Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts FPRI’s Program on the Middle East: A Mid-Year Update
FPRI’s Program on the Middle East: A Mid-Year Update

FPRI’s Program on the Middle East: A Mid-Year Update

  • June 15, 2016

FPRI’s Program on the Middle East: A Mid-Year Update

  • June 15, 2016


In the first half of 2016, FPRI’s Middle East program was extremely active. The Middle East program scholars published regularly on critical developments and trends in the Middle East, and hosted diverse Middle East-related programming, bringing renowned experts to FPRI forums to speak to professionals and engaged citizens about regional subjects that bear upon American foreign policy.

FPRI’s Middle East Program scholars and trustees have written, spoken, been cited or published +160 times in +70 distinct, reputable internal and external publications and media outlets spanning +10 countries.

Scholarly Contributions in External Outlets

+130 Scholarly Contribution

+60 External Outlets

+10 countries

 External Productivity

2016_05_25_External Publications


Scholarly Contributions in Internal FPRI Outlets

+30 Scholarly Contributions

9 Internal Outlets

5 Distinct Venues

 Internal Productivity

Internal Publications 2


FPRI Venue Map


New Books By FPRI MidEast Scholars

 Mendelsohn Book  Maddy-Weitzman Book  Yom Book
  • Senior Fellow Barak Mendelsohn published The al Qaeda Franchise: The Expansion of al-Qaeda and Its Consequences through Oxford University Press to great acclaim.
  • Senior Fellow Bruce Maddy-Weitzman published A Century of Arab Politics: From the Arab Revolt to the Arab Spring through Rowman & Littlefield, which will likely become a staple in university classrooms dealing with these tumultuous political events and their ripple effects.
  • Senior Fellow Sean L. Yom published The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa with co-editor Mark Gasiorowski through Westview Press, offering comprehensive and current examination of the domestic politics and foreign policies of this crucial region.

FPRI Names 5 Robert A. Fox Fellows

FPRI’s Middle East program is proud to announce that it has named five Robert A. Fox Fellows, who will spend the year writing and speaking on a wide range of issues related to the Middle East and North Africa, and U.S. policy therein. Sponsored by Robert A. Fox, these Fellows have been chosen on the basis of their erudite scholarly contributions, and their ability to respond to contemporary developments in the region in a sound and timely fashion, based on FPRI’s focus on geopolitical analysis. This mark the second year (2016-2017) of the fellowship, which is being awarded to two new scholars and renewed for an additional year for three existing Robert A. Fox Fellows. They are:

berti_bernadettaBenedetta Berti is a Robert A. Fox Fellow, a foreign policy and security researcher, author, and lecturer. Her work focuses on human security and internal conflicts, on post-conflict stabilization and peacebuilding. Dr. Berti is the author of three books, including Armed Political Organizations: From Conflict to Integration (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) and her work has appeared, among others, in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Al-Jazeera. She is a Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a TED Senior Fellow, and an independent human security consultant. In 2015 the Italian government awarded her the Order of the Star of Italy (order of Knighthood).

GarfinkleAdam Garfinkle is a Robert A. Fox Fellow and founding editor of The American Interest. Before founding The American Interest in 2005, he served in 2003-05 as principal speechwriter to the Secretary of State (S/P, Policy Planning). He has also been editor of The National Interest and has taught at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College and other institutions of higher learning.

Samuel HelfontSamuel Helfont is a Robert A. Fox Fellow and post-doctoral lecturer of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote his dissertation on Saddam Hussein’s use of religion to entrench his authoritarian regime, based on captured Ba’th Party and Iraqi state records. Helfont is the author of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi: Islam and Modernity  (The Moshe Dayan Center/Tel Aviv University Press, 2009) and has written widely in publications such as The Middle East JournalForeign Affairs, OrbisThe New Republic, and The Jewish Review of Book, among others.

Vish SakthivelVish Sakthivel is a Robert A. Fox Fellow focusing on North Africa. She is also a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle East Studies at Oxford University, where she is writing her dissertation on Islamist politics in Algeria and Morocco. She is also a nonresident adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and is the author of the WINEP monograph, “Al-Adl wal-Ihsan: Inside Morocco’s Islamist Challenge.” Her work has appeared in Foreign AffairsWorld Politics ReviewAl Monitor, the Oxford University Press Islamic Encyclopedia, among other outlets.

photo.watts_clintWattsClint Watts is a Robert A. Fox Fellow and the President of Miburo Solutions, Inc. His research focuses on analyzing transnational threat groups operating in local environments on a global scale. Before starting Miburo Solutions, he served as a U.S. Army infantry officer, a FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force, and as the Executive Officer of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC). He is also the editor of the blog and a frequent contributor to FPRI’s blog, Geopolitiicus.

Scholar Related News

FPRI’s Middle East program scholars had a number of noteworthy accomplishments in the first half of 2016:

  • Sarah Bush, a Senior Fellow in FPRI’s now concluded Project on Democratic Transitions since, joined the Middle East Program in March of this year. Dr. Bush is an Assistant Professor of political science at Temple University, whose research focuses on democracy promotion, non-state actors in world politics, and gender and human rights policy in the developing world.
  • Watts TestimonyRobert A. Fox Fellow Clint Watts testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on April 5, 2016 on the subject of “Terror in Europe: Safeguarding U.S. Citizens at Home and Abroad.” Watts also participated in a Defense Intelligence Agency Conference Panel on ISIS Affiliates; and presented at the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness’ Domestic Extremism Conference.
  • Robert A. Fox Fellow Samuel Helfont attended the “Suli Forum,” a significant annual meeting of regional and international stakeholders, as well as academic and policy experts, in Sulaimaniya (Iraqi Kurdistan) on behalf of FPRI. Upon his return he presented a trip report, the audio of which is available here, and wrote an article for FPRI’s American Review titled Homage to Kurdistan, which is one of FPRI’s most read essays this year.
  • Senior Fellow Benedetta Berti was named a Non-Resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point.
  • Senior Fellow Michael A. Reynolds was named a 2016-2017 Fellow for The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers to work on his biography of Enver Pasha.