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.

Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports



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

Wed, Sep 16, 2020

A conversation with H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Mari, UAE Minister of Economy

ONLINE EVENT – H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Mari, UAE Minister of Economy, discusses plans for economic cooperation between the UAE and Israel.


Thu, Aug 20, 2020

A conversation with H.E. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs

AN #ACFRONTPAGE EVENT – H.E. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, discusses the recent announcement of normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel.


Tue, Aug 25, 2020

Strangers to strategic partners: Thirty years of Sino-Saudi relations

ONLINE EVENT – This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Saudi Arabia. Over the past three decades, the bilateral relationship has transitioned from one of marginal importance for both countries to a comprehensive strategic partnership.


Tue, Jun 9, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former foreign minister Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim

ONLINE EVENT — A discussion with Iraq’s most recent former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim moderated by Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim.


Wed, May 27, 2020

Drone attacks against critical infrastructure in the Middle East

ONLINE EVENT – The use of drones as weapons in the Middle East and North Africa has grown rapidly in recent years, especially as non-state actors from the Houthis in Yemen to militants in Syria seek to level the playing field. Often powered by widely available commercial technology, these systems present a real and present security challenge.


Thu, May 14, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Luay Al-Khatteeb

ONLINE EVENT – An online discussion with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb.


Wed, May 13, 2020

Counting the cost – avoiding another war between Israel and Hezbollah

ONLINE EVENT – Even as Lebanon and Israel grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the Israeli military nor Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah are allowing the disease to distract from their long-running enmity. The Middle East Programs launches a new report, “Counting the Cost – Avoiding Another War between Israel and Hezbollah,” with an event featuring co-authors Nicholas Blanford and Brig. Gen. (Res.) Assaf Orion discussing these issues, the report’s findings, and recommendations for policymakers.


Thu, Apr 30, 2020

The future of Idlib and Syrian IDPs

ONLINE EVENT – US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS Ambassador James F. Jeffrey and Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ambassador İbrahim Kalın join the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY and Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East to discuss the future of Idlib and Syrian IDPs. The webinar will take place at 5:00 p.m. Turkey time / 10:00 am EDT.


Wed, Apr 29, 2020

What’s next for US-Iraq relations?

ONLINE EVENT – Nonresident Senior Fellow Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff discusses his new report that analyzes the current challenges in US-Iraq relations and presents policy recommendations.


Thu, Apr 9, 2020

Coronavirus and the Gulf economies

ONLINE EVENT – Discussion on how the Gulf states should respond to the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.




Mon, Sep 21, 2020

The Middle East is a growing marketplace, not just a war zone

The region is vast and complex, and outsiders who do not fully understand its nations or peoples overlook the nuances of the nearly twenty countries that make up the Middle East.

MENASource by Amjad Ahmad

Entrepreneurship Middle East

Fri, Sep 18, 2020

UAE-Israel accord will drive economic growth in the Middle East, says Emirati Minister of Economy

On September 16 empowerME Director Amjad Ahmad and Al Mari discussed how the historic signing of the Abraham Accords will facilitate the UAE and Israel to open their economies.

MENASource by Lucy Grathwohl

Economy & Business Israel

Fri, Sep 18, 2020

Liberalizing capital, trade, and labor markets are keys to accelerating post-pandemic recovery in Middle East

At a private CEO Dialogue on post-pandemic challenges and opportunities in the Middle East, there was agreement among participants that the region presents appealing demographics for economic growth and that the pandemic has underscored the need to accelerate economic diversification.

MENASource by Stefanie H. Ali

Coronavirus Entrepreneurship

Tue, Aug 18, 2020

UN-backed tribunal: ‘no evidence’ of Hezbollah leadership involved in assassination of Rafik Hariri

The Special Tribual for Lebanon announced its verdict after fifteen years. Atlantic Council experts react to the tribunal announcement and what it means for Lebanon.

MENASource by William F. Wechsler, Nicholas Blanford, Jomana Qaddour, Gissou Nia, Joze Pelayo

Lebanon Middle East

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

Lipner in Haaretz: Baseless hatred? The assault on the Wexner Foundation as a case study

In the News

Hebrew Israel

Tue, Jul 28, 2020

Blanford quoted in Forbes on Israel and Hezbollah tension

In the News

Israel Middle East

Wed, Jul 22, 2020

Warrick in Newsweek: Homeland Security’s mission is to defend America, not a partisan agenda

In the News

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Mon, Jul 20, 2020

Badi quoted in the Washington Post on the Libya conflict

In the News

Libya Middle East

Sat, Jul 18, 2020

Qaddour quoted in Haaretz on UN humanitarian aid in Syria

In the News

Human Rights Middle East

Tue, Jul 14, 2020

COVID-19 could set back Mideast economies for years

The coronavirus pandemic is causing widespread suffering throughout the Middle East, but its long-term impact on the region’s economy and its vulnerable populations will be felt for years to come.

New Atlanticist by Larry Luxner

Coronavirus Middle East