Asian Studies

The Asian Studies Unit was created in 2015. The Unit is dedicated to the study of Asia and Asian societies. As one of the more regionally specialized units at the KFCRIS, the Asian Studies Unit aims to promote greater understanding of Asia within the Gulf and the wider Arab world.  It also seeks to enhance the quality of academic, journalistic, and policy making coverage and discussions surrounding the region and its ever more complex relationship to Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East (alternatively identified as West Asia). It is also purposed towards building connections with other Asia-focused research institutions and think tanks around the world.


The Unit’s research agenda is bifurcated between a focus on contemporary Asian international relations, politics, economics, and security topics on the one hand, and a concentration on historical, anthropological and cultural-social issues on the other. This broad research agenda enables the Unit to engage with multiple disciplines, generate a diverse set of studies and, more importantly, allows it to maintain its fidelity to the spirit of KFCRIS as a think tank and academic institution.




Mohammed Al-Sudairi, Unit Head

Visiting Scholar at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies (Peking University) from March to August 2018.

Publications at the KFCRIS:

 "The People's Republic in the Red Sea: A Holistic Analysis of China's Discursive and Material Footprint in the Region," Dirasat 52, January 2020

"Syria’s “China Dream”: Between the Narratives and Realities," Commentary, September 2019.

“The Communist Party of China’s United Front Work in the Gulf: The “Ethnic Minority Overseas Chinese” of Saudi Arabia as a Case Study,” Dirasat 34, March 2018.

“Some Observations on the Significance of President Xi Jinping’s visit and the Problem of the Sino-Saudi Relationship,” Commentary, September 2017.

“Changing State-Religion Dynamics in Xi-Jinping's China: And its Consequences for Sino-Saudi Relations,” Dirasat 19, January 2017.


Contact: malsudairi@kfcris.com



Othman Almazyad, Research Fellow

Publications at the KFCRIS:

“Japanese Administration with a Different Perspective: Introduction to Basic Concepts,” Special Report, September 2018.

“Reasons for the Continuity and Longevity of Japanese Companies,” Special Report, December 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).



Faris Al-Sulayman, Research Fellow



Shahad Turkistani, Assistant Researcher (2017-20)

Publications at the KFCRIS:

"The Policymaking Process to Restart Japanese Nuclear Power Plants," Special Report, December 31, 2018 (In collaboration with King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center).


Associate Fellows

Wan Lei, Senior Associate Fellow

Hung Takwai, Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Hong Kong

Publications at the KFCRIS:

The Birth of Religious Tolerance for Foreign Religions in Late Imperial China: A Brief Review from the Perspective of the Relationship between Religion and the State,Dirasat 55, April 2020.

Latifa Abdullah al-Saud, Harvard University East Asian Studies

Publications at the KFCRIS:

Deployments of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces in the Middle East: Reaction and Reassurance,Commentary, April 2020.

Visiting Scholars

Wang Tingyi, PhD Candidate at Tsinghua University

Period of Stay: November 2015 – July 2016

Hyeju Jeong, PhD Candidate at Duke University

Period of Stay: January 2017 – July 2017

Publications at the KFCRIS:

“A Song of the Red Sea: Communities and Networks of Chinese Muslims in the Hijaz,” Dirasat 13, July 2016.

Alanoud Al-Sabah, PhD Candidate at Barcelona University

Period of Stay: January 2020 – February 2020

‘Chinese’ Development Zones in the Gulf: The Case of Kuwait’s North Economic Zone (Silk City),Special Report, May 2020. 


Kyle Haddad-Fonda, “What Knowledge is sought in China? Arab Visitors and Chinese Propaganda,” Dirasat 48, 27 August 2019. 

Makio Yamada, “How Did Japan Achieve a 1% Unemployment Rate?: Facilitating the Education-to-Employment Transition,” Dirasat 30, December 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).

Ma Hailong, "The History of Chinese Muslims’ Migration into Malaysia," Dirasat 27, September 2017.

Makio Yamada, "King Salman's Visit to Tokyo: In Search of New Concepts for Saudi-Japanese Relations," Commentary, 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).

Makio Yamada, "Saudi Vision 2030 and the Transformation of Saudi-Japanese Economic Relations," Special Report, January 2017 (Political Economy Unit publication).



Workshop: Organized by Asian Studies Unit, “China’s Role in Africa and its Global South Diplomacy: A Conversation with Lina Ben Abdallah”, 19 August 2020.

Workshop: Organized by Asian Studies Unit, “China and the World: A Conversation with Richard McGregor”, 6 July, 2020.

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, “Politics, Foreign Policy and Political Economy of Contemporary China”, ChinaMed Summer School, 3 July, 2020.

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, “The Arabs of Modern China: Intellectuals and Diasporas”, Online Cultural Majlis, 16 May 2020.

Workshop: Collaboration between Asian Studies Unit and the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, “COVID-19 Pandemic Repercussions on Gulf-Asian Relations,” 13 May 2020.

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, “Symposium on Asian Development Prospect and Challenges under the Pandemic”, Boao Forum for Asia Academy, 8 May 2020.

Workshop: Collaboration between Asian Studies Unit and Kuwait University, “Asia in Gulf Eyes" (Second Gulf-China Studies Meeting), 16 February 2020.

Presentation: Shahad Turkistani, "The Turkestan Islamic Party’s presence in Syria", The International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), War Studies Department, King’s College, 27- 28 January 2020.

Presentation: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, "The Middle East In Transformation: Are there Lessons from East Asia?”, The Middle East Institute, The National University of Singapore, 15- 16 January 2020.

Asian Studies Unit 2016-2017 Activities


Translation Project

Translation of Chinese-language Archival Material on the Arab World from the Tang and Song eras. Overseen by Dr. Wan Lei.

Reconnecting Asia Project

Cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS’ "Reconnecting Asia" project in Gulf-related data collection.  

The reconnecting Asia initiative tracks infrastructure developments that are reshaping economic and geopolitical realities across the Asian continent. Through data curation and objective analysis, the project aims to fill Asia’s infrastructure-information gap. The objective of this partnership is to share data, increase transparency, and enable analysis. 

To know more about this project, click here.

ChinaMed Research Project

Cooperation with the ChinaMed Project. The ChinaMed Project was jointly launched in 2011 by the Center for Mediterranean Area Studies of Peking University (CMAS, 北京大学地中海区域研究中心)and the Torino World Affairs Institute, part of the TOChina Hub developed by the University of Torino. It aims at offering independent and objective analysis on the deepening interconnections between the greater Mediterranean region and the People’s Republic of China.

The objective of the cooperation with the ChinaMed Project is to exchange data, analyze trends and developments, and help produce research on various aspects of China’s engagement with the Middle East and broader Mediterranean region.








King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies

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Email: kfcris@kfcris.com

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