On the occasion of the visit to Oslo by the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, a closed roundtable discussion on the Middle East was hosted by PRIO, in association with the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) at the Doha Institute.
The roundtable included officials from both Qatar’s and Norway’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as researchers from PRIO. The event was facilitated by PRIO Director Kristian Berg Harpviken, alongside Sultan Barakat of the Brookings Doha Centre, who will head CHS as of 1st September this year.
His Excellency, Sheik Mohammed, reiterated the Qatari interest in forging closer relationships with Norway, in particular on foreign policy issues. The seriousness of the situation in Syria, Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East requires a more joint-up approach on both the political and the humanitarian fronts.
Roundtable participants were introduced to the work of PRIO, and discussed the role that independent research and analysis can play in shaping foreign policy and support efforts for fostering peace and for effective developmental and humanitarian response. Concretely, participants also discussed the possibility of a joint comparative study on Norwegian and Qatari approaches to mediation focusing on lessons learnt, challenges as well as opportunities for future coordinated efforts.
The event was also an occasion for signing a Memorandum of Understanding between PRIO and CHS. The two institutions are mutually committed to collaboration in research, education, and outreach, with a particular focus on the Middle East. A new centre, housed at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, CHS aims to create an environment for scholarly work on conflict and humanitarian issues to take root in the Middle East, in collaboration with a number of internationally recognized institutions, including PRIO.