Economic Recovery and Revitalization

Co-Conveners: Christopher M. Schroeder, Entrepreneur and Author, Startup Rising
Sherif Kamel, American University in Cairo

The Economic Recovery and Revitalization working group examines how regional stakeholders and the international community can most effectively help turn some of the region’s greatest liabilities into assets, harnessing the youth and dynamism of the region as a means to drive economic recovery and innovation. The group will also examine how states emerging from severe conflict might rebuild their economies from the ground up to better position them for the economic growth that can reinforce and stabilize peace. The working group will especially emphasize entrepreneurship and technological innovation as a way to move the region away from unsustainable, state-driven models whose record of failure served as one of the root causes of the 2011 uprisings.

Security and Public Order
Convener: Kenneth M. Pollack, The Brookings Institution

The Security and Public Order working group seeks to consider how the United States and its partners can end or at least mitigate the immediate conflicts roiling the region, and to develop a security environment that will permit the regeneration of legitimate and effective state authorities, economic activity, and social cohesion. The aim is not to achieve security for its own sake, but as an enabler of the region’s longer-term potential.

Religion, Identity, and Countering Violent Extremism
Convener: Geneive Abdo, Stimson Center

The Religion, Identity, and Countering Violent Extremism working group examines both the negative and positive role that religion can have in issues of sectarianism, violent extremism, and civic identity. The group has a special focus on how communities might harness the moderating and peace-building roles that religious institutions can play in societies, enlisting them to contribute to building legitimate and effective states and diminishing violent extremism and sectarianism. The group also seeks to study best practices in counter-radicalization and in strengthening the legitimacy and cohesion of multicommunal states.

Rebuilding Societies: Refugees, Recovery, and Reconciliation in Times of Conflict
Convener: Manal Omar, United States Institute of Peace
Co-Convener: Elie Abouaoun, United States Institute of Peace

The Refugees, Recovery, and Reconciliation in Times of Conflict working group examines how best to support social recovery and reconciliation in societies that are in the midst of violent conflict, rather than waiting for a postconflict setting that may not be easily definable. The group has a special emphasis on the social ramifications of refugees and internally displaced persons, but also considers the status and needs of those who have remained in their homes despite the conflict. Broadly, the group seeks to answer the question of how the international community might better help repair the social fabric of a region in which a large population has been displaced, deprived, and brutalized.

Politics, Governance, and State-Society Relations
Convener: Tamara Cofman Wittes, The Brookings Institution

The Politics, Governance, and State-Society Relations working group examines how to build political legitimacy, strengthen the institutional capacities of weak states, and encourage good governance in the Middle East. Specifically, the group will consider how to support more effective and accountable, and pluralistic governance that can support an environment of stability, peace, and resilience in the Middle East, and enable states to deliver quality services to, and respond to the needs of, all citizens and communities.