This HH Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah doctoral fellowship is named in honour of His Excellency Khaled al-Duwaisan
Ben Houghton started his doctoral research at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University in October 2020.
His research explores China’s navigation of rivalries and conflicts in the Persian Gulf since the Iranian revolution in 1979. Specifically, Ben researches the contours and impact of Beijing’s strategy to pursue positive relations with all states in the Persian Gulf regional security complex despite tension and hostilities between them. The case studies examined include: the Iranian hostage crisis; the Iran-Iraq war; the Kuwait crisis; hostility between Iraq and the US in the 1990s and early 2000s; tension between Iran and the US and Saudi Arabia; and the GCC split.
Prior to embarking on his doctoral research at Durham University, Ben completed a BA (Hons) in Arabic and Persian at the University of Exeter, graduating summa cum laude, and an MRes in Security, Conflict, and Human Rights at the University of Bristol. Furthermore, Ben has lived and worked in the Middle East for two years and uses Arabic and Persian in his research.
Alongside his role as al-Sabah fellow, Ben is also a non-resident fellow in Warfare and Security at the Cambridge-based think-tank, Middle East and North Africa Forum, where he researches Sino-US competition in the Middle East.