Robert Mogielnicki

Senior Resident Scholar, AGSIW

Robert Mogielnicki is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He created and leads the Next Gen Gulf series examining technology trends in Gulf Arab states and Looking East: The China-Gulf Initiative. A specialist in the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa, he is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. The Middle East Policy Council listed Mogielnicki in their inaugural 40 Under 40 awards for influential Middle East experts.

Mogielnicki teaches a graduate-level seminar on China-Middle East and North Africa relations as an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. He is a research mentor for undergraduate students through the Georgetown University Research Opportunities Program and the Laidlaw Undergraduate Leadership and Research Scholarship Programme.

Mogielnicki is also a regional and methodology advisor with Freedom House for a multiyear research project on global media and technology influence. Mogielnicki authors the Middle East and North Africa section of the quarterly “Global Mobility Report” published by Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm, and he is a member of the firm’s board of advisors. Mogielnicki previously served as a human resource development consultant for an Oxford-based research consultancy that operated across the Gulf region. Prior to his consulting career, he worked in journalism, covering political and economic developments in post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia.

His book, A Political Economy of Free Zones in Gulf Arab States, was published by Palgrave Macmillan’s international political economy series in April 2021, and he is currently working on an edited volume examining the political economy of sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. Mogielnicki has authored several book chapters on the politics and economics of Gulf Arab states and the political economy of the broader Middle East. His work and commentary on the region have appeared in Foreign Policy, Bloomberg, Axios, Forbes, Reuters, Nature, Financial Times, The Banker, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Vox, Los Angeles Times, S&P Global, and Nikkei Asia, among other prominent outlets.

Mogielnicki received his DPhil from the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College, where he conducted research in conjunction with the Oriental Institute and Middle East Centre. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, his dissertation examines the political economy of free zones in Gulf Arab countries. He earned his MPhil in modern Middle Eastern studies from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and completed a master’s thesis on labor policy formulation and implementation in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He received his BA from Georgetown University as a double major in Arabic and government, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Mogielnicki specializes in the intersection of politics and economics across Gulf Arab states. He is particularly interested in how these geostrategic states engage in processes of economic transformation through trade and investment policies, labor market interventions, economic diversification, and technological innovation.

Mogielnicki speaks Modern Standard Arabic and the Egyptian dialect, and he possesses a working knowledge of the Tunisian dialect. He is a former recipient of the Sultan Qaboos Arabic Language Scholarship (2007-11) and served as a Critical Language Scholar in Tunisia in 2011. Mogielnicki has lived in the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and Jerusalem.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Strong China-Gulf Energy Ties Spill Into Key Regional Issues

Energy cooperation is a central factor in not only China-Gulf economic relations but also the triangular – and often fraught – relationship among the United States, Gulf states, and China.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Grow Forth and Prosper Competitively

The combination of slowing growth trends and persistently ambitious development plans is likely to increase regional economic competition.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Oman Gets Economic Policymaking Right – For Now

The Omani government deserves credit for sound economic policymaking and reform progress, but the longer-term outlook for the economy remains uncertain.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Major Initiatives Fuel Riyadh’s Development Ambitions

Riyadh has charged back into the development limelight in recent months, highlighting the capital’s central role in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic transformation agenda.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Omani and Saudi Economic Zones Create Avenues for Cooperation

Given Saudi Arabia’s economic might and Oman’s specialized knowledge, cooperation – rather than competition – in the economic zone space may serve both countries’ interests.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

China-Gulf Ties: Tougher Acts to Follow Successful Show

Inconsistent policymaking, slowing growth figures, and a shrinking population may put to question China’s collective strength as an economic partner for the Gulf Arab states.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

2022 FIFA World Cup: Tourism Springboard or Critical Spotlight?

Despite subjecting the small Gulf state to criticism, over the long term, hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup enhances Qatar’s brand recognition and can help accelerate the country’s tourism agenda.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Neom’s Ambition Goes Into Hyperdrive

The development strategy behind Neom is coming into focus: Planners want the megaproject to reflect something greater than the sum of its parts while trying to tether lofty ambitions to reality with major global event commitments.

Blog Post content-type in which the post is published

Expats Central to Gulf’s Post-Pandemic, Oil-Fueled Growth Plans

Regional governments are balancing a desire to attract high net worth individuals and skilled expatriates against the need to ensure the economic welfare of their citizenry.