What we do

Our mission is to produce actionable knowledge concerning the struggle for political freedoms and social justice in the Middle East and North Africa. We advance this cause in three ways: investigating state violence in all its forms, raising public awareness, and advocating for policy change.

More than a decade has passed since the Arab uprisings of 2011. The demands for democracy and economic justice which brought people to the streets are nevertheless no closer to fulfillment. To the contrary, millions of people today are silenced by their governments and excluded from participating in the political, economic and social affairs of their countries. Popular calls for change continue to be met with assassinations, mass arrests, forced displacements or constant surveillance. And all around, levels of poverty and inequality are getting worse.

As people throughout the region are being deprived of their basic rights, those responsible face few consequences. Their impunity derives in part from the priority that the international community assigns to stability. Such priorities allow abusive regimes to position themselves as partners while encouraging western policymakers to ignore how stability is often achieved: via repression, violence and the maintenance of fear.

The Noria MENA program is committed to challenging the policies and countering the narratives which prevent democracy from springing in the region. We provide a platform for the voiceless to be heard and a place where accountability for state violence can be demanded.

Who we are

The Middle East is likely the most studied and commented upon region in the world. Why, then, has the Noria MENA Program decided to enter the fray?

We launched our initiative because despite all the work done on the MENA, a lack of understanding still pervades the worlds of media and policymaking when it comes to the region’s affairs. With so many focusing on questions of strategy and international politics, we also see too little attention paid to the lives and struggles of everyday people. 

Importantly, the Noria MENA Program is not a think tank or a traditional research center. Rather, we are an action-oriented team committed to using knowledge to drive meaningful change. We do so through a three-step approach:

→ Unrivaled fieldwork

→ Wide dissemination to foster public debate

→ Advocacy directed at international decision-makers

Write for us

The Middle East and North Africa Program publishes original policy papers. Open-access and translated into English, French and Arabic, our products primarily focus upon the local, international and transnational dynamics of authoritarian renewal, though approach this common subject matter from a number of different vantage points. Noria MENA program analyses are crafted so as to be accessible for policymakers, civil society leaders, academics and concerned observers alike.

While this editorial effort provides a forum for senior regional experts, in fulfillment of our institutional mission, it will also endeavor to nurture and launch the research of more junior investigators—those from the Middle East and North Africa especially. We invite contributions from academics, journalists and practitioners.


Editorial series