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

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: It’s Time for a Sequel to the Arab Peace Initiative

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: It’s Time for a Sequel to the Arab Peace Initiative

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has fallen down the list of political priorities in recent years as regional and global powers have been preoccupied with more pressing issues—including tensions with Iran; wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya; unrest in Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria; the rise of intestate competition, including with Russia and China, in the region; and a host of internal issues affecting the countries of the region. However, recent regional developments may present opportunities to reaffirm the tenets that would someday lead to a comprehensive peace.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Escape from ISIS: One Family’s Story

Escape from ISIS: One Family’s Story

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

By: Fred Strasser

The horrific story of ISIS’s bid to wipe out Iraq’s Yazidi minority is fairly well known in the United States. At least in broad terms, Americans who pay attention to such things understand that the terrorist group’s fanatical gunmen rolled in on a defenseless people, butchered men and boys by the thousands and hauled away young women into sexual slavery in a genocidal plan.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human Rights; Violent Extremism

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