A new multipolar order is reshaping the MENA region as global powers like China, Russia, and the United States vie for influence amidst uncertainties stemming from Russia’s actions in Ukraine. MENA nations are reevaluating alliances, driven by regional security concerns. Russia’s war in Ukraine has highlighted challenges and opportunities, including the normalization of Israel-Arab relations through the Abraham Accords. Explore the impact of this shifting order on global power dynamics and how regional security uncertainties are shaping MENA countries’ strategic decisions. Join the Atlantic Council’s North Africa Program and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) on September 18 for a conference titled “New power dynamics in the MENA region after the Ukraine crisis.”


08:30–08:55 a.m. Breakfast

09:00–09:15 a.m. Welcome & introductory remarks

Fred Kempe
President and CEO
Atlantic Council

Alessandro Gonzales
Deputy Chief of Mission
Italian Embassy to the United States

Giampiero Massolo
Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)

09:15–10:00 a.m. Session 1: Power competition in the MENA region: Shifting relations since the Ukraine crisis

Gangzheng She (online)
Associate Professor
Tsinghua University (Beijing)

Mark Katz
Professor of Government and Politics
George Mason University

Nikolay Kozhanov (online)
Research Associate Professor, Gulf Studies Center
Qatar University


Kirsten Fontenrose
Red Six Solutions  

10:00–10:15 a.m. Coffee break

10:15–10:40 a.m. Session 2: Tensions and cooperation patterns in the East-Med

Soner Cagaptay
Director, Turkish Research Program
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Dalia Ziada
Executive Director
MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies

Natan Sachs
Director, Center for Middle East Policy, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Program


Chiara Lovotti
Research Fellow and Scientific Coordinator of Rome MED Dialogues
Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)

11:00–11:15 a.m. Coffee Break

11:15–11:40 a.m. Session 3: The role of North Africa in regional and international power competition

Intissar Fakir
Senior Fellow and Director of Program on North Africa and the Sahel
Middle East Institute

Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President and Director, Middle East Program
Center for Strategic & International Studies

Alessia Melcangi
Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History
La Sapienza, University of Rome


Karim Mezran
Resident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East  
Atlantic Council

11:55–11:59 a.m. Concluding remarks

Lorenzo Fruganti
Junior Research Fellow
Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)

12:00 p.m. Event concludes

12:00–1:00 p.m. Lunch

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

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