About the Middle East Strategy Task Force

Under the bipartisan Co-Chairmanship of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, the Atlantic Council convened the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) in February 2015 to examine the underlying issues of state failure and political legitimacy that drive extremist violence and threaten fundamental interests broadly shared by the peoples of the region and the rest of the world.

The Task Force brought together a broad array of regional stakeholders and international experts to collaborate in identifying ways in which people in the Middle East can build and support governing institutions that offer legitimacy, opportunity, and an alternative to violence. The Task Force was an initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East in cooperation with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.




  • The Hon. Dr. Madeleine K. Albright
  • Mr. Stephen J. Hadley

Senior advisors

  • Dr. Abdlatif Al-Hamad
  • H.R.H. Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud
  • Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
  • Mr. Ayman Asfari
  • Dr. José Manuel Barroso
  • Mr. Stephen Biegun
  • Prime Minister Carl Bildt
  • Mr. Rafic A. Bizri
  • Minister Emma Bonino
  • Amb. Nicholas Burns
  • Amb. Wolfgang Ischinger
  • Minister Igor S. Ivanov
  • Minister Moushira Khattab
  • Amb. Jean-David Levitte
  • Ms. Nancy Lindborg
  • Mr. David Miliband
  • Mr. Michael Morell
  • Dr. Vali R. Nasr
  • Amb. Francis J. Ricciardone
  • Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie
  • Dr. Abdel Monem Said Aly
  • Mr. Naguib Sawiris
  • Amb. Sir Nigel Sheinwald
  • Minister Javier Solana
  • Ms. Frances Townsend
  • Ms. Toni Verstandig
  • Mr. Kenneth Wollack
  • Minister Yasar Yakıs

Working groups

Economic recovery and revitalization


Christopher M. Schroeder
Entrepreneur and Author
Startup Rising

Sherif Kamel

American University in Cairo

Security and public order


Kenneth M. Pollack
The Brookings Institution

Religion, identity, and countering violent extremism


Geneive Abdo
Atlantic Council

Rebuilding societies: Refugees, recovery, and reconciliation in times of conflict


Manal Omar
United States Institute of Peace


Elie Abouaoun
United States Institute of Peace

Politics, governance, and state-society relations


Tamara Cofman Wittes
The Brookings Institution

Executive team

  • Mr. Frederick Kempe
  • Mr. Barry Pavel
  • Amb. Frederic C. Hof
  • Ms. Mirette F. Mabrouk
  • Dr. Stephen Grand
  • Dr. Jessica Ashooh
  • Ms. Stefanie Hausheer Ali