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About the Center for Middle East Policy

Today’s Middle East presents unprecedented challenges for policymakers. The region is confronting historic political and social transitions, wrenching civil wars, a new wave of violent extremism, as well as longstanding, unresolved conflicts. These challenges will affect the region—and the world at large—for generations to come. Policies to manage these issues are further complicated by humanitarian crises, falling energy prices, weapons proliferation, environmental scarcity, and ungoverned spaces—which connect the Middle East to 21st-century trends currently reshaping the global order.

Understanding and addressing this geostrategic region is the work of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. The center’s mission is to chart the path— political, economic, and social— to a Middle East at peace with itself and the world.

The center is part of the Foreign Policy program at Brookings and upholds the Brookings Institution’s core values: quality, independence, and impact. The center is home to the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, which fosters frank dialogue and innovative partnerships between the United States and Muslim communities around the globe. The center also houses the Brookings Doha Center (BDC)—a hub for Brookings scholarship in the Middle East that hosts regular events, produces research in Arabic and English, and is currently home to two permanent scholars and a number of visiting fellows throughout the year.


Scholars in the Center for Middle East Policy are currently researching the following critical issues:

  • Imagining Israel’s Future: Understanding Israeli domestic politics and society, U.S.-Israel relations, and how to advance a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Regional Conflict and Security: The politics of Iran; the Iran nuclear deal; civil conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen, refugees and reconstruction, and conflict resolution and peacemaking.
  • Arab Politics After the Uprisings: Political developments inside the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia; remaking governance in the Arab world; and trends in political Islam.
  • Terrorism and Counterterrorism: The ideology, structure and future of violent movements like ISIS and Al Qaeda; understanding and combatting extremist ideologies and recruitment; lessons from counterterrorism experiences in Israel, Europe and the United States.
  • U.S. Strategy in the Middle East: Strategic choices for the U.S. administration; security frameworks for the region; U.S. defense & security policy; U.S. relations with regional partners; and the Middle East in global context (especially growing ties with India and China).

Since its founding in 2002, the center has built premier platforms for high-level dialogue on tough policy issues. We engage officials and community leaders and educate the media and the wider public. Our signature events include policy forums, expert dialogues and track-two workshops, as well as three major annual conferences. Our Markaz blog makes dialogue among policy experts, practitioners and academics accessible to the media and public, garnering tens of thousands of readers for our timely research.

  • Saban Forum (Winter) – An intimate strategic dialogue among senior Israeli and American leaders held annually to discuss challenges and opportunities facing our two countries.
  • U.S.-Islamic World Forum (Spring) – An annual gathering of leaders from government, business and civil society in the United States and Muslim communities around the world, to foster frank exchanges and advance constructive partnerships.
  • Brookings CMEP-CENTCOM Conference (Summer) – A joint discussion bringing together analysts, military officers and policymakers to examine both new and enduring challenges facing the United States in the Middle East.
  • Markaz – A vibrant blog focused on politics in the Middle East and U.S. policy towards the region.

The center brings together 11 of the most experienced policy minds in the field to work on regional issues of global importance. Based in Washington and the Middle East, our experts provide policymakers and the public with objective, in-depth and timely research and analysis that drive understanding and action in the face of urgent policy questions. The center also hosts a number of visiting fellows each year.

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