About the center

The Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East examines the barriers preventing many people in the region from reaching their fullest potential. Our work also highlights success stories of individuals and institutions who overcame significant challenges in pursuit of social, economic, and political progress. Inspired by these examples, we delineate practical and implementable policy recommendations that policymakers in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East can implement to unleash the region’s economic and human potential.



We convene the most important stakeholders on issues of primary concern to the transatlantic community when it comes the Middle East and North Africa, from senior US and Middle East government officials to civil society activists and budding entrepreneurs.

Past events

Thu, Feb 11, 2021

A conversation with H.E. Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, Foreign Minister of Oman

Online Event H.E. Sayyid Badr Al-Busaidi, foreign minister of Oman, discusses Oman’s role in the Middle East and the US-Omani relationship.

9:00am Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense The Gulf

Tue, Feb 2, 2021

Lessons learned from countries leading in vaccine rollout: The cases of Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE

Online Event Senior representatives from the Israeli, Bahraini, and Emirati governments discuss COVID-19 vaccine campaigns.

8:00am Coronavirus Israel Middle East The Gulf

Thu, Feb 4, 2021

Exploring innovative measures to map and mitigate illicit weapon transfers

Online Event A discussion of illicit conventional weapon flows and mechanisms to combat them, using lessons drawn from an Atlantic Council analysis of the materiel procurement network of militants operating in Bahrain.

12:00pm Iran Middle East Security & Defense Weapons Trafficking

Looking for a paid summer internship?

We are now recruiting Young Global Professionals for Summer 2021!

Applications close Friday, March 26, 2021.


Thu, Feb 18, 2021

The Biden administration may have hit the reset button in Libya

Despite its marginality and irrelevance for US’s interests, Libya has come to constitute the litmus test of this perceived change in the world political landscape.

MENASource by Karim Mezran

Libya Middle East

Wed, Feb 17, 2021

What it takes for MENA to be the next leading venture capital opportunity

Investing in venture capital in the Middle East is not merely an opportunity to gain financial dividends, but also to impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people by adding value and creating local wealth that can then address manifold social challenges. This will allow talent to rise and strengthen the ecosystem further.

MENASource by Amjad Ahmad, Christopher Schroeder, and Allison Holle

Economy & Business Middle East

Tue, Feb 9, 2021

Transforming homz

In episode 5 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host Amjad Ahmad interviews Homzmart Co-Founder and CEO Mahmoud Ibrahim about his multiple entrepreneurial ventures, the growth in e-commerce in the Middle East, proactive changes governments are making to laws and regulations (and changes that are still needed), the importance of developing talent through mentoring, women’s economic inclusion in his businesses, and the need for the region to go beyond digitization and create change through innovation.

empowerME Conversations by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Middle East

Tue, Feb 2, 2021

From Fashion to Fintech

In Season 1, Episode 4 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host Amjad Ahmad interviews Tabby Co-Founder and CEO Hosam Arab about why he became an entrepreneur and what it takes to succeed, the customer needs his companies have met, how he scaled his businesses across regional borders, the changes in e-commerce and payment options in recent years in the Middle East, and changes to laws and regulations that would boost business.

empowerME Conversations by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Iran

Tue, Jan 26, 2021

Double Vision

In Season 1, Episode 3 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host Amjad Ahmad interviews eyewa Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri about the mindset that will create more entrepreneurs in the Middle East, policy changes that will lead to more unicorns, the acceleration of online payments and e-commerce, and new technologies that will soon replace in-person fitting rooms and eye tests.

empowerME Conversations by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Middle East

Mon, Jan 25, 2021

Region’s economies will benefit from Gulf-Qatar deal

The embargo had a significant negative impact on Qatar’s economy first and foremost, but it also had indirect consequences across the Gulf, and these were ultimately in part responsible for the decision to bring the dispute to a close.

MENASource by Tim Fox

Middle East The Gulf

Tue, Jan 19, 2021

It’s a mumz world

In Season 1, Episode 2 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host Amjad Ahmad interviews Mumzworld Founder and CEO Mona Ataya about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, how the Middle East’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is radically changing, her company’s biggest policy pain points, and the future of customer personalization to the power of one.

empowerME Conversations by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Middle East

Mon, Jan 18, 2021

Alli in Formiche: New leadership for the CDU. What changes for the league?

In the News

Middle East North Africa

Tue, Jan 12, 2021

Translating Business

In Season 1, Episode 1, Tarjama Founder and CEO Nour Al Hassan discusses what drove her to become an entrepreneur, her company's prescient flexible work model that has promoted women's economic inclusion as well as resilience, and her policy wish list to help more endeavors like hers succeed in the Middle East.

empowerME Conversations by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Middle East

Wed, Jan 6, 2021

MENA’s post-COVID resilience depends on using the talent pool of women

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where gender-based inequalities are many and deep-rooted, the concern for women’s setbacks could be more serious due to the pandemic.

MENASource by Nadereh Chamlou

Economy & Business Middle East