Dealing with ISIS Detainees


Thousands of former ISIS fighters and tens of thousands of civilians indoctrinated in the group’s extremist ideology currently sit in prisons and refugee camps across Iraq and Syria. Leaving the detainees there is dangerous, but transitioning them will require some type of accountability for the crimes committed. In a new paper for MEI, Eric Oehlerich, Mick Mulroy, and Liam McHugh explore options for international action to deal with the detention of ISIS members from Iraq and Syria and the foreign terrorist fighters who joined the group from around the globe.


Read the paper

Art in Isolation: Creativity in the Time of COVID-19

Exhibition Open October 8, 2020 - January 29, 2021

Art in Isolation pays tribute to the experiences and reflections of artists from the Middle East and its diaspora during a period of global crisis. The MEI Art Gallery’s first-ever open call, Art in Isolation, invited regional artists to submit artwork made at the height of the global pandemic around the thematic of sheltering in place. The result is a rich curation of works by 39 emerging, mid-career, and established artists investigating the emotional and physical impact of confinement on artistic practice.

Thirty-eight of the 54 selected works are hanging in the MEI Art Gallery, with the full exhibition featured on the MEI website.  All of the works are for sale and can be purchased online, with the majority of proceeds going to support the artists.

Browse Works Online

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Photo: "Muffled" by Helen Zughaib (courtesy of the artist)

Expanding Knowledge, Narrowing Divides

MEI fosters greater understanding of the Middle East through non-partisan policy analysis, educational services, and promotion of regional arts and culture.


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MEI Art Gallery Now Open for Timed Visits

The MEI Art Gallery is now accepting in-person appointments to view its current exhibition. Please note that we are limiting occupancy to no more than four visitors in the Gallery at a time.

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MEI’s scholars draw on deep ties and decades of experience working in the region to build better understanding of Middle East policy.

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Research Programs

Led by renowned scholars and regional experts, MEI's policy research programs produce original analysis, convene roundtables and public events, and work to advance understanding of the complexities of regional policy.

Countering Terrorism & Extremism

In-depth analysis into the region’s varied terrorist threats and their underlying drivers, including civil conflict.

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Gulf Affairs

Enhancing understanding of the issues facing the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council who are key political, security, and economic partners for the United States.

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MEI’s Iran project provides analysis of Iran’s policies and actions at home and abroad through research, articles, papers, and public and private events.

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Middle East-Asia Project

Exploring the multidimensional relations between the Middle East and Asia through scholarly analysis of cross-regional economic, political, security, and social/cultural interactions and their implications.

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Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies

Advancing a balanced and realistic understanding of the politics, economy, society and foreign policy of these two countries.

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Program on Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues

Establishing spaces for current and former officials and experts to engage in problem-solving dialogues in which they discuss emerging political and security trends in the region, resolution of conflicts, and broader issues related to regional security.

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Turkish Studies

Seeking to highlight and analyze political, economic, and social developments in Turkey through scholarly research and public events.

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Providing rigorous and multidisciplinary analysis of the current and emerging defense and security challenges and opportunities facing the United States and its regional partners.

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Egypt Program

Looking at the country's security, economic and political developments. It seeks to examine Egypt’s domestic developments and regional role through research, private roundtables and public events.

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What We Do

We seek to promote knowledge of the Middle East in America and strengthen understanding of the United States by the peoples and governments of the region. We believe pursuit of this goal is integral to building a world of peace and stability, in which the people of our two regions value our shared humanity.


Our experts shape diplomatic, legislative, and public discourse through publications, private briefings, testimony, and media.


We provide education and resources to the next generation of global leaders.


Our Center for Arts & Culture promotes a more integrated understanding of the Middle East, forging people-to-people connections and creating a destination for exploring the role of the arts in the region.


We elevate voices from the region in international conversation.


Our international conflict resolution dialogues bring together civil society and political leaders to achieve impact through cooperation both in and outside of the region.