About the Council
The Middle East Policy Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1981 whose mission is to contribute to American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues that affect U.S. interests in the Middle East. This is accomplished through three programs: the quarterly journal Middle East Policy (the most influential policy publication on the region); the Capitol Hill Conference Series for policymakers and their staffs offering multiple points of view on complex issues; and our acclaimed national outreach for students, educators and other civic leaders.
Journal subscriptions are available through Wiley-Blackwell Publishing; the other two programs are free of charge. We believe that knowledge, insight and perspective are the paths to understanding, and strive to provide these through our nonpartisan programming and this website. A separate site, Teachmideast.org, serves the specific needs of educators.
The Middle East Policy Council is a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1981 to expand public debate on the political and economic issues of the region and the policies devised to further American interests there. The Council is an independent, non-membership entity favoring neither right nor left and having no loyalties to any country but the United States. We have established two principal policy forums: the quarterly journal Middle East Policy (published by Wiley-Blackwell) and a series of conferences on Capitol Hill.
Fresh thinking and new insights have been our stock in trade from the beginning. The policy practitioners, analysts, economists and academics appearing in our venues have provided a wide diversity of views on the region stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan and from Central Asia to Oman. They question conventional wisdom and explain complex issues without oversimplifying them. A receptive audience has welcomed these efforts from the appearance of the first issue of the journal.
The events of the last three decades in the Greater Middle East are the grist for our mill. At the Council’s inception, the Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel had recently been brokered by the Carter administration, the Iranian Revolution was still fresh, and a war was raging between Iraq and Iran. The Gulf Cooperation Council had just been established by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Yet to come were the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and President Reagan’s 1982 Fresh Start Initiative — an unsuccessful attempt to lure the warring parties back to the negotiating table.
Comprehensive peace remains elusive, despite the 1991 attempt at Madrid following the first war against Saddam Hussein. The Clinton administration left office in 2000 without having closed the deal between Israel and the Palestinians conceived at Oslo almost a decade earlier. Even worse, the unprecedented September 11, 2001, attacks on the American homeland generated wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the ultimate outcome of which history has yet to decide. The transformative wave of protests known as the Arab Spring, which began in late 2010 and toppled regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, has stagnated into a bitter civil war in Syria. Tensions have also escalated with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
On the hopeful side, the comprehensive 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, re-endorsed several times since then, remains on the table. In addition, the U.S. administration and top military leaders affirmed in spring 2010 the centrality of a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to American strategic interests in the region. The Council welcomed this official endorsement of the thinking of its founders, its board, its advisers, its contributors, its staff and its audience. It matches an international consensus that crystallized four decades ago.
A committee tasked with providing strategic input to the Middle East Policy Council.
Meet the Council staff, Board of Directors, National and Editorial Advisory Committees.
Hon. Ford M. Fraker
Former Ambassador, Saudi Arabia
Hon. Richard J. Schmierer
Former Ambassador, Oman.
Hon. William A. Rugh
Former President, AMIDEAST; Former Ambassador, U.A.E.
The Hon. Nick J. Rahall II
U.S. Representative (D-WV)
Mr. Nicolas B. Angell
Afridi, Angell, and Baker
Dr. Robert B. Ashmore
Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University
Dr. Louay Bahry
Adjunct Professor, University of Tennessee
Ms. Helena Cobban
Journalist and author
Mr. Don N. De Marino
Chairman, U.S. - Arab Chamber of Commerce; former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce
Graham E. Fuller
Simon Fraser University
Ian S. Lustick
University of Pennsylvania
The Petroleum Finance Company Ltd.
William B. Quandt
University of Virginia
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Maryland
John O. Voll
The Middle East Policy Council is an educational organization founded in 1981. Its purpose is to contribute to the American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues that affect U.S. interests in the Middle East. The Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt corporation. Donations to the Council are tax deductible. We welcome donations from individuals, corporations, and others. You can give online securely by clicking on this link. You can also assist the Council’s efforts by subscribing to our quarterly journal, Middle East Policy, through the following link.
The Council’s annual budget is approximately $800,000, which is funded by the generosity of donors. These direct contributions meet the ongoing operating expenses of the journal, quarterly Capitol Hill conferences, national teacher workshops, and visiting scholars to contribute to the journal and other forums for policy debate.
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Checks can be made payable to ‘The Middle East Policy Council’ and mailed to:
Middle East Policy Council
Attn: Thomas Mattair
1730 M Street, NW Suite 512
Washington, DC 20036