Middle East and North Africa Program

The Middle East and North Africa have been in a state of intense upheaval since 2011. Developments have been alarming with few exceptions. Even in a region long familiar with conflict, the current wave of violence – in all its social, cross-border, and pan-regional dimensions – is destabilizing the region, with direct consequences for Europe. Before Arab, European, and German policy makers can develop a meaningful strategy for confronting these challenges, they must first understand and categorize what is taking place.

The Middle East and North Africa Program’s workshops, background discussions, and publications are designed to pry open complex issues, generate knowledge, propose solutions, and help create mutual insight into the sometimes conflicting interests and needs of the Arab and European sides.

The policy recommendations that result from the program's activities are as much geared toward German and European policy makers as toward countries in North Africa and the Middle East. With this end in mind, the program works together closely with experts and multipliers from the countries affected by the upheavals.

From 2011 to 2016, a major focus of the program was on domestic developments in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey. In addition to domestic devlopments in these countries, a related focus was placed on how overall regional dynamics affect these countries and on the international community’s policy responses.

In 2014 the program conducted a research project to examine the policies of Gulf States Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar toward Egypt and Tunisia.

Activities and Initiatives

Current Areas of Focus

  • Socioeconomic deveopments
  • Political Islam
  • Islamic terrorism
  • Engagement of the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar) in Egypt and Tunisia

Please note that we are currently unable to take in interns at the Middle East and North Africa Program.


  • Tunisia’s Fragile Democracy: Decentralization, Institution-Building and the Development of Marginalized Regions

    Perspectives from the Region and Europe

    von Dina Fakoussa, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid

    Although Tunisia has made great strides over the past seven years, its democratization process remains fragile. Disillusionment with and distrust in the government, particularly high among the young, also manifest themselves in low voter turnout. To a great extent, this disillusionment stems from the various, persistent socio-economic problems which had led to the uprisings and the ouster of the former autocratic regime in 2011.

  • Germany in the Mediterranean - Between Sincere Engagement, Impotence, and a Normative Paradox

    Dossier: Europe and the Mediterranean

    von Dina Fakoussa | Mediterranean Sea/Mediterranean area, German Foreign Policy
    IEMed. Mediterranean Yearbook 2018, pp. 137-140

    The Mediterranean was catapulted to the forefront of German foreign policy because of the uprisings in 2011. At first, euphoria characterized Germany’s standpoint. Today the region is in disarray. The German stand was altered accordingly but its engagement continues and was raised considerably. Despite intense engagement, several constraints prevent a visible German hallmark at the macro-political level, and Germany remains vulnerable to criticism because of a normative contradiction in its policy.

  • Socio-Economic Challenges in Morocco: Migration, Education, and Employment

    Perspectives from the Region and Europe

    Socio-economic deprivation is posing a vital threat to Morocco’s elusive peace by fueling radicalization and irregular migration. To safeguard the country’s development and stability, comprehensive policies are essential to address challenges in the mutually reinforcing areas of migration, education, and employment. Education level is alarmingly high, and knowledge taught at schools do not match the needs of the labor market. This volume provides recommendations both for the Moroccan government and the EU.


dgap info
dgap in the media