Middle East Monitor is to host an event on the recent political events in Saudi Arabia. The programme will take place on Saturday, 18 November, in Central London.
The day-long conference will bring together experts from a variety of fields to discuss the challenges that the country is facing both at home and abroad. Three panel discussions will be held over the course of the day. The first will revisit the history of the Kingdom and shed light on its current political structure. Subsequent panels will examine how the Saudi government is treating the human rights situation in the country and the obstacles it faces in trying to promote economic development.
The event is particularly relevant given the recent crackdown in Saudi Arabia against those allegedly suspected of corruption. This has seen the arrest of several princes, prominent businessmen and former government ministers, as well as around 200 other citizens. Tensions have also been sparked with Lebanon, amid uncertainty about the safety of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is said to be held in Saudi Arabia against his will.
The former leader of Britain's Liberal Democrats, Lord Paddy Ashdown, and former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will deliver keynote speeches at the event.
Victoria Brittain will moderate the first panel entitled "The making of the Kingdom and how we got here". The panel will include Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics' Middle East Centre; Dr Pierre Conesa, a lecturer at the Paris Institute for Political Studies; and Professor Ahmed Al-Dubai of Edinburgh Napier University.
Former Minister for International Development Clare Short will be the moderator of the second discussion. "The crisis of human rights and the façade of liberalisation" will feature the founder of human rights monitor ALQST, Yahya Assiri, and journalists specialising in the Middle East, Hugh Miles and Bill Law.
The final discussion of the day, "Challenges facing Saudi Arabia; Vision 2030 and the question of economics", will be moderated by Professor Penny Green from Queen Mary's University in London, who will be joined by economic commentator Simon Constable and economist Jason Tuvey.
Some 150 people are expected to attend the event, which is already heavily oversubscribed. Coverage of the conference will be updated on the MEMO website via a live blog throughout the day, as well on social media.