Middle East Program
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.
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The Hamas-Israel War
Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 and the ongoing Hamas-Israel war in Gaza will have political and security implications across the Middle East and North Africa region. The humanitarian dimension with surging death tolls amongst innocent civilians in Israel and in Gaza is at the heart of this conflict.Read More
Explore Our Core Thematic Areas
The Middle East Program's flagship initiatives include the MENA Workforce Development Initiative (MENA-WDI) and Middle East Women's Initiative (MEWI).
MENA Workforce Development Initiative
The Middle East and North Africa Workforce Development Initiative (MENA-WDI) aims to assess both current and projected challenges facing the region in developing the workforce and the implications for peace and stability.
The Middle East Women's Initiative
The Middle East Women's Initiative (MEWI) promotes the empowerment of women in the region through an open and inclusive dialogue with women leaders from the Middle East and continuous research.
Middle East Program Initiatives & Special Series
China and MENA
The Middle East Program is collaborating with Raseef22, the region’s first independent digital media platform, to produce a series of reports on Sino-MENA relations from the perspective of investigative journalists and researchers on the ground in the region.
The Wilson Dialogue on Euro-MENA Relations
This dialogue series convened by Wilson Center’s Middle East Program and Global Europe Program explores the future of Europe and MENA relations through the lens of energy needs, food security, and forced displacement crises.
Abraham Accords Initiative
Read how the Hamas-Israel conflict will impact the Abraham Accords and the effort to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Lebanon Ideas Forum
The Lebanon Ideas Forum houses dialogue and analysis on the latest developments concerning Lebanon, its relations with the United States and implications on the wider Middle East region.
Agents of Change Youth Fellowship
The Wilson Center's ACYF recognizes the significance of the MENA region when it comes to climate response and the potential for youth leadership in the region to shape a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for the world.
Protests and Mass Movements
We seek to understand the short- and long-term developments in protest methods, social movements, civil society, and competing ideas and narratives in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011-2015 as well as the recent wave of protests from 2019-2020.
Art in MENA: A Medium for Activism
This series features artists, filmmakers, dancers, and musicians to highlight the ways artistic expression is an especially powerful medium to provoke public debate and engage with local and international audiences.
Iran, the Middle East and the World
Iran is a political, military, and economic power across the Middle East with rippling impact globally. Its Axis of Resistance—a network of allies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen—has transformed the regional balance of power, even sparked wars. Its military ties with Russia and economic trade with China have altered global alliances. Its nuclear advances worry much of the world. Understanding the ideology, strategy and goals of the Islamic Republic are critical to effective and enduring foreign policy decisions.
The Middle East Program hosts multiple cross program collaborations, including two established websites cohosted with the United States Institute of Peace.
"The Islamists" is a book and website on the origins, evolution, and positions of Islamist movements in the Middle East. The movements are redefining the order and borders in the world’s most volatile region. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
The Iran Primer
The world’s most comprehensive website on Iran, “The Primer” brings together 50 experts—Western and Iranian—in concise chapters on politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and the nuclear program. It chronicles events under six U.S. presidents. It also has leader bios, timelines, data on nuclear sites—and context for what lies ahead.
Middle East and North Africa Experts
Distinguished Fellow; Director Emerita, Middle East Program
Director, Middle East Program
USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Fellow
Read more from Robin
Islamists in diverse forms—from Tunisia’s moderates to ISIS militants—have produced tectonic shake-ups across the Middle East, with a rippling effect world-wide.
Middle East Fellow
Read more from Marina
"The Shia crescent (Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon) is turning into a crescent of contagion. All countries in the arc are seriously weakened by political and economic crises and have been slow to react. The virus is spreading rapidly. The situation will turn particularly dramatic in Syria, where a large number of refugees from the fighting in Idlib are living in the open, without assistance. People weakened by hunger and lack of shelter in freezing temperature will have little resistance to COVID-19."
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