May 31, 2016, 2:00 pm - January 30, 2023, 3:43 am


SEIU Conference Center
1800 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

The Middle East Insitute (MEI) was pleased to host Emirati commentator and MEI non-resident scholar Sultan al Qassemi for a discussion about the growing role of Gulf Arab cities.

Qassemi argued that cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha are eclipsing the Arab world's traditional centers of power and culture, positioning themselves as global hubs, driven by investment in energy, finance, education, culture, and transportation. He addressed how their growing political and cultural clout is shaping regional dynamics and the impact their influence is having on long-standing alliances.

Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf moderated the discussion.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

UAE-based Columnist and MEI Scholar
Sultan Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist whose articles have appeared in The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Room for Debate, Foreign Policy, as well as other notable publications. Al Qassemi is also a prominent commentator on Arab affairs on Twitter. Rising in prominence during the Arab Spring, his tweets became a major news source, rivalling the major news networks at the time, until TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” Al Qassemi is an MIT Media Labs director’s fellow, and in 2014, Arabian Business placed Al Qassemi in its list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Arabs under the "Thinkers" category. He continues both to write and tweet about the Arab world both from his home in Sharjah, as well as while giving lectures internationally. He is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates.

David Rothkopf (Moderator)
CEO and Editor, FP Group
David Rothkopf is CEO and editor of the FP Group, where he oversees all editorial, publishing, events, and other operations of the company, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine. He is also the president and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory company specializing in global political risk, energy, resource, technology and emerging markets issues. Rothkopf is the author of numerous internationally acclaimed books, including National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear (PublicAffairs, 2014), Power, Inc. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), Superclass (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), and Running the World (PublicAffairs, 2006). He writes a weekly column for and is the host of The Editor’s Roundtable (The E.R.) podcast, a weekly program that triages the big issues of the day. Additionally, Rothkopf is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, chairman of the National Strategic Investment Dialogue, and serves or has served as a member of the advisory boards of the Center for Global Development, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.