Tue, 28 May 2013
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter of oil, a key US ally and one of the last absolute monarchies. It is a country of extremes; while it is controlled by a small group of ruling princes with an average age of 81, 60% of its population is under 20. Healthcare and education are free, gasoline is cheaper than water, there are no taxes and everyone receives subsidized energy. It is considered key to stability in the Middle East, yet it is known for producing terrorists, most notoriously Osama Bin Laden. Only recently were women granted the right to get photo identification and start a business, but they are still not allowed to drive or take on most jobs. Despite all of this Karen Elliot House argues that the majority of Saudis do not want democracy per se, but more transparency and a government based on law instead of royal fiat. House will discuss her assessment of Saudi Arabia's future and the choices facing the next generation of Saudi ruling princes.
Speaker: Karen House, Adjunct Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University