Desirée Custers

Research Assistant

Middle East & North Africa

Desirée Custers is Research Assistant in Stimson’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Program. Before joining the Stimson Center, she worked as a Program Assistant at The EastWest Institute’s Middle East and North Africa Program in Brussels. She also interned at the Jordan office of EcoPeace Middle East, an environmental organization based in Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Desirée’s main research interests include Arab-African relations, environmental peacebuilding, and the intersection of religion and politics in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Desirée holds an M.A. in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and graduated magna cum laude from the KU Leuven University in Belgium with an M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies. She is fluent in Dutch, English and Arabic. 


Exploring concrete avenues of cooperation and coordination between Iraq and its immediate neighborhood

Building trust through dialogue on specific areas of shared concern

Identify local solutions to overcoming the closed border and increase bilateral trade in specific industries between both countries.

Research & Writing
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Field Note
Euro-Arab people-to-people Relations

Reflecting on the El-Hiwar II Summer School on Euro-Arab p2p relations

Project Note
The Iranian Presidential Election: A Transatlantic Perspective

Event summary on a roundtable discussion on the upcoming Iranian elections on June 18, 2021.

Qatar and Somalia-Kenya relations: Projection of Mediation Power in the Horn of Africa

Qatar brokered a resumption of diplomatic ties between Kenya and Somalia, but challenges to peaceful relations remain.

From Messenger to Host

Iran-Saudi talks in Baghdad demonstrates Iraq’s potential as a hub for regional dialogue, but this is a fragile process and prone to be undermined by spoilers.

Red Sea Multilateralism: Power Politics or Unlocked Potential

In January 2020, Saudi Arabia launched the Red Sea Council, a multilateral framework of littoral countries, to cooperate on issues of security and enhance stability in the Red Sea region. In light of changing regional dynamics, the Council may remodel…

Political Islam in Sudan: A Focus of External Rivalries

Originally published in African Liberty

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