Mehran Kamrava, ed., Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016). 

The Persian Gulf region has become home to some of the world’s fastest growing, most impressive cities, many of them with global aspirations. Gateways to the World presents an in-depth, systematic, and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of these cities. It begins with a broader look at how the emergence and significance of cities along the Persian Gulf waterway should be contextualized. It then moves to historical examinations of the emergence of national borders and boundaries, how they became ‘port cities’ of various kinds, what are the semantics of studying them, and what the glittering skylines and cityscapes and their remaining traditional neighborhoods mean for the international political economy and for the identity of their residents. This book presents a comprehensive study of the nature and variety, the importance, and the domestic and international consequences of port cities along the Persian Gulf. Read more from Oxford University Press.

Read about the research initiative

Summary Report


“Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Gulf,” CIRS Summary Report no. 13 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2015).The CIRS research initiative on “The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities” examines dynamics of urban configurations in the Gulf region (the GCC, Yemen, Iraq, and Iran) in order to understand the city as a cultural and social space. Over the course of two working group meetings, CIRS invited academics from various disciplinary backgrounds as well as architects, urban planners, and designers to discuss their research findings and to present papers linking macro-level knowledge of urbanization and modernization projects in the Gulf with the micro-level understanding of everyday spaces of living and human interaction. The chapters are combined into an edited volume titled, Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Read the report in English

Read the report in Arabic