December 11, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Middle East Institute
1319 18th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) are pleased to host James Zogby (AAI and Zogby Research Services) to reflect on his latest poll of perspectives from across the Middle East and North Africa. The report includes the opinions of 8,628 adults from eight Arab countries as well as Turkey and Iran on the current landscape of employment opportunities, confidence in governmental institutions, and the future of Palestine. The poll also assessed regional attitudes towards the U.S.’s role in the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal, the region’s refugee crisis, and the fight against extremism.

Joining James Zogby to discuss these findings are Nadia Bilbassy (Al Arabiya News), Steven Cook (Council on Foreign Relations), and Alex Vatanka (MEI).

The poll and resulting report were organized by the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The findings are available for use by the public on the website of Zogby Research Services.

Speaker biographies:

Nadia Bilbassy
Bureau chief, Al Arabiya News
Nadia Bilbassy-Charters is Al Arabiya's bureau chief in Washington DC and a well known reporter in the Arab world. She has been working as a foreign correspondent for over 20 years. She was the first Arab journalist to be based in Africa for a major Arab TV station. Her reporting from trouble spots in Southern Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia, Congo and Eritrea has distinguished her work as original, fair and informative. She was embedded with the 101 Marine Division during the war in Iraq. Since 2003, she has been based in Washington, DC for Al Arabiya TV and MBC TV (Middle Eastern Broadcast Center). She reports on U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis the Arab world. She has covered two presidential elections, and reported from Guantanamo on the cases of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and other 9/11 suspect. She has interviewed many influential politicians including President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Mahmoud Abbas, General Colin Powell, and U.S. Secretary Rice among many others.

Steven Cook
Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Cook is the author of False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East; The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's gold medal in 2012; and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey.

Alex Vatanka
Senior fellow, MEI
Alex Vatanka is senior fellow at MEI. He specializes in Middle Eastern regional security affairs with a particular focus on Iran. From 2006 to 2010, he was the managing editor of Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst. From 2001 to 2006, he was a senior political analyst at Jane’s in London (UK) where he mainly covered the Middle East. Alex is also a senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the US Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field and teaches as an adjunct professor at DISAM at Wright-Patterson AFB. He has lectured widely for both governmental and commercial audiences, including the US Departments of State and Defense, US intelligence agencies, US Congressional staff, and Middle Eastern energy firms.

James Zogby
President, AAI
James Zogby co-founded the Arab American Institute in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is Director of Zogby Research Services, a firm that has conducted groundbreaking surveys across the Middle East. For the past three decades, he has served in leadership roles in the Democratic National Committee and served two terms as a President Obama appointee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He writes a weekly column published in 12 countries. He is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. His 2013 e-books, Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion and 20 Years After Oslo, are drawn from his extensive polling across the Middle East with Zogby Research Services.