The Arab uprisings over the past year mark the beginning of a major transformation in the Arab world. The region’s tumultuous transitions are marked by a shifting political landscape, significant economic challenges, and evolving security threats. These momentous developments elevate the importance of understanding of the complex dynamics propelling the change, as well as innovative policy solutions to the daunting challenges.
The Stimson Center and the George C. Marshall Foundation are delighted to announce our joint initiative, Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity, and Change in the Middle East. The project, part of Stimson’s Middle East/Southwest Asia program, will be led by Mona Yacoubian, who joined Stimson in November as a Senior Advisor. As the project’s director, Yacoubian will focus on understanding diverse trends in the region, and developing an integrated approach to meet the myriad of challenges.
“As the Arab world embarks on a trajectory of change, its transitions will demand an integrated approach to address challenges faced by the region. Pathways to Progress will seek to promote innovative ideas that ensure the region will embark on a path marked by greater peace and prosperity,” Yacoubian says.
Drawing on the Marshall Plan legacy, Pathways to Progress, will partner with key actors in the region to develop innovative solutions and policy options that foster peace and stability, create jobs, and encourage broad-based, inclusive economic growth. Working in partnership with key institutions in the region, Pathways to Progress will cultivate new thinking and creative solutions percolating in the region, promoting an active dialogue between the United States and the Arab world in which new ideas and innovative thinking flow in both directions.
“Given the Arab world’s momentous transformations, ‘Pathways to Progress’ will look to translate the spirit and ethos of the Marshall Plan to an Arab world context,” says Yacoubian. “While the United States does not have significant financial resources to devote to the Arab Spring, the Marshall Plan provides a successful blueprint for democratic transitions following tremendous upheaval.”
Yacoubian comes to Stimson from the US Institute of Peace, where she served as a Special Advisor and Senior Program Officer on the Middle East. Her work focused on Lebanon and Syria, as well as broader issues related to democratization in the Arab world.
She has an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Duke University. Yacoubian was a Fulbright Scholar in Syria (1985-86), and held an International Affairs Fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ellen Laipson, president and CEO of Stimson, will serve as an advisor to the project. Laipson directs the Middle East/Southwest Asia program, which looks at a wide range of regional issues, with a principal focus on the security agenda, from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. Laipson recently directed the project, Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East, which brought together a group of experts to evaluate how various non-government sectors-university scholars, think tanks, democracy and human rights non-governmental organizations, journalists, social media, and private businesses-looked at prospects for change in the Middle East prior to December 2010.
Other analysis includes:
- Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East, Stimson Center, May 2011, http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Full_Pub_-_Seismic_Shift.pdf
- “Saving Syria from Civil War,” FP.com, October 5, 2011, http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/05/saving_syria_from_civil_war
- “Impact of the Arab Uprisings,” USIP On the Issues, April 18, 2011, http://www.usip.org/publications/impact-arab-uprisings
- “Cairo, Heed the Lessons from Algiers and Beirut,” FP.com, February 23, 2011, http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/23/cairo_heed_the_lessons_from_algiers_and_beirut
- “Winning the Future in the New Middle East,” Politico.com, February 1, 2011, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/48638.html