Kristin Smith Diwan

Senior Resident Scholar

Kristin Smith Diwan is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Her current projects concern generational change, nationalism, and the evolution of Islamism in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Her analysis of Gulf affairs has appeared in many publications, among them Foreign Affairs, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post.

Diwan was previously an assistant professor at the American University School of International Service and has held visiting scholar positions at the George Washington University and Georgetown University. From 2013-14 she served as a visiting senior fellow at the Atlantic Council where she published on youth movements and participated in the Strategic Dialogue for a New US-Gulf Partnership.

Diwan received her PhD from Harvard University and holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She completed her undergraduate degree at Baylor University in Texas, her home state.

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The Pope’s Visit and Emirati Soft Power

Pope Francis' historic visit to the UAE, the first by the head of the Roman Catholic Church to the Arabian Peninsula, represents the most high-profile of a series of initiatives positioning the UAE as a champion of interfaith dialogue, moderation, and pluralism.

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Saudi Arabia Reassigns Roles within a More Centralized Monarchy

As Saudi Arabia moves toward more centralized authority over national security and intelligence functions, will these measures serve to check or further empower the crown prince?

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Bahrain’s Carefully Managed Elections Remake Parliament

On November 24 and December 1 Bahrain held elections for the lower house of Parliament and municipal councils. The new members – absent representation by once-influential opposition societies and dominated by political independents and newcomers – will face a strenuous test with austerity measures looming.

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MbS – with an Assist from the King – Shores up Support at Home

In the wake of the Khashoggi affair, Saudi Arabia's King Salman is rallying royals and courting the public on behalf of his embattled son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Will this injection of traditional prestige and patronage reassure MbS’s skeptics at home and abroad?

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The Geoeconomics of Reconstruction in Yemen

The conflict in Yemen has exacted a disastrous toll on the country. This paper considers the outside forces in the conflict, seeking to elucidate who they are, what the nature is of their involvement, and what their converging and conflicting interests mean for reconstruction.

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Mohammed bin Salman’s Media Obsession – and What it Means for Dissent

Control over the media is central to the Saudi crown prince’s transformation program – and to Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

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Mohammed bin Salman’s Short Visit to Kuwait

Kuwait has made the strategic decision to deepen bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia, but navigating this critical relationship will be a challenge for the small emirate.

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The GCC is Becoming More – and Less – than the Sum of Its Parts

As the United States and its Gulf partners intensify deliberations toward convening a U.S.-Gulf summit once scheduled for May, all parties are adjusting to new objectives and a shifting strategic landscape.

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Saudi Arabia Sets Goals for Football On and Off the Pitch

New Saudi leadership has high hopes for economic and political payoffs tied to a heightened priority on football.