Facing Complex Challenges

The last decade has seen tremendous changes within the Middle East. As the region continues to evolve, the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Middle East Program combines the intellectual grounding of its scholars with the power of its convening space to generate practical ideas for policymakers around the world. Its balanced and nonpartisan approach to programming, written output, and web content has earned the Middle East Program a reputation for contributing content of the highest quality and integrity to public discourse about issues in the MENA region.

The Program has established itself as a leading institution, offering a breadth and depth of programming on the prevailing economic, political, and social trends in the MENA region:

  • Long-term political, social, and economic developments throughout the region and in individual states
  • Current events and contemporary issues on the ground
  • Gender and youth issues in the region
  • The Middle East’s role in the international arena
  • The rise of radical groups and the threat of terrorism


High-Quality Research in a Global Forum

The Middle East Program informs public debate and policy on issues in the MENA region through a variety of outlets, including its world-class scholars and fellows, meetings and conferences, publications, media appearances, research and news briefs, and social media activity. The White House, U.S. Department of State, congressional staffers, and others regularly consult the Program on developments in the region and on issues that emerge from its meetings and publications.                                              

The Program is dedicated to establishing innovative avenues for scholarship and discussion. Its unique features provide opportunities for research that are not found at other institutions, including the Visiting Arab Journalist Program, the “MENA Women News Brief,” and the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Forum focusing on Arab-Israeli issues.

Furthermore, the Middle East Program collaborates with internal and external stakeholders and institutions to produce the highest quality research. For example, the Wilson Center’s partnership with the United States Institute of Peace has resulted in two important publications, The Iran Primer and The Islamists.


Looking toward the Future

The Middle East Program aims to address the most pressing issues of today and to anticipate the developments of tomorrow. It is crucial that all stakeholders stay informed on current events and prevailing trends. The Program will use its academic resources, intellectual creativity, and convening power to gather global experts to approach issues that need deep exploration, such as:

  • Human security issues;
  • The Kurdish question;
  • The vanishing state in the Middle East;
  • The regional and global geo-politics of Middle East energy; and
  • The future of U.S. engagement with the Middle East


Building upon its past and current successes and using its strong intellectual resources, the Middle East Program will continue to serve as a forum for dialogue between experts, thinkers, and social activists from the region and their counterparts in the United States. 

The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Middle East Forum

The Forum was created in 2004 to strengthen the Middle East Program’s ability to explore opportunities and means for the resolution of regional conflicts including, but not limited to, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Forum addresses the role of individuals, governments, and NGOs in promoting peace and stability in the region.