In 1985, a small group of visionary Americans committed to advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East founded The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Today they are the largest research institute devoted exclusively to the study of the Middle East.
Led by Los Angeles civic leader Barbi Weinberg, their founders’ mission was simple yet powerful: to inject the power of ideas and the discipline of scholarship into the making of U.S. Middle East policy. (In the spirit of policy relevance, they chose the term "Near East" rather than the more popular "Middle East" because they wanted the Institute's name to reflect the U.S. State Department's own geographic designation). The founders understood that American interests in the region emanate from a handful of core ideas: security, peace, prosperity, democracy, and stability. But they also recognized that these interests can be best advanced through policies rooted in inquiry, debate, and research. Most of all, the founders envisioned an institution that would reject romantic notions of what outside observers want the Middle East to be, and instead embrace disinterested assessments of what the region actually is.
The Institute's senior research staff includes experts on a wide array of political, military, security, and economic issues that cover every corner of the Middle East. They speak the region's languages, have lived and worked there, and often hail from the region itself. They are proud of the long list of Institute "alumni" who have gone on to serve in virtually every arm of government that plays a role in Middle East policymaking -- including the National Security Council, State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence community.
The Washington Institute provides analysis through the written word, the spoken word, and personal contact. Institute publications -- from policy briefs to full-length monographs -- are widely recognized as "must-reading" for officials, diplomats, and journalists in Washington and around the world. They provide "instant analysis" of breaking events as well as thoughtful, long-range assessments of trends in the shaping of future policy. They frequently brief Congress, the Executive branch agencies, the military, and the intelligence community. Scholars present their findings on prestigious academic panels around the globe. Many times a day, Institute scholars and associates are quoted in major American or international media, appear on the op-ed pages of elite newspapers, or are interviewed on network television and radio news programs. Over one million people turn to their web page every year to read their publications or to view their videos live and on-demand.
Through all of these avenues, the Institute seeks to inject dispassionate, research-driven analysis -- supported by fact and expertise -- into the making of U.S. Middle East policy.
Originally, the organization's research agenda focused on Arab-Israeli relations, political and security issues, and overall U.S. Middle East policy. In the 1990s, prompted by the fall of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, and changes within the regional strategic make-up, the Institute's research breadth grew, to include a special focus on Turkey and the rise of Islamic politics as the dominant leitmotif for understanding political trends across the "expanded" post-Soviet Middle East.
Today, The Washington Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution that advances balanced and realistic U.S. policy ideas to promote security and peace in the Middle East and to defeat the forces of radical extremism. With a professional staff that boasts the broadest array of Middle East scholars and policy practitioners in Washington, and with a vigorous agenda of research and programming, the Institute helps facilitate Arab-Israeli peacemaking, provides practical advice on preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, plays a critical role in U.S. and international efforts to cut off financial support for terrorism, and offers pragmatic ideas to amplify the voices of mainstream Muslims in the fight against radical extremism.
Where is The Washington Institute for Near East Policy