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, 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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Public Debate Over the Abraham Accords Reflects Range of Views on Normalization in the Gulf

While political narratives on Israel are shifting under the influence of some determined state leaders, resistance to normalization remains across Gulf societies.

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Populism on the Rise in Kuwait as Elections Loom

Under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic and the political imperatives of upcoming elections, populism is raging in Kuwait. It colors public discourse high and low, from elite campaigns to root out corruption to grassroot demands to expel guest workers.

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Max Weber in Arabia: Saudi’s Character Enrichment Program

As the Saudi government manages the fallout from collapsing oil revenue, it will be seeking greater contributions from the Saudi public. A little-known program to instill the productive values of entrepreneurship, hard work, and optimism may have found its moment.

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The Big Gamble of Mohammed bin Salman – and Saudi Arabia

Aggressive moves both at home and in global oil markets demonstrate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s control over decision making, with the Saudi public invested as never before.

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Mark C. Thompson on the Identity of Saudi Male Youth

Kristin Smith Diwan sat down with Mark C. Thompson to discuss his research on the generational shift in attitudes of Saudi men.

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Oman’s New Sultan Unlikely to Pursue Qaboos’ Monopoly of Power

Sultan Haitham will need to balance powerful interests while engaging all parties, especially as he tackles economic policy.

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U.S-Iranian Tensions: The Gulf Arab States

Kristin Smith Diwan and Hussein Ibish discuss the role for the Gulf Arab states in de-escalating tensions between Iran and the United States.

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Kuwait Shakes Up Its Government amid Charges of Corruption

Kuwait’s government resigns amid charges of embezzlement, as both the Parliament and ruling family prepare for impending elections – and a looming succession.

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Bahrain’s Royal Family Adjusts for the Future

The recent elevation of Bahrain’s young prince, Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, to national security advisor is the latest indication of maneuvers to secure the future hierarchy of the monarchy.