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.

Experts

Events

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

Content

MENASource

Jan 18, 2022

Is the GCC ready to embrace sustainable finance?

By Dominik Treeck, Mustafa Domanic, and Hendrik Wittrock

To avoid falling behind on their grand economic growth ambitions, Gulf Cooperation Council countries should act decisively by putting sustainable finance policies at the top of their agendas.

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

Event Recap

Dec 20, 2021

Fintech innovation is critical for business and women in MENA

By Hezha Barzani

On December 14, the Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative held a virtual event on “MENA’s Fintech innovators: Digitizing financial services” in partnership with ABANA.

Economy & Business Middle East

MENASource

Nov 29, 2021

Startups aren’t just hip. They’re also the key to unlocking youth unemployment in MENA.

By Mahmood Abdulla

The MENA region has a pressing unemployment challenge. While many attempts are underway to address this problem, the solution could lie in its growing startup scene.

Economy & Business Middle East

In the News

Nov 24, 2021

Ahmad featured in BRINK on major demographic shifts in Saudi Arabia

By Atlantic Council

Middle East Resilience

Event Recap

Nov 8, 2021

Top women execs on leading “deliberate” organizational change, fostering diversity and inclusion, and coping with challenges

By Stefanie H. Ali

On November 2, the Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative held a workshop on “Women in senior management: Masterclass in leadership.”

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

empowerME Conversations

Nov 2, 2021

The evolution of the food and beverage sector in MENA

By Atlantic Council

In Season 2, Episode 6 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host and Atlantic Council empowerME Director Amjad Ahmad speaks with PepsiCo Vice President and General Manager for GCC and the Levant Tamer Mosalam about innovation and emerging opportunities for the food and beverage sector, the increase in women’s employment in Saudi Arabia, and ways governments and corporates can support entrepreneurs.

Economy & Business Middle East

Event Recap

Oct 29, 2021

FinTech in MENA: How to build an ecosystem that promotes innovation and regulation

By Stefanie H. Ali

The Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative in partnership with ABANA is convening a virtual event series to shed light on the changing FinTech landscape in the MENA region, identify challenges and opportunities, and explore policy recommendations.

Economy & Business Middle East

Report

Oct 26, 2021

North Africa 2030: What the future holds for the region

By Frederick Kempe, Giampiero Massolo, Yahia Zoubir, Abdelkader Abderrahmane, Pietro Gagliardi, Guillaume Biganzoli, Aldo Liga, Nader Kabbani, Nejla Ben Mimoune, Hannah Abdullah, Karim Elgendy, Shlomo Roiter Jesner, Jay Mens, Armando Sanguini, Karim Mezran, and Alissa Pavia

In the last decade, several events redefined North Africa’s heterogeneous character and identity. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Arab spring, but most of the root causes fueling the unrest remain unaddressed.

Middle East North Africa

empowerME Conversations

Oct 26, 2021

Building growth: The future of MENA’s construction sector

By Atlantic Council

In Season 2, Episode 5 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host and Atlantic Council empowerME Director Amjad Ahmad speaks with Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) Chairman Samer Khoury about the future of the construction industry, how companies can partner with and support startups, policies needed to boost the region’s economic growth, and ways to improve the talent pipeline and bring more women into the workforce.

Economy & Business Middle East

MENASource

Oct 25, 2021

Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation benefits the UAE too

By Omar Al-Ubaydli

While many commentators have been keen to interpret Saudi Arabia’s attempts to transform Riyadh into the Middle East’s economic capital as a threat to the economic interests of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a more nuanced analysis suggests something akin to a rising tide that will lift all boats.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy