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.

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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.

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Evolving Chinese Demand for Gulf Oil and Gas

China’s willingness to boost imports of discounted Russian crude oil reinforces why Gulf oil- and gas-producing states should strive for diversified energy partnerships.

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Improved Fiscal Outlooks Renew Focus on Gulf Economic Diversification Efforts

The financial windfall from oil and gas exports may boost regional officials’ ambitious economic diversification plans but doesn’t make them foolproof.

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UAE Advances Tax Reform, But Not Too Quickly

With the announcement of a new corporate tax, Emirati officials aim to demonstrate fiscal strength without disrupting the country’s image as an investment hub.

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Growing China-Gulf Economic Relations Have Limits

Economic ties between China and the Gulf states are indeed growing but not necessarily in every direction nor at an infinitely accelerating pace.

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Public Investment Fund Grows, Bets Big on Tech

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund continues to enjoy steady growth aided by technology-focused investments, but the sovereign wealth fund’s 2030 growth target remains distant.

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Saudi Arabia’s Ever More Ambitious Investment Strategy

There is still time for Saudi Arabia to accomplish many of Vision 2030’s foreign investment objectives, but the window of opportunity is closing quickly.

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The Politics of Leverage: Bond Issuances, Debt Dynamics, and State Finances in the Gulf

The underlying economic factors driving debt issuances, issues related to how raised funds are redeployed within local economies, and the implications of looming debt maturities help to paint a comprehensive picture of the state of Gulf Arab economies.

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For UAE Economic Planning, Timing is Everything

The UAE’s push to reinvigorate its economy, in this manner and at this time, is linked to Expo 2020 Dubai, regional competition, and a broader realignment of Emirati foreign policy to better serve economic interests.