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ADI Lunchtime Seminar – China’s Power Projection in the Middle East: Views from the Region

ADI Lunchtime Seminar – China’s Power Projection in the Middle East: Views from the Region

Event Venue:

Room C2.05, Level 2, Building C, Deakin University Burwood Campus 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC, 3125, Australia ( Map )


China has emerged as a formidable actor in the Middle East, expanding its engagement with the region that goes well beyond its quest for energy. It has established a multifaceted layer of cooperation encompassing diplomacy, economic investments, security, cultural outreach, and a dense network of multilateral frameworks and institutions. China is engaged in soft power projection in the Middle East. This article examines the means and mechanisms of China’s soft power projection and how it has been received by countries of the region. After discussing China’s conception of ‘soft power’ and its key resources and tools, the article then examines the extent to which those soft power resources have actually been translated into the behaviour of attraction and persuasion in the region. Public opinion surveys conducted in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reveal a highly favourable perception of China and its role in the region. There is clear interest in China’s economic model, with overwhelming support for trade and economic agreements. China’s political system is also seen as an attractive model, with interest in closer political and cultural ties surpassing interest in the Western model that emphasises human rights and democracy.

Speaker Details

Shahram Akbarzadeh is a research Professor in Middle East and Central Asian politics and Deputy Director (International) of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University (Australia). He held a prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2012–2016) on the role of Islam in Iran’s foreign policymaking and recently completed a Qatar Foundation project on Sectarianism in the Middle East. His most recent edited volumes include Middle East Politics and International Relations: Crisis Zone (Routledge, 2022) and Routledge Handbook of International Relations in the Middle East (Routledge, 2019).

Arif Saba is an Associate Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), Deakin University, where he also completed a PhD in International Relations. His research interests, more broadly, include rising powers, international order, international norms, and norm contestation in International Relations. His research has been published in academic journals, including International Peacekeeping and International Politics.

Additional Details

This seminar will be held in-person at Burwood (C2.05.01), but you can also join us via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 830 9540 8629
Password: 31520695

*Please feel free to share the event details with those who may want to attend*

If attending in-person, please RSVP to


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