Short Biography


Andy is the founder president of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Network for Research and Development, a regional scientific organization with the core objective to establish a science-policy interface in the Arab Gulf states. Besides this honorary position, her research in pursuit of a full professorship in Germany is analyzing the future implications of a shifting security paradigm in the region. This multidisciplinary approach is based on the hypothesis that traditional Gulf security formulations will be insufficient to cope with those intense, extensive, prolonged, and comprehensive threats to which lives and freedom are vulnerable in this region. Hence it suggests moving away from the obsolete tendency to think of security only in military terms and recognizes that the wellbeing of GCC nationals themselves is also threatened by environmental degradation, climate change, demographic imbalances, inequity, unemployment, food insecurity, energy security, public health concerns, poverty, and the progressive loss of their (Islamic) cultural identity. In the past six years, her research concentrated mainly on evaluating heritage preservation and tourism development in Saudi Arabia through the lens of human as well as national security. Further Andy organized and chaired the ‘Sustainable Tourism Development & Heritage Preservation in the GCC Initiative’ at the 2012 Exeter Gulf Studies Conference hosted by the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Together with her colleagues Dr. Alan S. Weber and Prof. Dr. Faisal Al-Mubarak, she served as the main editor of the first comprehensive assessment of the tourism sector in the region. Entitled “Tourism Development in the GCC States: Reconciling Economic Growth, Conservation and Sustainable Development”, this pioneer contribution will be published with Springer in New York this coming spring.

Some of Andy’s other recent publications or work in progress include: “Environmental Degradation, Climate Uncertainties and Human Vulnerabilities - Realm of Possible Actions toward a Shifting Security Paradigm in the Arab Gulf Monarchies”, in: Scheffran, J., Brzoska, M., Brauch, H.G., Link, P. M., Schilling, J.. Climate Change, Human Security and Violent Conflict - Challenges to Societal Stability. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace. Berlin: Springer, 2012, p. 387 – p. 408; “Food Security in the GCC”, in Ramady, M. A. The GCC Economies: Stepping Up To Future Challenges, Springer, 2012; “Demographic Transitions and Imbalances in the GCC: Security Risks, Constraints and Policy Challenges” (2012); “Developing Adaptive Capacity for Responding to Environmental Change in the Arab Gulf States: Uncertainties to Linking Ecosystem Conservation, Sustainable Development and Society in Authoritarian Rentier Economies” in: Global and Planetary Change, Volume 64, Issues 3-4, December 2008, Pages 244-252 [Climate Change and Desertification]; “Marginalizing the Self: Social Cohesion, Human Agency and Development in the United Arab Emirates“ (forthcoming 2014); “Youth Unemployment, Tertiary Education and Labor Market Needs in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States: Bridging the Gap” (forthcoming 2014).

Being affiliated with numerous academic and cultural associations, Andy has a long record of voluntary academic service and functions as a reviewer in several peer-reviewed journals.

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© 2013    Andy Spiess