Center through other efforts, including the Middle East Initiative and the Iran Project. The Project on Saudi and GCC Security will specifically examine regional tensions, rivalries, and conflicts that confront the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar—with a special emphasis on the military, security, and intelligence aspects. 

Prince Turki bin Abdullah served as a military commander and fighter pilot with the Royal Saudi Air Force and was Governor of Riyadh Province from 2013 to 2014. He is currently the CEO of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Foundation. 

“Over my 20 years of public service, I have seen the dynamics of national security change many times in my region,” said Prince Turki. “And while political leaders ultimately have the responsibility for implementing policy, scholars play a pivotal role in helping provide them with valuable and relevant information that can guide their choices. The Belfer Center is a leading institute for political thought, and I am confident this project will help produce important scholarship that will be of great use to leaders in our geopolitically critical region.” 

In announcing the gift, Belfer Center Director Graham Allison said, “With Prince Turki’s generous support, the Belfer Center is pleased to begin this project on the national security challenges that confront the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. We hope to illuminate this complex set of topics and help to develop ideas and recommendations for the United States and allies and partners in the region to address these critical issues.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Harvard’s Belfer Center Establishes Project on Saudi and GCC Security.” Press Release, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, March 27, 2017.