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AUK Professor, Hesham Al Awadi, Provides Critical Analysis on GCC Performance

Dr. Hesham Al Awadi, Associate Professor of History and Political Science at AUK was featured a documentary film, entitled Close to the Scene, which focused on the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The film displayed an overview of the history of the GCC, as well as provided an analytical review of its achievements and performance since its establishment in 1981.

In the documentary, Al Awadi explained that the fact that the majority of the citizens of the GCC countries share one language, one religion, and ethnic background, makes the GCC very strong. He compared that to the European Union, whose citizens come from a wider range of linguistic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.

The tribal structure of the Gulf societies creates links between families that can be extended beyond geographical boarders, whereby a single tribe could have many family branches based in different countries, says Al Awadi in the documentary, describing the GCC to one body consisting of interconnected veins.

According to Al Awadi, members of the GCC are not capitalizing enough on this natural bond. They seldom come to an agreement on major developmental projects or come up with innovative approaches for improvement. He explained the reason behind this was due to the minimal participation of each country's citizens in the decision making process. "All the decisions are made by the political elites. The voices of those on the streets are not heard in the council," said Al Awadi.

With today's technological advancements, citizens have become well-informed, and highly aware "and can have access to events that the TV cameras may not". This introduces a new potential to include citizens in the decision making process within the GCC.

The European Union has discovered the significant contribution people can make to the overall regional reform. Accordingly, they established the European Parliament as a platform for the people's voice. According to Al Awadi, the GCC needs this kind of revolutionary initiatives that recognize the significant role people can play in political activism and policy change.

The documentary film was produced and aired by Kuwait National and Satellite TV Channel. For the interested reader, the full documentary can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nztuIugC0lA

Dr. Hesham Al Awadi, Associate Professor of History and Political Science

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 3rd July 2013

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