Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Gulf Research Council's license not renewed

The Gulf Research Council has been denied a renewal of its license to operate in Dubai "due to objections by the Dubai government to various aspects of the GRC’s work". The full press release from the GRC follows:

Important Announcement: GRC to Undergo Restructuring
Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Gulf Research Center
Category: Press Release
No of Pages: 1 Pages

Abstract: Due to rumors circulating about the future of the Gulf Research Center, we felt the need to set the matter straight and inform our network, both individuals and partner organizations, about the current situation. To be very clear at the outset, the Gulf Research Center is not closing and will continue with all of its activities. However, circumstances beyond our control have resulted in the need for the GRC to restructure its operations.

The main reason lies in the fact that the Gulf Research Center has not been allowed to renew it operating license as per the law of the United Arab Emirates. The GRC has existed and operated in Dubai, UAE under a ten-year professional license (#519601) since July 2000. The license covered the areas of social science research, publishing, translation, conference organization and consultancy work among others.

Upon the expiry of the license in July 2010, immediate efforts were undertaken with the UAE Government of Dubai - Department for Economic Development to apply for a renewal. These efforts were initially blocked with no concrete reasoning. Only at the end of October 2010 were we told verbally that a license renewal would not be forthcoming due to objections by the Dubai government to various aspects of the GRC’s work. We consider none of these objections to be valid and have answered each one in thorough detail. However, subsequent attempts to resolve the situation have not been successful.

We consider the decision by the Dubai authorities to be unfortunate and unnecessary. At the same time, and despite our considerable financial losses, we are fully committed to respect the legal requirements associated with such a decision. We have therefore been given little choice but to relocate our activities for the time being to our existing offices in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Geneva and Cambridge, UK. Members of the staff will be moved according to our requirements. Furthermore and in correspondence with this shift, it is our intention to expand both our regional and international activities.

Outside of this re-structuring, nothing else changes. Please be ensured that the Gulf Research Center will continue with its work and that all existing commitments and agreements with individuals, with partner institutions and with corporate members remain in effect.

Dr. Abdulaziz O. Sager

Added. Gulf News reports
The GRC is one of the few think tanks operating in the UAE and the GCC that is not directly affiliated to a government or an international institution.

Its founder and chairman Abdul Aziz Saqer said the decision was not communicated to the think tank in writing. “I’m disappointed because after I spent Dh150 million on this institute in Dubai in the past ten years, brought thousands of people to Dubai, trained hundreds of UAE students, I’m [being forced] to leave. We put Dubai on the research map,” he said.


The GRC was rated as number two think tank in the Middle East in the 2010 Global 'Go-To Think Tanks' survey of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the University of Pennsylvania.

Its positions have closely reflected those of Gulf governments, particularly Saudi Arabia, but Saqer said it is an entirely independent and audited entity, funded solely by him.


Since it was established, the GRC has built strong links with prominent think tanks around the world, and its researchers make regular media appearances on issues pertaining to the region.

Some of its former researchers have also been recruited by UAE ministries.

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Blogger Duffy said...

For the uninitiated, can you give me/us an idea of what they did or said that might be considered objectionable?

7:56 PM  

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