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.

Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies

MEI’s Afghanistan and Pakistan studies center aims to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of the politics, economy, society and foreign policy of these two countries. It works with scholars to produce original research, sponsors lectures, produces opinion pieces, and provides expert analysis with the goal of promoting knowledge about Afghanistan and Pakistan among the American public and within policy making circles.

Learn More

Arabian Peninsula Affairs

MEI’s Arabian Peninsula Affairs program aims to enhance U.S. understanding of the major issues and opportunities in front of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council who are key political, security, and economic partners for the United States. It is a hub for analysis of developments within the GCC and the broader region, including Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf and Red Sea littorals.

Learn More

Climate Change, Environment, and Human Security

MEI's Climate Change, Environment and Human Security Program examines the issues of human security, environmental health, and sustainability, as well as the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents to people living in the Middle East and North Africa. Land, water, food, energy, and climate security are key nexus issues studied within this program.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

Countering Terrorism & Extremism

MEI's Countering Terrorism and Extremism program seeks to generate a more locally-rooted understanding of the threats and challenges of today and tomorrow - grasping where they come from and why they come about, and most importantly, how to more effectively and sustainably defeat them.

Learn More

Cyber Program

MEI's Cyber Program studies the intersection of technology, security and governance in the Middle East, with a particular focus on international security, foreign relations, privacy, and human security. The Initiative seeks to establish a greater understanding of cybersecurity issues among Middle East experts, and to examine how the cyber domain will impact the future of the region.

Learn More

Defense and Security

MEI's Defense and Security program provides rigorous and multidisciplinary analysis of the current and emerging defense and security challenges and opportunities facing the United States and its regional partners. It also works to create a unique, credible, and independent platform for defense and security stakeholders from both the United States and the region to more closely interact, exchange views, and share experiences regarding various matters of national security.

Learn More

Egypt Program

MEI's Egypt Program looks 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.

Learn More

Frontier Europe Initiative

MEI’s Frontier Europe Initiative explores interactions between Middle East countries and their Frontier Europe neighbors – the parts of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus which form a frontier between Western Europe, Russia and the Middle East. The program examines the growing energy, trade, security and political relationships with the aim of developing greater understanding of the interplay between these strategically important regions.

Learn More

Iran Program

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.

Learn More

Lebanon Program

The past 18 months have been grueling for Lebanon. Humanitarian, financial, and socio-economic crises have converged. Domestic political gridlocks are intensifying, and porous regional disturbances are at their peak. In such critical times, MEI’s dedicated Lebanon program seeks to inform and advance the conversation on Lebanon in the United States and globally. The program particularly focuses on investigating and promoting viable paths forward for Lebanon as it battles through one of the darkest periods in its 100-year modern history.

Learn More

Middle East - Asia Project (MAP)

MAP explores 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. It seeks to foster collaborative research on these issues through building an online community of experts and forging institutional partnerships.

Learn More

Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs

The Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs examines the future of Palestinian politics and the Palestinian national movement as well as the prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of the conflict in the stability of the broader Middle East.

Learn More

Strategic Foresight Initiative

MEI's Strategic Foresight Initiative examines key drivers and dynamics at work in the region, thinks strategically, creatively and rigorously about various scenarios, risks and opportunities, and uses methodologically sound approaches to help decision-makers chart a course forward.

Learn More

Syria Program

MEI’s Syria Program seeks to provide insightful and grounded research and analysis on all things Syria in order to better inform a wide range of audiences and to help sustain and shape a more meaningful policy-oriented discussion. Drawing on the expertise of over a dozen renowned scholars, the Syria Program covers all aspects of Syria and its ongoing crises - from political, economic, legal, social, ethnic and religious dynamics, to conflict, insurgency and terrorism and the country’s history and possible futures.

Learn More

Turkish Studies

Established in 2009, MEI’s Turkish Studies program seeks to highlight and analyze political, economic, and social developments in Turkey through scholarly research and public events. It organizes an annual conference featuring leading experts and policy practitioners from Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

Learn More

MEI's Weekly Podcast


Middle East Focus is a weekly podcast featuring discussion and analysis on U.S. foreign policy and contemporary political and social issues in the Middle East.

Learn More