Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity, and Change in the Middle East

 

     

Understanding the Arab World's Shifting Political Landscape

"An extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit is waiting to be tapped in countries like Egypt and Tunisia. Their people have the talent and drive to build resilient economies and enduring democracies. If we support their efforts we can help them unlock the region's potential, rebuild their dignity, and realize their hopes. And, I argue very strongly, by doing so we will advance our own security."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, June 2, 2011

Launched in 2012, Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity, and Change in the Middle East, a joint initiative between the Stimson Center and the George C. Marshall Foundation, seeks to ensure that the Arab transitions embark on a path toward peace and prosperity. The project's overarching strategic framework analyzes the region's dynamic trends - its shifting political landscape, ongoing economic challenges and evolving security threats - and looks to develop a fresh approach to meet the region's myriad challenges.

Drawing on the legacy of the Marshall Plan-one of the most successful blueprints for regional transformation-Pathways has identified four key themes from the Marshall Plan with deep resonance in the Arab world:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    that drives engines for growth and development of dynamic private sectors
  • Regional Economic Integration
    that creates markets and promotes investment and broader cooperation
  • Regional Security Partnerships
    that build on enhanced trade and cooperation to anchor peace and stability
  • Multilateral Cooperation and Coordination
    that ensures the flow of regional and international assistance to transitioning countries is timely and effective
    Read more >>

Tunis Conference on Regional Economic Integration

On June 29-30, 2013, Pathways to Progress held its first regional conference. The Tunis Conference on Regional Economic Integration, held in partnership with the Tunisian organization L'Institut Arabe des Chefs d'Entreprises, explored the topic of regional economic integration in the Maghreb, with a particular focus on concrete recommendations for promoting greater economic cooperation in the region. The roundtable style conference, featuring 25 participants primarily from North Africa, covered a broad range of topics including the economic benefits of greater integration, the role of the private sector as a potential catalyst, as well as the role of government and public institutions for creating an enabling environment for Maghreb economic integration.

Click here to read the conference report.

Voices from the Region

Grappling with the challenges of a historic period of transition, the Arab world is also the source of numerous creative and innovative ideas that seek to help ensure the transitions' success. At its core, Pathways to Progress looks to promote dialogue and the fruitful flow of ideas between the Arab world and the West. In that spirit, "Voices from the Region" highlights some of the most interesting new ideas emanating from the Arab world. We will regularly feature examples of innovative thinking on the myriad and complex issues facing the region. These ideas are typically "works in progress," and do not purport to be concrete solutions ready to implement. By presenting these ideas to a wider audience, we hope topromote a useful exchange of ideas and an enriching of the debate on how to move the region forward.

"Arab Stabilization Plan," March 2013, Majid Jafar

Read More >>

Recent Analysis

"Libyan Medical Tourism in Tunisia" August 6, 2013

By Bridget Joyce

"A Marshall Plan for the Maghreb and Middle East?" July 28, 2013

By Brian D. Shaw

"Egypt's Chaos Need Not Derail the Arab Spring," July 12, 2013

By Ellen Laipson and Mona Yacoubian

"Can Egypt Become the Next India?" June 2013

By Mona Yacoubian

"The Economic Integration of North Africa," June 2013

By Ellen Laipson and Ghazi Ben Ahmed

"Private Sector, Civil Society Push for REI in the Maghreb," April 11, 2013

By Mona Sadek

"Jordan's Forgotten Youth Problem," March 19, 2013

By Que'Nique Mykte' Newbill

"It's What Happens After Jordan's Elections That Really Matters," February 01, 2013

By Mona Yacoubian

"Parliamentary Elections in Jordan - Change or More of the Same?," January 21, 2013
By Que'Nique Mykte' Newbill  

"Economic Ties Can Save Africa's Arab Spring," January 14, 2013

By Ellen Laipson and Ghazi Ben Ahmed

"Reinvigorate American Soft Power To Shape Change In The Arab World," December 10, 2012
By Mona Yacoubian 

"Innovative Startups Present New Promise for Arab Transitions," December 5, 2012

By Que'Nique Mykte' Newbill and Dina Shahrokhi

"Why Syria may be the catalyst for Jordan's Arab Spring," November 2, 2012

By Que'Nique Mykte' Newbill

"Engagement, not withdrawal, is needed in Arab world," September 21, 2012 

By Mona Yacoubian

More Pathways to Progress Analysis >>

Project News

Mona Yacoubian is quoted in Radio Free Europe on the chaos in Egypt affecting the Arab Spring - September 5, 2013 Click here to read more.

Mona Yacoubian is quoted in the New York Times on the status of the Arab transitions - August 14, 2013 Click here to read more.

Mona Yacoubian is quoted in Inter Press Service News story on U.S. policy toward Egypt - August 15, 2013 Click here to read more.

Geneive Abdo is quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald on recent developments in Egypt - August 2, 2013 Click here to read more.

Geneive Abdo is quoted on the Egyptian crisis The National - July 9, 2013 Click here to read more.

Genieve Abdo is quoted on NBC News on the impace of cutting aid to Egypt - July 8, 2013 Click here to read more.

Geneive Abdo is quoted in the Toronto Star on divisions in Egypt - July 8, 2013 Click here to read more.

Mona Yacoubian served as an international election observer as part of the National Democratic Institute's observer mission for Jordan's January 23rd Parliamentary elections. Click here to read more.

Ellen Laipson was one of the panelists at the Wilson Center's "Defining American Priorities in the Middle East" on November 20, 2012. Click here to watch.

Ellen Laipson spoke at the Middle East Institute Conference on "U.S.-Mideast Diplomacy in Transition: New Era, New Principles" on November 14, 2012. Click here to watch.

Ellen Laipson was one of the panelists on an Al Jazeera post-election show on the topic of "What's Next" on November 7, 2012. Click here to watch.

Mona Yacoubian participated in KQED Radio's public affairs program Forum to discuss the aftermath of recent unrest in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world and its implication for the ongoing Arab transitions on September 17, 2012. Click here to listen. 

Pathways to Progress joins new collaborative of think tanks and organizations focused on the economic dimensions of the Arab transitions. Click here to read.

More Pathways to Progress News >>

Project Events

On September 26, 2013, Pathways to Progress hosted a roundtable discussion on the prospects for regional economic integration in the Maghreb. It focused on the conference report of the Tunis Conference on Regional Economic Integration held in June, 2013. Click here to watch the video of the event. 

On November 26, 2012, Pathways to Progress sponsored a panel discussion, "Prospects for Greater Economic Integration in the Maghreb" with Ghazi Ben Ahmed, General Secretary-General, the Club de Tunis. He emphasized the need for regional economic integration to ensure the Maghreb's stability and future growth. Click here for a summary of the discussion from the event.

On October 3, 2012, Pathways to Progress sponsored a panel discussion, "Aiding the Arab Transitions: US Economic Engagement with Egypt," featuring Caroline Atkinson, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Economics at the National Security Council; Ambassador William Taylor, Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, US Department of State; and James Harmon, Chairman of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund and Chairman and CEO of Caravel Management, LLC. Click here for a summary of the discussion from the event.

On October 1, 2012, Pathways to Progress sponsored a roundtable discussion on the "Religious Dimensions of the Arab Springs" with Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, Founder and Director of Kalam Research & Media. He underscored the diversity and complexity of the various Arab uprisings and expanded on the uprisings' religious dimensions. Click here for a summary of the discussion from the event.

On September 27, 2012,  Pathways to Progress sponsored a roundtable discussion on "Tunisia's Current Political Trends And The Future Of US-Tunisian Relations" with Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou, Vice President of the Tunisia's ruling Nahdah party. Mourou focused on the current political trends in Tunisia and the future of US-Tunisian relations. Click here for a summary of the discussion from the event.

On April 20, 2012 Pathways to Progress sponsored a roundtable discussion on the "Economic Consequences of the Arab Spring" with Francis Ghiles, Senior Research Fellow at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs.  Mr. Ghiles focused his remarks on the Tunisian revolution, describing the 2010 uprising as a "revolt for dignity." Click here for a summary of the discussion from the event.

On April 9, 2012, the Stimson Center co-sponsored a panel dicussion with the George C. Marshall Foundation and the Safadi Foundation USA, "Arab Countries in Transition; an Update on International Support One Year after the Deauville Partnership," featuring Mona Yacoubian, Masood Ahmed, Inger Anderson, and Dr. Peter Howard. Click here for a summary of the discussion and video from the event. 

More Pathways to Progress Events >>

Publications

 
The Arab Spring and Climate Change
February 2013, Stimson Center

"The Arab Spring and Climate Change" does not argue that climate change caused the revolutions that have shaken the Arab world over the past two years. But the essays collected in this slim volume make a compelling case that the consequences of climate change are stressors that can ignite a volatile mix of underlying causes that erupt into revolution.

Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East
May 2011, Stimson Center
The momentous events sweeping the Arab world since late 2010 raise important questions about the art and science of analyzing political and societal events. In an age of information surplus, which creates the illusion that one can easily know what is happening anywhere in the world, big surprises still occur. Societies change, governments make choices that have consequences, and the political life of a country or a region is transformed.

 

Program Director

Ellen Laipson is president and chief executive officer of Stimson. She also directs the Middle East/Southwest Asia program, and focuses in particular on security issues in the Gulf region. Laipson joined Stimson in 2002, after 25 years of government service. Read More >>

Project Director

Mona Yacoubian joined the Stimson Center in 2011. She previously served as a Special Advisor and Senior Program Officer on the Middle East at the US Institute of Peace where her work focused on Lebanon and Syria as well as broader issues related to democratization in the Arab world. Ms.Yacoubian has worked as a consultant on the Middle East for several years.  From 1990-1997, she served as the North Africa analyst at the US Department of State. Read More >>