Event Video: Rep. Adam Smith Discusses Middle East Strategy

On December 5th, 2013 – NDN’s Middle East and North Africa Initiative hosted a discussion with Rep. Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee. Topics covered include economic and diplomatic engagement, Iran, Egypt, Syria, military aid, and a broader regional strategy. Full video of the event is available below.


INVITE: January 15th, “Investing for Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa”


On Tuesday January 15th, NDN’s MENA Initiative will host a luncheon event on “Investing for Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa.” This panel will bring together senior policy officials, private sector investors, and global innovators to discuss some exciting current projects as well as future opportunities for building economic growth in the region by harnessing local entrepreneurship. Space will be limited so please RSVP TODAY.

The panel is still being finalized, but currently confirmed panelists include:

  •  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Nazanin Ash –  Bureau of  Near Eastern Affairs, responsible for assistance and partnership initiatives where she overseas MEPI
  • Leslie Jump – a global investment pioneer and Partner at Sawari Ventures
  • Philip Blumberg, CEO of Blumberg Capital Partners

Location: NDN Event space at 729 15th St. NW
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Contact: Bradley Bosserman

Lunch and refreshments will be served.


NDN Hosts Senior State Dept. Officials to Discuss Events in MENA

Amb. Bill Taylor

Last week, in the midst of the tragic events in Libya, NDN’s MENA Initiative hosted two events featuring senior State Department officials, a leading academic on Islamist governance, and experts in public-private partnerships. On Tuesday, September 11th Ambassador William Taylor spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the U.S. Middle East strategy. Amb. Taylor serves as the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions and overseas all American assistance to the post-Arab Spring countries. He was joined by Dr. Nathan Brown, one of the most well-respected scholars of Islamist governance in Egypt, who discussed how U.S. policy can adapt to working with new Arab partners. And finally, Mickey Bergman explained how public-private partnerships – like those he manages through the Aspen Institute – can play a major role in building prosperous Middle Eastern states. A delegation of 25 high school students from Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt also took part in the program. The Project on Middle East Democracy published a more in-depth summary of their remarks which is available here.

Dr. Tomicah Tillemann

On Thursday, September 13th, Dr. Tomicah Tillemann presented his exciting work at the State Department building civil society in emerging democracies. With so much discussion of post-conflict nations being focused on political development, the vital role of civil society and economic development is too often overlooked. You can learn more about the projects Dr. Tillemann coordinates through Secretary Clinton’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.

Save The Date: September 11th Event with Amb. Bill Taylor

On the Anniversary of the September 11 attacks, NDN’s MENA Initiative will host a panel discussion on American strategy in the Middle East, taking stock of our response to the Arab Spring and identifying key challenges and opportunities for our future policy in the region.

This discussion will feature Ambassador William Taylor who currently serves as the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions at the U.S. Department of State. There are very few people with more first hand experience with America’s Middle East policy than Amb. Taylor. In addition to his current position, he has previosly Directed The Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, Coordinated U.S. assitance to Afghanistan, and served as the U.S. representative to the Middle East Quartett. Check back often or subscribe to the RSS feed, as the full invite and information on other speakers will be made available here in the coming days.

Event Recap: Under Secretary Hormats Visits The MENA Initiative

NDN’s new MENA Initiative hosted Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats on June 26th. U/S Hormats overseas all Economic, Energy, and Environmental policy at the State Department and has been at the very center of formulating and implementing the American economic response to the Arab Spring.  In his remarks, he highlighted the important – if under reported – efforts undertaken by the State Department to support economic growth throughout the region. He also emphasized the importance of projects like NDN’s MENA Initiative for building stronger support for a more expansive economic growth strategy in these transition countries.

Ultimately, a stable, prosperous, and democratic region is in all of our interests.  The region requires stability and patience is needed by its own people and by us because some changes take a considerable amount of time.  We have to support them as new democracies.  Contrary to what some have said, the Arab Spring has not turned into an Arab Winter.  Much progress has been made. And there are many many opportunities for us to play a constructive role.  We have to work with the people and understand their desires – and have specific and constructive measures to put on the table.  Rhetoric will not suffice; concrete support is needed on financing, trade, and support for SMEs.

Despite progress in key areas— growth in the region has not been inclusive.

Quite simply, many people in the region have not had the opportunity to participate productively in their economies or their societies.  This is a challenge that we, and the new governments, have to address. Providing more people with the opportunity to participate productively in their economies and benefit from them will lead to greater and more broadly based prosperity but also to a sounder base for political and social reforms.

The full transcript of U/S Hormats’ remarks is available here.