Crises or opportunities? A reflection on the economic, political and security challenges to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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A lecture by HRH Prince Turki al Faisal bin Abdulaziz al Saud on the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the most powerful economy in the Middle East and key ally of the United States and the United Kingdom, is undergoing a dramatic overhaul of its economic system. Faced by continued low oil prices, the Deputy Crown Prince has announced a raft of reforms aimed at diversifying the oil giant away from hydrocarbons, and empowering the private sector.

At this time of unprecedented change, the Kingdom must also readjust to a Middle East region replete with instability, and powerful non-state actors. The re-emergence of Iran on the international stage, following the conclusion of an agreement on its nuclear programme, presents deep challenges for the Kingdom, with the two countries struggling to fill a void left by a retreating United States.

At this crucial time in the Kingdom’s history HRH Prince Turki al Faisal, former Head of Intelligence and former Ambassador to the UK and the USA, offered his views on the many challenges facing Saudi Arabia domestically and internationally, offering insights from expertise gained over decades of serving at the highest levels of government.

Speaker’s Biography

His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal was born on February 15th 1945 in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.  He began his schooling at the Taif Model School and was at Lawrenceville College in New Jersey.  He attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

His Royal Highness Prince Turki was appointed an Advisor in the Royal Court in 1973. From 1977 to 2001, he served as the Director General of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID). In 2002, he was appointed Ambassador of to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. In 2005, Prince Turki was appointed Ambassador to the United States on July 20th 2005, serving until February 2nd 2007.

His Royal Highness Prince Turki is one of the founders of the King Faisal Foundation and is the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, the International Crisis Group and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Finally, Prince Turki is a Commissioner at the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

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