The U.S. Institute of Peace established the Middle East and Africa Center (MEA) to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflicts in those regions by engaging directly in conflicts zones, providing policy analysis to the US government and resources to those working for peace in this region.  To do this, our experts engage local, national, and regional actors in participatory processes that promote sustainable peace.

Within this wide region, the MEA Center has programs on:

  • The Middle East:  Within the Middle East, MEA currently focuses on Iraq and Syria, where we work to promote reconciliation and social cohesion by engaging religious, civic, and tribal leaders in action-oriented dialogues.
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  MEA works at the policy and grassroots levels to bridge divides and prepare the ground for peace. We support dialogue and joint action across religious and ideological communities, train Palestinian peacebuilders in conflict resolution skills, contribute policy analysis to diplomatic efforts, and work to build trust and cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian institutions to create an environment conducive to a sustainable peace.
  • Iran:  MEA’s Iran Program runs The Iran Primer, the world’s most comprehensive website on Iran, which provides resources and analysis on Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program.
  • North Africa:  MEA’s North Africa Program focuses on Tunisia and Libya, where we work to strengthen the rule of law and promote non-violent conflict resolution through facilitation and mediation in country-specific dialogue projects.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa:  In Sub-Saharan Africa, MEA’s programming focuses on promoting wider participation in governance and peace processes, bridging divides within societies suffering from conflict, and engaging global and regional actors to help end violent conflicts.

Current Projects

Red Sea Rising: Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East

Red Sea Rising: Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East

The states on the western side of the Red Sea to the south of Egypt and the Arab states from the east of Egypt through the Arabian Gulf have long been considered distinct regions. This is increasingly a distinction without a difference, however, as these states now operate more as a common political, security, and economic zone.

Syria Study Group

The Syria Study Group (SSG) was established by Congress with the purpose of examining and making recommendations on the military and diplomatic strategy of the United States with respect to the conflict in Syria. The SSG is a bi-partisan working group composed of 12 participants each appointed by a member of Congress for the duration of the study.

Stabilization and Resilience in Iraq’s Minority Communities

Stabilization and Resilience in Iraq’s Minority Communities

For almost a decade, the U.S. Institute of Peace and its Iraqi partners have supported ethnic and religious minority communities in Iraq as part of the Institute’s broader mission of helping the country strengthen communal and institutional resilience. Employing innovative approaches to peacebuilding, USIP seeks to empower minority groups including Christians, Faily Kurds, Kakayees, Sabean-Mandaeans, Shabaks, and Eyzidis (Yazidis) to solve inter-communal disputes, and to advocate at all levels of government for their rights, access to services, and security.

Reconciliation; Religion

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Featured Publications

To Help End a War, Call Libya’s Women Negotiators

To Help End a War, Call Libya’s Women Negotiators

Thursday, October 17, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar

As Libya struggles to end an armed conflict that has only widened this year, it should turn to a hidden resource: the traditional peacemaking roles of its women. As in many countries facing warfare, women have long played a key role in negotiating or mediating conflicts within families, clans and local communities—but are overlooked by official institutions and peace processes. Amid Libya’s crisis, one such “hidden” peacemaker is Aisha al-Bakoush, a hospital nursing director who has expanded her healing mission from medical illnesses to armed conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Peace Processes; Religion

Central African Republic Struggles to Implement Peace Deal

Central African Republic Struggles to Implement Peace Deal

Thursday, October 17, 2019

By: Elizabeth Murray; Rachel Sullivan

The peace agreement signed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in early 2019 is the eighth in seven years, numbers that suggest how difficult it will be to even attempt to end to the country’s multi-sided conflict. That said, the accord this time was reached after more extensive preparations for talks and with greater international support than in the past, perhaps improving conditions for a sustainable halt to violence that has displaced more than 1.2 million people. Developments in recent months, however, have triggered growing concern that the agreement, already fragile, may fail to effectively take hold. USIP’s Elizabeth Murray and Rachel Sullivan look at what is different about the current peace agreement and assess what progress has been made toward implementation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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