Last year was a truly historic one for the Middle East Institute (MEI) with the move back into our fully renovated and expanded headquarters on N Street, and 2020 promises to bring continued growth, energy, and innovation. We call MEI “the integrated think tank” for our unique approach that combines policy analysis, education, and an appreciation of the arts and culture of the region to support our mission of building greater understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and the United States. 

Our centers for Policy, Education, and Arts & Culture work together in pursuit of this goal, and while we can’t list out everything that they’re working on, here are a few items from each that we are particularly excited about for the months ahead.

Policy Center

  • MEI’s Policy Center has launched several new research programs in 2020, including the Frontier Europe Initiative, the Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs, the Strategic Foresight Initiative, and the Climate Change, Environment, and Human Security Program, and additional programs are currently in development.

  • The Frontier Europe Initiative has announced a number of new paid fellowship positions open to rising scholars from the countries within the program’s scope.

  • MEI’s Cyber Program will publish a book later this year under the working title, “Cyber War and Cyber Peace in the Middle East,” and is working to organize a full-day public conference on cybersecurity issues this summer. The program is quickly expanding its capacity thanks in part to a grant from Saudi Aramco, which is also contributing to MEI’s program on Climate Change, Environment, and Human Security.

Education Center

  • The Oman Library at the Middle East Institute will host an open house to mark its grand reopening to the public following the renovation of MEI’s headquarters and courtyard.

  • The Education Center will soon announce its Regional Studies Seminar for 2020, offering students direct access to MEI scholars and other leading experts in the field as they lead lectures on contemporary issues in Middle East policy.

  • The Center will host a party celebrating the Persian New Year holiday Norooz in March, along with other cultural events throughout the year.

Arts & Culture Center

  • The MEI Art Gallery will host an auction of Arab art collected by the Institute for Palestine Studies to sell for fundraising purposes. Visitors are invited to bid on the works of greats such as Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi and Palestinian artist Samia Halaby. More than 100 works on sale will be displayed at MEI throughout the month of March.

  • On April 3, the MEI Art Gallery will open with an exhibit of works by Yemeni diaspora artists reflecting on their experiences as emigres witnessing Yemen’s civil war from afar. Curated by Lila Nazemian, On Echoes of Invisible Hearts, will be on display through the end of May 2020.

  • On April 20, MEI will host a reading of a play about the life of former New York Times journalist and award-winning author, Anthony Shadid, who died while covering the conflict in Syria. Six young actors from the theater department at the American University of Beirut will bring his story to life in a rare U.S. performance.