High-Level Panel on Iran vs Saudi Arabia. Geopolitical struggle in the Middle East (5/12)

High-Level Panel on Iran vs Saudi Arabia. Geopolitical struggle in the Middle East (5/12)

Vereniging voor de Verenigde Naties – United Nations Association Flanders Belgium

nodigt u vriendelijk uit:
kindly invites you:

High-Level Panel on Iran vs Saudi Arabia. Geopolitical struggle in the Middle East

at the occasion of

Opening Ceremony of the 15th edition of VVN Inter-University Model United Nations 2019

Thursday 5 December 2019, 18h00-20h00
Followed by a reception

Egmont Palace, Arenberg Room
Petit Sablon 8 bis, 1000 Brussels

Abstract: In the Middle East, a ‘shadow war’ is currently raging between two regional powers; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The fight is bitter. It is waged on many fronts; in Syria, in Yemen, in Iraq, across the strategically important Strait of Hormuz since June 2019, but recently also directly. On 15 September 2019, an oil refinery of Saudi Arabia was hit by more than twenty allegedly Iranian drones. The situation has become  tense and the conflict potential is so high that a direct conflict between both nations cannot be ruled out. But if this were to happen the ramifications for the whole region would be dire. The geopolitical struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran can be seen through many looking glasses; the regional component of Shia versus Sunni, the political component of a kingdom against a theocratic republic, the energy dimension of an oil economy at the summit of its power or in potential decline versus a country endowed with natural gas – a probable ‘bridge fuel’ towards a renewable energy future, the regional aspirations of both countries in the region, the question of the potential usage of the nuclear program of Iran for military, non-civilian purposes and the havoc this would create in terms of skewed power balances and a potential tsunami of new nuclear weapon states, the security destabilization since twenty years in the region – which has led to both countries supporting their proxies (in)directly in regional wars, the humanitarian and civilian cost which the proxy conflict between both powers have caused in such countries as Iraq, Syria and Yemen, etc. The complexity of this shadow war is so dense that it is difficult to disentangle.  


17h30: Registration

18h00: Welcome by Peter Wollaert, Chair United Nations Association Flanders Belgium, UNITAR Fellow & Managing Director CIFAL Flanders

18h05:  Opening speech by Julie Bynens, Secretary General, Government of Flanders Departement of Foreign Affairs

18h25: Introduction to the case of the 15th edition of the VVN Inter-University Model United Nations 2019 by Prof. David Criekemans, University of Antwerp & Senior Associate Fellow Egmont Institute

18h40: High-Level Panel on Iran vs Saudi Arabia. Geopolitical struggle in the Middle East

Chair: Prof. Jan Wouters, Professor of International Law, KU Leuven, Honorary President, United Nations Association Flanders Belgium

A debate with:

  • Ambassador Bert Versmessen, Diplomat, Team Leader UNSC membership Belgium 2019 – 2020
  • Prof. Tom Sauer, Professor International Relations, University of Antwerp
  •  Brigitte Herremans, PhD Research Fellow at Human Rights Centre, UGent

19h40: Concluding Remarks and Q&A

20h00: Reception in ‘Mirror Gallery’ of the Egmont Palace

21h00: End

Deelname is gratis voor VVN leden en studenten (op vertoon van studentenkaart) maar gelet op het beperkt aantal plaatsen vragen we u vriendelijk om u te registreren voor 2 december. Niet-studenten en niet-leden wordt gevraagd om lid te worden van de VVN of een bijdrage van 10 EUR te betalen om het High-Level Panel bij te wonen. De betaling dient ons tegen ten laatste 4 december te bereiken. 

Participation is free for UNA Flanders Belgium members and students (student card mandatory) but due to limited places we kindly ask you to register before 2 December. Non-students and non-UNA Flanders Belgium members will be asked to become a member of UNA Flanders Belgium or to pay a fee of 10 EUR to attend the High-Level Panel. The payment need to reach us by the latest on 4 December.

The 15th edition of the VVN Inter-University Model United Nations is an initiative of UNA Flanders Belgium and UNYA Flanders Belgium in collaboration with the Egmont Institute and with the support of the Government of Flanders.