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.

Featured Publications

Iran and Afghanistan’s Long, Complicated History

Iran and Afghanistan’s Long, Complicated History

Thursday, June 14, 2018

By: Scott Worden; USIP Staff

As neighbors with a 585-mile frontier, Iran and Afghanistan have connections spanning centuries. Since 1979—the year of Iran’s revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—relations between Tehran and Kabul have ebbed and flowed. USIP’s Scott Worden discusses the complex relationship between the two countries, how Iran has built influence there, and where the U.S. and Iranian interests have overlapped in relation to Kabul.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Scott Worden on the Cease-Fire in Afghanistan

Scott Worden on the Cease-Fire in Afghanistan

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

By: Scott Worden

A temporary cease-fire between the Afghan government and the Taliban to mark the end of Ramadan may offer an opportunity to pursue a more ambitious political solution to end the conflict in Afghanistan, says USIP’s Scott Worden. While there is a chance that the cease-fire—the first since the war began in 2001—will be fleeting, as cease-fires are fragile by nature, it is an important trust-building measure. Combined with Afghanistan’s neighbors recently expressing their desire for an end to the stalemate, the cease-fire could be the first step to a more enduring peace.

Violent Extremism

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