Workshop 1 / GRM 2024
The Gulf Family: Transition, Tradition, and Tenacity


From the 1960s to the 1970s, Gulf Arab cities underwent a period of rapid urbanization and modernization, a phenomenon that impacted the fabric of societies. As suburbanization became a new way of life, families in the region increasingly had to deal with the transition from extended to nuclear families. Fast forward to the present, we are witnessing similar transformations as the Gulf states aim not only to make their workforce competitive but also to address the youth bulge with an eye on the next generation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for instance, has made wholesale changes across various sectors ranging from education to labor policies, which in turn impact the private sphere — the family. Others such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar with smaller national populations have acted to attract the best foreign talent. Amid these changes, how will the Gulf family react in terms of tradition preservation, kinship ties, and its relationship with the non-national segment? What are the prospects for Gulf women? How does the Gulf family understand tolerance towards customs that are foreign to them?





Consultant for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
Research Fellow, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore



Director of Community Services Sector, Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)
Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Society, UAE University

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