Islam in a Changing Middle East was launched in August 2013 to meet the deep, powerful need in the policy community, academic community, and broader public for new knowledge about the evolving role of Islam in the politics and societies of the Middle East. The Arab uprisings, which began in late 2010, have created dramatically new opportunities and challenges not only for Islamist movements but also for the academic and policy communities that study them.
In the public realm, many early enthusiasts for the changes in the Arab world now worry that the “Arab Spring” has been overtaken by an “Islamist Winter.” In academia, well-established research programs about the behavior and ideology of Islamist movements are struggling to adapt to the deluge of new information and evidence.
Islam in a Changing Middle East seeks to address both the public and the academic challenges posed by these dramatic changes by supporting innovative research on this vital subject, disseminating this research to relevant audiences and promoting engagement across the academic-public-policy divides. Activities include:
- Panel discussions throughout the academic year that bring leading scholars and policymakers to Washington and provide direct engagement between the academic-public-policy spheres
- Book launches to publicize and encourage new scholarship in the field
- Timely, analytical articles published on ForeignPolicy.com’s Middle East Channel to address current events
- A series of thematic briefing booklets comprised of the latest research and analysis on Islamist movements
- Annual conferences that convene preeminent scholars across a spectrum of fields to promote a multi-disciplinary discourse on the changing nature of Islamism
- Travel-Research-Engagement (TRE) Grants to support scholars’ field research projects