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Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme at The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) conducts research and analysis on relevant political, economic and social issues related to the region.

The MENA Programme aims to be a hub for Swedish and international actors in research, analysis and media covering the MENA region. The programme strives to provide the Swedish and international community with knowledge about relevant political, economic and social matters.

The programme has two focus areas, such as the development in Syria and other Middle Eastern conflicts, plus the social transformation in the MENA region and the integration between Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Conflict and Geopolitics

This first focus area deals with the larger geopolitical struggles and how states are coping with their regional and international battles, such as the proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran and Israel/Palestine. Weakness among several post-Ottoman states has opened a battleground for armed non-state actors. How the MENA region could be organised politically, what comes after the Islamic State, Iran’s emerging role and political developments in the Gulf region are examples of thematic issues that are addressed within the programme.

 Social Transformation with Unclear Goals

 The second area deals with social transformations within countries and the interaction between Europe and the Mediterranean region. Social movements and civil society affect developments in the region, although the calls for bread, freedom and social justice during the Arab spring in 2011 were mostly crushed. What new trends can be identified, how do they influence policymaking and how does the region change? The situation in the Maghreb and its relations with Europe and the Palestinian diaspora policy are examples of thematic issues that are being dealt with in the programme.

UI's other programmes and centres



Global Politics and Security

Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies

Swedish National China Centre


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