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  • Series on the Nationalization of the Workforce in GCC Countries

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New York University Abu Dhabi Institute

Background and Objective

The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been pursuing nationalization initiatives aimed at gradually reducing, and eventually eliminating, their dependence on foreign labor. To meet this objective, each government has adopted an economic development strategy (better known as Bahrainization, Emiratization, Kuwaitization, Omanization, Qatarization, and Saudization) that target the employment of native workers through various affirmative action regulations, educational reforms, population policies, and economic diversification plans. Although such policies are yet to yield the desired results, they could eventually have considerable impact both within and outside the Gulf region. This two-year series includes four workshops and aims to address different aspects of these nationalization strategies, including their historical and contextual backgrounds, the factors that motivated them, the approaches adopted, the directions they have taken, their outcomes (present and potential), and the challenges that the governments face as they pursue them.


The objective of the series is to provide a forum for in-depth examination and discussion of GCC nationalization initiatives, bringing together a core group of academics, researchers, government officials, and representatives of international organizations.

Organizing institutions

This workshop is convened by Samira A. Atallah, of NYU¿s Center for Advanced Social Science Research and of NYUAD Institute. It is part of a CASSR project supported by NYUADI under the umbrella of its Regional Collaborative Seminars (RCS) program. The RCS program is designed to stimulate substantive research and deep collaboration among NYUAD, the NYUAD Institute, and scholars in the UAE, the Gulf, and the larger Middle East and North Africa region.