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Building Sustainable Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa

Building Sustainable Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa

View the official Report Launch - a Chatham House and Burkle Center project - on the Facebook page of Chatham House. See the link below.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023
5:00 AM (Pacific Time)

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This event was livestreamed on the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme’s Facebook page.



The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has experienced an unprecedented flurry of diplomatic activity that has facilitated greater de-escalation and cooperation. Recent examples of this trend include the restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the normalization of relations between some Gulf countries and Israel.

Global geopolitical shifts and rising domestic and regional socio-economic challenges are encouraging MENA countries to find their own mechanisms to reduce conflict. But it is not clear how long this de-escalatory moment may last as regional relationships remain largely competitive and transactional, and current cooperative initiatives are unlikely to evolve into durable and inclusive forums for regional dialogue.

A new research paper co-authored by Dr. Dalia Dassa Kaye and Dr. Sanam Vakil argues that the establishment of a new official multilateral forum for sustainable dialogue and engagement is now achievable. Furthermore, such a forum can add a critical cooperative layer to the region’s largely competitive security architecture. The authors analyze the current regional moment and offer preliminary ideas and practical steps for launching a new regional forum. This event will present the paper’s findings and assess current patterns of regional diplomacy amid changing security dynamics in the MENA region.


Galip Dalay is a scholar and think-tanker specializing on Turkish politics and the Middle Eastern affairs. He is Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy.

He has worked in academia and think-tanks in different capacities: he was IPC – Mercator Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), non-resident fellow at Brookings Doha Centre, and visiting scholar at the University of Oxford.

He has also been research director at Al Sharq Forum, visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Science (IWM) in Vienna, senior associate fellow at the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, and a political researcher at the SETA Foundation in Ankara.

Galip’s research focuses on the question of regionalism and regional order in the Middle East, Turkish politics, Turkish foreign policy, regional Kurdish politics, Political Islam, Turkish-Russian relations, as well as the history and politics of Turkish-Western/European relations.

After his undergraduate studies at Istanbul University and a MSc at the London School of Economics and Political Science, he joined the DPhil program in History at the University of Oxford.

His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Project Syndicate, Newsweek, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, Open Democracy, Middle East Eye and The World Politics Review.


Dalia Dassa Kaye is currently a senior fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations and directing its Initiative for Regional Security Architectures. In 2020-2021 she was a visiting scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Kaye served as the director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation from 2012-2020 and as a senior political scientist at RAND since 2005.

Before joining RAND, she lived in The Netherlands where she was an international affairs fellow at the Dutch Foreign Ministry, a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam and a research scholar at The Netherlands Institute of International Studies. Kaye began her academic career as a professor of political science and international affairs at The George Washington University.

A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and recipient of many other awards and fellowships, she is a frequent public speaker and commentator on international affairs and Middle East policy in a wide range of media outlets. Kaye is the author of two books, Talking to the Enemy: Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia and Beyond the Handshake: Multilateral Cooperation in the Arab-Israeli Peace Process, as well as numerous journal articles, op-eds, and RAND studies.


Yasmine Farouk studied political science at Cairo University, Sciences Po Paris and was a Fulbright Fellow at Yale University during her postdoctoral studies. Her previous research and publications cover Egyptian and Saudi foreign policies, international relations in the Arab world, and social participation in policy and constitution making. Prior to joining Carnegie, Yasmine was based in Egypt where she taught political science. She previously worked at the office of the Egyptian prime minister after the 2011 revolution supporting civil society participation in the national dialogue and constitution making processes. From 2016 to 2017, she was the director of research at Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA), a think tank and training center affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Yasmine was a fellow of the French Ministry of Defense, Stanford University, the American University in Cairo (AUC Forum), and the French ministry of foreign affairs. She was also a consultant for the UNDP working on the Arab Human Development report.

At Carnegie, Yasmine’s research focuses on Saudi Arabia and regional foreign relations.


Sanam Vakil was appointed director of the Middle East and North Africa programme in 2023. She was previously the programme’s deputy director and senior research fellow, and led project work on Iran and Gulf Arab dynamics.

Sanam’s research focuses on regional security, Gulf geopolitics, and on future trends in Iran’s domestic and foreign policy.

She is also the James Anderson professorial lecturer in the Middle East Studies department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe) in Bologna, Italy.

Before these appointments, Sanam was an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at SAIS Washington. She served as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations also providing research analysis to the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa department.

Sanam is the author of Action and Reaction: Women and Politics in Iran (Bloomsbury 2013). She publishes analysis and comments for a variety of media and academic outlets.

Sanam received her BA in political science and history from Barnard College, Columbia University and her MA/PhD in international relations and international economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations, Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs