Security Opportunities in the MENA Region

Group photograph of seminar participants on steps of building.

From 21–25 August 2023, the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies hosted an inaugural seminar focused on identifying security challenges in the MENA region and exploring potential opportunities for cooperation. The five-day seminar was titled “Security Opportunities in the MENA Region” and was held in Washington, D.C. The event included 23 participants from 11 NESA region countries. It provided a venue for partners to listen, learn, and brainstorm possible areas to strengthen trust and security coordination.

Group photograph of seminar participants on steps of building.
Group photograph of the Security Opportunities in the MENA Region Seminar in Washington, D.C.


External specialists, academics, and NESA’s Associate Professor David Des Roches were invited to speak during sessions that focused on developing opportunities for regional security coordination in the MENA region. Topics included border security, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, efforts to counter violent extremism, cyber security, maritime security, climate change, refugees and vulnerable populations, and energy and water security.

Speakers at the front of the classroom.
Dr. Michael Sharnoff (on the left) moderated Session 7, and Dr. Theodore Karasik (on the right) spoke during the session on Maritime Security.


Course Director Dr. Michael Sharnoff and Deputy Course Director Dr. Gawdat Bahgat led the seminar. Participants from defense, security, and diplomatic establishments were encouraged to explore and self-identify areas of cooperation, areas of disagreement, and develop proposals to promote progress. By hearing different viewpoints and voices and establishing personal relationships, participants were able to constructively explore ways to advance cooperation and strengthen trust as a strategic national interest for all parties. All discussions were held off-the-record under Chatham House rules of non-attribution.

3 speakers at a table.
From the left: Dr. Michael Sharnoff, Dr. Gawdat Bahgat, and Acting NESA Center Director COL David Lamm, USA (Ret.) during the Commencement Ceremony.


Read about NESA Center Strategic Studies Network MENA Workshop held in March 2023.

NESA Center Strategic Studies Network MENA Workshop

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