Recent Events

On March 17, 2017, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center hosted a discussion with Congressman Adam Kinzinger to discuss America’s role in the Middle East and the world. Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, director of the Hariri Center, moderated the event.

Kinzinger began by emphasizing that self-governance should be one of America’s mission statements for the world. He said that the Soviet Union’s dissolution was mainly due to the change in ideas among its citizens: the Soviet people saw Western life as a model and started to demand their freedom from the Soviet government. Kinzinger noted, however, that unlike during the Cold War era, there are now multiple “iron curtains” such as ISIS, authoritarian regimes, and discrimination. He explained that another mission statement of America should be to recognize those curtains and pull them down, and underscored that America’s most important goal in the Middle East should be to bring freedom.
The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a panel discussion on March 9, 2017 with Ms. Nebras Attia, human rights activist; Dr. Federica Saini Fasanotti, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Ms. Azza Maghur, senior lawyer at Maghur & Partners; Dr. Jason Pack, executive director of the US-Libya Business Association; and Amb.Jonathan Winer, former US special envoy for Libya at the US Department of State. Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Dr. Karim Mezran moderated the discussion and Hariri Center Director Amb. Frederic Hof gave opening remarks.
The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a panel discussion on February 13, 2017 with H.E. Khaled Alyemany, permanent representative of Yemen to the United Nations; Ms. Nadwa Al-Dawsari, nonresident senior fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy; and Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Mr. Mohammed Alyahya and Nonresident Senior Fellow Dr. Nabeel Khoury. Ms. Mirette F. Mabrouk, deputy director and director for research and programs at the Hariri Center, moderated the event.
On Thursday, January 12, 2017 the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a panel discussion on a strategy for the next administration for combating al-Qaeda in Syria. The panel included Jennifer Cafarella, lead intelligence planner at the Institute for the Study of War; Sasha Ghosh Siminoff, president and co-founder of People Demand Change; Hassan Hassan, senior fellow at the Tahrir Insitute for Middle East Policy; Faysal Itani, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East; and Charles Lister, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. The discussion was moderated by Margaret Brennan, foreign affairs and White House correspondent for CBS News, and featured introductory remarks by Nancy Okail, executive director at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. The panelists discussed the contents of a new report sponsored by the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, Combating Al-Qaeda in Syria: A Strategy for the Next President, which they and other experts contributed to.
On November 30, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center launched the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) co-chairs’ final report with an event featuring former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. The discussion was moderated by Ayman Mohyeldin of MSNBC and NBC with opening remarks by Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe.

Kempe opened the event by discussing the deliberate process the Task Force underwent to hear from voices in the region. He then explained that the co-chairs’ report presents a unique approach that will lead to a better understanding of the Middle East and to a more hopeful future. He added that the MEST report has not focused solely on defining an American strategy for the region but rather a strategy for the region itself.
On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and the Global Energy Center hosted a panel discussion on what to do about Russia’s rising profile in the Middle East. Panelist included Anna Borshchevskaya, Ira Weiner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Thomas Cunningham, Deputy Director of Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, Alireza Nader, Senior International Policy Analyst at RAND, and Aaron Stein, Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. The event was moderated by Barbara Slavin, the Acting Director of South Asia Center’s Future of Iran Initiative. Panelists discussed Russia’s regional and international policy challenges including the Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war, expanded military cooperation between Russia and Iran, and Russia’s near future energy strategy, as well as policy options for President-Elect Trump towards Russia.
On November 29, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center hosted the event “A New Saudi Arabian Regional Policy” featuring panelists Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, chairman of Shamal Investments and Mohammed Alyahya, nonresident fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. The discussion was moderated by Hariri Center Director Ambassador Frederic Hof.
On November 7, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a panel discussion on the relationship between Islamic law and human rights. Geneive Abdo, director of the Atlantic Council’s Islamic Law and Human Rights initiative, moderated the panel with legal scholars Dr. Moataz El Fegiery, Protection Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa with Front Line Defenders, and Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim, lawyer and professor affiliated with the Harvard Divinity School. Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, director of the Hariri Center, introduced the topic and the panelists.
On November 2, 2016, the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted “ISIS the Day After Defeat,” a panel discussion featuring Resident Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Hassan Hassan, Director for Tradecraft and Innovation at the Institute for the Study of War Jessica Lewis McFate, and Senior Economist at the RAND Corporation Howard J. Shatz. The panel, moderated by Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Aaron Stein, discussed the current developments in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), particularly the Mosul operation that was currently in progress, and challenges they foresee emerging.
On October 3, 2016, the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center hosted “Banding Together: How the World Bank, Humanitarian Community, and Private Sector Support Refugees,” a Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) event featuring the US executive director for the World Bank, Dr. Matthew T. McGuire, the associate vice president of the Center for Middle East and Africa at the US Institute of Peace, Manal Omar, and entrepreneur and author Christopher Schroeder. The discussion was moderated by MEST deputy director Dr. Jessica Ashooh, with opening remarks by the Rafik Hariri Center director Ambassador Frederic Hof.


    

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