The U.S. Institute of Peace established the Middle East North Africa Center (MENA) to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflicts in the area stretching from Iran to Morocco by engaging directly in conflicts zones, providing policy analysis to the U.S. 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 MENA Center has programs on:

  • The Middle East: Our MENA Middle East program focuses primarily on Iraq and Syria, where we work to promote reconciliation and social cohesion by engaging religious, civic, and tribal leaders in action-oriented dialogues.
  • North Africa: MENA’s North Africa program focuses on TunisiaLibya, and Egypt, where we work to strengthen the rule of law and promote non-violent conflict resolution through facilitation and mediation in country-specific dialogue projects.
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The MENA Center works to inform policy, bridge divides, strengthen Palestinian institutions, and prepare the ground for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian and broader Arab-Israeli arena. We serve as a trusted convener to inform policy considerations and approaches, support inclusive dialogue between religious and ideological communities, foster trust-building and cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian institutions, and strengthen grassroots capacity to create an environment conducive to a sustainable Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli peace.
  • MENA’s Iran program runs The Iran Primer, which provides original articles, analysis, data, timelines, policy statements and other resources on Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program on a website co-hosted with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  • In partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, MENA’s Islamist program focuses on the origins, evolution, and positions of Islamist movements in the Middle East. These movements are redefining the order and borders in the world’s most volatile region, yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies that sometimes rival each other. 

Current Projects

Tunisia Security Sector Training Reform

Tunisia Security Sector Training Reform

Since 2016, USIP and the Tunisian Ministry of Interior have been working in close partnership to collaboratively build a robust public-service oriented policing model in alignment with democratic norms and national and international standards. As part of these endeavors, with support from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, USIP and the Tunisian National Guard launched a three-phased initiative to reconceptualize their training system, reinvigorating ongoing efforts to improve operational capacity in the field while upholding core values of accountability, transparency and human dignity.

Democracy & GovernanceEducation & TrainingJustice, Security & Rule of Law

مرصد النزاع وإعادة الاستقرار

مرصد النزاع وإعادة الاستقرار

إن مرصد النزاع وإعادة الاستقرار (CSMF )، يشار إليه لاحقاً "المرصد"، هو أداة لجمع البيانات جرى تكييفها لتلائم السياق العراقي وهي مستمدّة من إطار معهد الولايات المتحدة للسلام لقياس مدى التقدّم المحرز في بيئات النزاع. يقوم هذا المرصد بجمع البيانات مباشرة من المجتمعات المحلية المتضررة من النزاع في العراق باستخدام مجموعة من 92 مؤشراً مرتبطة بخمسة مواضيع أساسية وتحقيق الاستقرار وهي الحوكمة؛ والمصالحة والعدالة؛ والتماسك الاجتماعي والرفاه؛ وسيادة القانون؛ والسلامة والأمن. ولقد تم إجراء جلسات التحقق مع أعضاء المجتمع باستخدام بيانات من الجولة الرابعة، وتم استكمال البيانات من الجولتين الرابعة والخامسة بمقابلات المخبرين الرئيسيين مع صانعي القرار المحليين. ويؤسّس هذا المرصد قاعدة أدلة قوية لبناء السلام في العراق باستخدام بيانات نظامية وطولية عبر فترات زمنية مختلفة. وتُوفّر هذه البيانات رؤى دقيقة يمكن أن تسترشد بها الجهود المبذولة للتخفيف من حدّة النّزاع العنيف وفي بعض الأحيان تسائل الافتراضات الشائعة بشأن العوائق التي تحول دون تحقيق السلام.

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Featured Publications

The Growing Flashpoints Between the U.S. and Iran

The Growing Flashpoints Between the U.S. and Iran

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

By: Robin Wright

Tension between Washington and Tehran has been a growing undercurrent of the war in Gaza, even as both countries tried to prevent it from sparking a direct confrontation during the first six months of fighting. Robin Wright, a joint fellow at USIP and the Wilson Center, explores the evolving flashpoints in the world’s most volatile region as well as the challenges for U.S. diplomacy, the new triggers for a wider regional conflagration and the historical backdrop.

Type: Question and Answer

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

As Hezbollah-Israel Tensions Simmer, Lebanon’s Domestic Crises Drag On

As Hezbollah-Israel Tensions Simmer, Lebanon’s Domestic Crises Drag On

Monday, April 1, 2024

By: Mona Yacoubian

Nearly six months after Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, tensions in two key flashpoints — Lebanon and Syria — continue to rise with significant Israeli airstrikes in both countries, leading to the highest death tolls in each country since October 7. Amid these rising tensions, ongoing clashes between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) threaten to escalate into a wider war. At the same time, Lebanon continues to reel from a series of crises that have unfolded over the past four and a half years, highlighting Lebanon’s perilous position as the Gaza conflict continues to reverberate throughout the region.

Type: Question and Answer

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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