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.
Jerusalem is one of the core issues underlying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and efforts to resolve it. President Trump’s December 2017 recognition of the city as Israel’s capital has sparked controversy given the city’s sensitive status, but the announcement noted that specific boundaries of Israel’s sovereignty in the city remain to be determined via negotiations between the two parties, leaving the city an unresolved final status issue. The city’s prominent role in the conflict derives in large measure from the fact that it plays host to a mixed population of Jews, Muslims and Christians with overlapping attachments to the city and to many of its religious sites, and competing national, religious and historical narratives. Recent proposals to revise Jerusalem’s municipal lines, and questions regarding the relationship between the city government and its Palestinian residents also contribute to ongoing tensions between the city’s inhabitants, and periodic outbursts of violence that serve to set back efforts toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict. USIP seeks to foster thought innovation and deepen the impact of peacebuilding interventions centered on Jerusalem.