The threats of political insecurity and Islamic extremism have grown around the world despite the United States’ ongoing foreign policy efforts. Addressing instability in the Middle East may require that policymakers recognize the role of financial difficulty and youth unemployment—upward of 40 percent in some Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries—in facilitating the growth of unrest. In his new book, “Peace Through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development” (Brookings Institution Press, 2016), Brookings Guest Scholar Steven R. Koltai suggests that promoting inclusive economic opportunities and entrepreneurship in the Middle East may be an effective foreign policy solution for restoring peace in the region.
On September 13, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted an expert panel to discuss the potential of investment as foreign policy. To what extent has financial struggle contributed to instability in the Middle East? How can entrepreneurship combat radicalization and unrest? And what role should the United States play in introducing entrepreneurship to Middle Eastern countries?
After the session, panelists took audience questions.