The Brussels MENA Briefings are bimonthly, in-depth roundtable discussions on topics of current significance in the MENA region, co-hosted by CARPO and the Stimson Center held in Brussels on the first week of every second month. The attendance is by invitation only.

Should you be interested in being considered for the invitation list, kindly send an email to Mirjam Schmidt with your name, affiliation and geographical or thematic area of interest and expertise in the Middle East.

Upcoming Events:

Summer break

Past Events:

The Brussels MENA Briefing: The Gulf Cooperation Council at 40 – Opportunities and Challenges for the EU

The Brussels MENA Briefing: The Gulf Cooperation Council at 40 – Opportunities and Challenges for the EU

On June 16, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and Stimson Europe hosted their twelfth “Brussels MENA Briefing” – a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region – on “The Gulf Cooperation Council at 40: Challenges and Opportunities for the European Union (EU)”

Speakers included Najla al-Qassemi, Director Global Affairs Division, B’huth Dubai Public Policy Research Center, and Sebastian Sons, Researcher at CARPO. The discussion was moderated by Wael Abdulshafi, Research Analyst at the Stimson Center.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean

Brussels MENA Briefing: Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean

On April 14, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the Stimson Center Europe hosted the eleventh “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on “Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean”.

Speakers included Dr. Ahmed Kandil, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Energy Studies Program at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, and Hafsa Halawa, independent consultant, Visiting Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Program of the European Council on Foreign Relations and Non-resident Fellow at the Middle East Institute. The discussion was moderated by Desirée Custers, Research Assistant of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Stimson Centre.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: Lebanon at a Crossroads: Looming State Collapse and Prospects for External Engagement

Brussels MENA Briefing: Lebanon at a Crossroads: Looming State Collapse and Prospects for External Engagement

On March 17, 2021 Stimson Europe and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) hosted their tenth Brussels MENA Briefing titled “Lebanon at Crossroads: Looming State Collapse and Prospects for External Engagement”, on the political, economic, and social crisis in Lebanon. This was the first Briefing hosted by the new Middle East and North Africa Program launched by the Stimson Center in March 2021, and located at Stimson’s new permanent presence in Brussels, Belgium. The Brussels MENA Briefings are a continuation of a series of discussion previously conducted by the EastWest Institute (EWI).

 The Briefing started with an in-depth analysis of the current situation in Lebanon, with one speaker emphasizing the lack of progress in the investigation into the Beirut blast of August 4, 2020. This unprecedented, massive explosion led to at least 200 deaths and was caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored in a port warehouse without proper safety measures. The speaker highlighted that the judge leading the investigation was dropped from the case in February 2021, after he had charged the caretaker prime-minister and three former ministers with negligence. The opaque investigation is seen as symptomatic of the country’s current predicament, namely lack of accountability of the ruling elite.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: Kuwait and the post-Sheikh Sabah Era

Brussels MENA Briefing: Kuwait and the post-Sheikh Sabah Era

On December 1, the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) hosted the ninth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on “Kuwait and the post-Sheikh Sabah Era”.

Speakers included Vice Admiral (ret.) Ahmad Al-Mulla, advisor to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, and Dr. Courtney Freer, assistant professorial research fellow at the Middle East Center of the London School of Economics. Well-known experts on the Persian Gulf region and members of the European policy community virtually attended this briefing, which was held under the Chatham House Rule.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: The Biden Administration’s Middle East Policy and Transatlantic Relations

Brussels MENA Briefing: The Biden Administration’s Middle East Policy and Transatlantic Relations

On November 17, the EastWest Institute (EWI) and Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) hosted their eighth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on the recent election of Joe Biden as U.S. president-elect and the changes his administration could bring to both the United States’ own Middle East policy, as well as its transatlantic relations with the European Union (EU) vis-à-vis the Middle East. 

Speakers included Cameron Munter, former U.S. ambassador and former president of the EastWest Institute, and James Moran, associate senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The discussion was moderated by Wael Abdul-Shafi, EWI MENA program associate. 

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Brussels MENA Briefing: The Economic Dimensions of the Conflict in Yemen

Brussels MENA Briefing: The Economic Dimensions of the Conflict in Yemen

The seventh edition of the Brussels MENA Briefing, co-hosted by the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO), in partnership with the Rethinking Yemen’s Economy initiative, was dedicated to the economic impact of the ongoing conflict in Yemen—a war that started in 2014/15 and has since turned the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis according to the UN. 

The Rethinking Yemen’s Economy initiative aims to contribute to peacebuilding and conflict prevention, economic stabilization and sustainable development in Yemen by building consensus in crucial policy areas through engaging and promoting informed Yemeni voices from all backgrounds (the “Development Champions”) in public discourse on development, economy and post-conflict reconstruction in Yemen, and by positively influencing local, regional and international development agendas. It is implemented by CARPO, DeepRoot Consulting and the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies and is generously funded by the European Union and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Yemen.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: Jordanian Foreign Policy in Light of Regional Geopolitical Shifts

Brussels MENA Briefing: Jordanian Foreign Policy in Light of Regional Geopolitical Shifts

On September 8, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their sixth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—on the topic of “Jordanian Foreign Policy in Light of Regional Geopolitical Shifts.”

Speakers included Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh, professor at the University of Jordan and well-known security and political analyst, and Dr. Edmund Ratka, designated head of the Amman Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The discussion was moderated by Wael Abdul-Shafi, EWI MENA program associate.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: How to Rescue Sudan’s Transition Process

Brussels MENA Briefing: How to Rescue Sudan’s Transition Process

On July 7, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their fifth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of after-work briefings on the MENA region—focusing on how to rescue Sudan’s transition process, as well as the role the international community can play in Sudan’s political transition.

Speakers included Yasir Zaidan, lecturer of international affairs and security studies at the National University of Sudan, and Dr. Annette Weber, senior fellow at the Africa and Middle East division of the German Institute for International and Security Studies (SWP) in Berlin. EWI’s Vice President of the MENA program, Kawa Hassan, served as moderator.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: New Iraqi Government in Place: Challenges and Opportunities for Iraq in its Neighborhood

Brussels MENA Briefing: New Iraqi Government in Place: Challenges and Opportunities for Iraq in its Neighborhood

On June 9, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their fourth “Brussels MENA Briefing”—a series of afterwork briefings on the MENA region—focusing on challenges facing the new Iraqi government, as well as the role the European Union (EU) can play in supporting the new government in Baghdad.

Speakers included Sajad Jiyad, visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and former managing director of the Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies based in Baghdad, and Daniela Verena Huber, head of the Mediterranean and Middle East Program of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). EWI’s Vice President of the MENA program, Kawa Hassan, severed as moderator.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: The Status Quo of the Libya Conflict: Is the Berlin Process Obsolete?

Brussels MENA Briefing: The Status Quo of the Libya Conflict: Is the Berlin Process Obsolete?

May 5, 2020

On May 5, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) hosted their third “Brussels MENA Briefing,” a series of after-work briefings on the MENA region, on the state of affairs of the ongoing Libyan Civil War.

Speakers included Anas El Gomati, founder and director of the Sadeq Institute, and Kristina Kausch, senior resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. CARPO’s CEO Adnan Tabatabai served as moderator.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: Post-Sultan Qaboos Oman: Transition Opportunities and Challenges

Brussels MENA Briefing: Post-Sultan Qaboos Oman: Transition Opportunities and Challenges

April 8, 2020

On April 8, the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO), hosted the second “Brussels MENA Briefing,” a series of after-work briefings on the MENA region, this time focusing on Oman in the post-Sultan Qaboos era. Invited speakers were Dr. Yousuf Hamed al Balushi, CEO of Smart Investment Gateway and Dr. Cinzia Bianco, Visiting Fellow on Europe and the Gulf at the European Council on Foreign Relations and Senior Analyst at Gulf States Analytics. The Briefing was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and moderated by Kawa Hassan, EWI’s Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa program.

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Brussels MENA Briefing: Iran After Parliamentary Elections

Brussels MENA Briefing: Iran After Parliamentary Elections

March 11, 2020

CARPO’s inaugural “Brussels MENA Briefing” focuses on Iran’s parliamentary elections and the resulting domestic implications and consequences for Iranian foreign relations.

On March 3, the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the EastWest Institute (EWI), launched its “Brussels MENA Briefing” series with the topic of the recent parliamentary elections in Iran. Dr. Azadeh Zamirirad from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and Adnan Tabatabai from CARPO led the discussion, with EWI’s Wael Abdul-Shafi serving as moderator.

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