DOHA: The Doha-based Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) is planning to open its branch in Washington DC to encourage academic studies on the US by Arab scholars.
This was announced at the ACRPS conference on Arab-US relations which ended here yesterday.
Nearly 50 scholars from the US, Turkey, Iran and all regions in the Arab world attended the forum titled ‘The Arab World and the US: Interests and Concerns in a Changing Environment (An Academic Perspective)’.
Addressing the concluding session, Haifa Zangana, Iraqi researcher and author, argued that such events were imperative for understanding a situation like the one currently in Iraq.
She clarified that the ease with which 100 ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) militants took control of territory is not something easily explained. It is the role of academics to illuminate such developments and ensure that analysis does not remain at the surface.
Marwan Kabalan, Chairman of the Conference Committee and ACRPS Associate Researcher, said, “Such academic exchanges are usually hosted by American institutions; this conference represented a novel opportunity to have this exchange on Arab terms.”
Conference panellists debated the extent and depth of US influence on the region with David Pollock from Washington Institute asserting that the US has played a marginal role in the Arab revolutions.
The influence of Iran and Russia on Arab-US relations was presented by Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University) and John Parker (Woodrow Wilson Center), respectively. Arab scholars used the conference as an opportunity to collectively recognise avenues of Arab agency and its impact on the future of the region. In this regard, the importance of seeing the US as more than a hegemonic power was acknowledged.