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Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads
David Rundell, American Diplomat and leading expert on Saudi Arabia, in conversation with Ambassador Robert Jordan

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Time Zone: America/Chicago
Local Time: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Following a discussion with Ben Hubbard earlier this summer that closely examined Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Ambassador Robert Jordan will take a broader look at Saudi Arabia and its place in the world in discussion with David Rundell, an American diplomat and one of the nation’s leading experts on the Kingdom.

Rundell’s latest book, “Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads,” poses important questions about the future of Saudi Arabia in light of the country’s Vision 2030 plans to modernize. While sweeping reforms to Saudi laws, governance and culture have been hoped for by many for years, it remains to be seen what effect the Vision 2030 plans will truly have on the daily lives of Saudis and the role the country plays on the world stage.

As a diplomat, David Rundell spent 15 years living and working in Saudi Arabia. His career in the foreign service included 30 years of service across the Arab world. Influential in many American-Saudi trade negotiations, Rundell has cultivated a vast network of Saudi sources, contributing to his access to the inner workings of the Kingdom and his own intimate knowledge. He is a founding partner of Arabia Analytica, a political and economic consulting firm that considers itself a “navigator for the Middle East, Russia and Energy Markets.” Rundell holds a B.A. in Economics from Colgate University and a M.Phil in Middle East Studies from Oxford University.

Robert W. Jordan is Diplomat in Residence and adjunct professor of political science in the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs at Southern Methodist University. His service as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia began in the wake of the September 11 attacks. He was a partner in the international law firm Baker Botts L.L.P. and headed the firm’s Middle East practice based in Dubai until his retirement in 2014. His memoir, Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11, was published by Potomac Books.

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