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.

The Future of Hydrogen Development in the Gulf

On January 25, AGSIW hosted a discussion on hydrogen in the Gulf.

Where Are China-Gulf Relations Headed in 2024?

On January 23, AGSIW hosted a discussion on China-Gulf relations.

2024 Outlook

On January 9, AGSIW hosted a virtual roundtable with its leadership and scholars as they looked ahead and assessed trends likely to shape the Gulf region and U.S. foreign policy during the coming year.

China-GCC FTA Negotiations and Prospects for Broader Economic Collaboration

On April 5, AGSIW hosted a discussion on the potential free trade agreement between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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Neom Is Becoming a Destination of Destinations

The longer-term desirability of Neom’s destinations depends largely on the fast-changing domestic environment within Saudi Arabia, yet a tough regional neighborhood will keep Saudi planners on their toes.

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Saudi Regional Headquarters Program Deadline Looms

Beneath Saudi officials’ tough talk on the Regional Headquarters Program lies a strong desire for constructive engagement with top global firms and attracting greater inflows of foreign investment.

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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.

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Grow Forth and Prosper Competitively

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.