The Gulf/2000 Project Change, Cooperation and Communication in the Persian Gulf

About Gulf/2000

The Gulf/2000 Project

The Gulf/2000 Project was created in 1993 as a service to scholars, government officials, business people, journalists and other specialists who have a professional association with the Persian Gulf and Gulf studies.

The Executive Director is Gary Sick, the Deputy Director is Lawrence Potter, the Assistant Director for Information is Laleh Khalili, with additional input from Roozbeh Shirazi, and the Assistant Director for Membership Services is Gina Cinali.

The Gulf/2000 Project is sponsored by the Middle East Institute at Columbia University in New York City. The initial inspiration and startup funding for the project was provided by the W.Alton Jones Foundation. Today, major funding is provided by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, and the ExxonMobil Foundation. The project is not associated with any government.

The Gulf/2000 project addresses major issues concerning the Gulf region on a multi-dimensional basis. It has several objectives:

  • To establish a network of specialists from every Gulf country and throughout the world to exchange information and expertise on important issues, regardless of political or ideological affiliation.

  • To organize a series of conferences and workshops where participants can get to know each other and become accustomed to an exchange of views on a Gulf-wide basis.

  • To establish and maintain an electronic library, research facility and live information exchange on the Internet, accessible to all participants in the project. The creation of an "electronic community" permits participants to maintain contact on a continuous basis and is intended to promote an on-going dialogue among a larger group of experts than those able to attend the workshops.

  • To commission a series of research papers from experts in the field to examine long-term trends affecting the future stability and security of the Persian Gulf region. These papers serve as the intellectual agenda for the workshops and are edited and published as research texts.

Ten international conferences have been held. The first was at the ENI training facility at Castelgandolfo, Italy, in July 1994. The second meeting, which focused on security issues, was held in March 1995 at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The third conference was held at the Rockefeller Foundation estate at Bellagio in northern Italy in July 1995. The fourth, in conjunction with the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London and the Centre for Strategic Studies in Qatar, was held in Doha in October 1997. The fifth, again at the ENI center in Italy, was held in July 1998. The sixth focused on "Iran in the 21st Century," and was co-sponsored by the Centre for World Dialogue in Nicosia, Cyprus, in June 1999. In November 1999, the seventh conference was held in Salalah, Oman, on the subject of "Confidence-Building Measures in the Gulf". The eighth meeting, which examined "the Future of Iraq," was held in July 2000 in collaboration with the Centre for World Dialogue in Nicosia, Cyprus. Gulf/2000 convened its ninth international conference in October 2001 on the topic of "Unfinished Business: Iran, Iraq and the Aftermath of War." The meeting was held at the invitation of the Rockefeller Foundation at their conference center in Bellagio, Italy. The tenth conference, held in Limassol, Cyprus in October 2004 with the cooperation of the Centre for World Dialogue, focused on "The Persian Gulf in History".

In addition, a workshop on Iranian nuclear policy was held in Camogli, Italy, in early 1997, followed by a series of workshops on nuclear and chemical weapons at Columbia University. Gulf/2000 also sponsored special panels on exchange activities between the United States and Iran and on Persian Gulf issues at the Middle East Studies Association annual conferences in 1996 and 1997. We have also collaborated with a number of other organizations on a series of conferences and workshops concerning Persian Gulf developments. Gulf/2000 was the co-sponsor of a conference on "Borders, Battles, and Cultural Bonds: A Historical and Political Perspective on Gulf Societies," held at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2005.

Many of the papers prepared for Gulf/2000 conferences have been published in three books that have appeared to date, edited by Gary Sick and Lawrence Potter. These include "The Persian Gulf at the Millennium: Essays in Politics, Economy, Security, and Religion" (St. Martin's Press, 1997); "Security in the Persian Gulf: Origins, Obstacles and the Search for Consensus" (Palgrave, 2002), and "Iran, Iraq, and the Legacies of War? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). A fourth volume on "The Persian Gulf in History" is in preparation and is expected to appear in 2007. Papers from the conference on "The Future of Iraq" were published in the journal Middle East Policy in October 2000, and a synopsis of members' views was published as "Women in Iran: An Online Discussion" in Middle East Policy in the December 2001 issue.

The Electronic Library of The Gulf/2000 Project

As part of this project, an electronic library has been created that is available to authorized members who have access to the Internet. Membership is limited to scholars and analysts with a professional interest in and association with the Persian Gulf region. Regrettably, students and the public cannot be accepted for membership.

The Gulf/2000 Website

This web site is the latest addition to the Gulf/2000 Project. It is intended to respond to the growing interest in Persian Gulf developments by students and other non-specialists by making available on the World Wide Web some of the materials generated by the project and by providing links to the most important web sites that we have discovered over the years.

For more information, contact Lawrence Potter.

This site was created and designed by John Flaig.
The original maps were prepared by M.R. Izady.
The development of this site was made possible by the support of the Ford Foundation.



Gary Sick
Executive Director


Lawrence G. Potter
Deputy Director


Laleh Khalili
Director of Information


Gina Eichner Cinali
Membership Director


Roozbeh Shirazi
Assistant Director of Communications

School of International & Public Affairs

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