Middle East and South Asia Seminar

Domestic Divisions and Regional Conflicts

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Program Description

From Cairo to Karachi, from Dubai to Delhi, the countries across the MEASA (Middle East South Asia) region pose unique challenges and opportunities for U.S policy-makers. As disruptions caused by the Syrian civil war and radical Islam spill over into Europe, the latest wave of Turkish and Middle East tensions have only added to the regional uncertainty. Traditional allies from Egypt to Saudi Arabia to Israel face new and complex challenges, while adversaries like Iran continue to assert political and military influence from Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

At the same time an assertive China, while vying for dominance in South Asia, has moved into the Middle East and Africa, presenting the United States and its regional allies with fresh challenges—and the risks that come with them. Meanwhile, new leadership in Saudi Arabia is upending traditional foreign policy from Riyadh, and the youth bulge of unemployed and underemployed young men that spawned the “Arab Spring” remains a ticking time bomb amid chronically high unemployment.

Across South Asia, the persistent problems of poverty and underdevelopment remain, while the promise of India’s rise has yet to materialize, and Pakistan increasingly falls under the shadow of China. The demographic weight of South Asia—1.6 billion people—coupled with its economic challenges ensures that the fate of those key countries will affect the world.

This special foreign policy program will offer attendees the opportunity to discuss these and other critical issues with a group of nationally recognized speakers in an informal and off-the-record setting. Areas to be covered are reflected in the topics below.

Areas to be covered are reflected in the topics below and may be changed to address current issues at the time of the seminar.


Seminar Topics

  • The Middle East: A Region of Chaos and Humanitarian Disaster
  • U.S. Strategy Towards the Middle East and South Asia
  • Is OPEC Relevant?
  • Pakistan: Navigating Major Power Relations Amid Crisis
  • The Middle East and South Asia in the New Global Context
  • The Middle East: Shia-Sunni Conflict and Its Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Puzzles and Dilemmas in the Middle East and South Asia: Culture, Leadership and Political Order
  • Turkey, Kurds, and the United States in the Middle East
  • America’s New Syria Strategy and the Broader Struggles in the Middle East
  • Understanding the Linkage of Extremism in South Asia and the Middle East
  • The Iran Challenge: Politics, Economics, Security and Geopolitics
  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States—The Future of a Troubled Region
  • The Evolving Geopolitics of South Asia
  • From the Middle East to Europe: How to Understand and Engage Political Islam
  • Russia’s Grand Strategy in the Middle East and South Asia
  • Fighting Extremism: The U.S. and Its War Against al-Qa’ida and ISIS
  • Why India is Not a Great Power Yet
  • America’s Strategic Quandaries in South Asia
  • Jordan, Kuwait and Yemen: The Other Stories
  • A New Iraq in a New Middle East
  • The United States and the Middle East: Think Outcomes—Not Solutions
  • Saudi Arabia: Confronting Multiple Challenges



The Program Moderator will have extensive experience conducting senior-level foreign policy seminars for the Intel Community. The Moderator will have first-hand knowledge and a detailed, up-to-date understanding of the region being studied in each seminar. In addition to the daily morning introduction and afternoon wrap-up, the Moderator will generally make a separate presentation and be available to provide additional presentations as needed. The Moderator will facilitate, when necessary, dialogue between the speakers and participants as well as lead the group discussions and Q&A sessions.



The fee for each three-day Foreign Policy Seminar is $2,250 per person. The program will feature approximately 12-15 separate presentations. Also included are daily continental breakfasts and working luncheons. The seminar will be held in a private meeting room. An on-site staff person will assist participants as needed and coordinate daily activities.



The target audience for these seminars are civilians (GS-15 and above) and military (O-6 and above). Others who have a special interest in the subject, need-to-know, or are in key positions may apply. Seminar space is limited to assure participants have ample time for open discussion with presenters. Upon registration, attendees will receive confirmation via email within five days. Cancellations will be accepted in writing up to two weeks prior to each program. After that time, substitutions will be accepted. The Agency will be billed if registration is cancelled after the deadline.

If you have any questions or need further information, please call the office at 703-684-8807.  To register click here.


Additional Information

Reporting information will be sent to all participants approximately two weeks prior to the start of the program.

These programs are informal and strictly “off-the-record.” No video, PowerPoint or audio-visual aids are utilized in the presentations.

Very good program. I have taught and studied international security studies for a few years and found the program very worthwhile, informative, and full of highly qualified experts. Keep working hard to maintain the balance and diversity of views—it’s essential!

L.P., Air Force • Middle East & South Asia Seminar March 2017

This is an outstanding program! I greatly appreciate the diversity of experience, thought and expertise. Extremely thought-provoking and in-depth analysis of issues and impact of regional history. Makes me never want to give credence to U.S. television 24/7 media. Thank you!

B.R., Air Force • Middle East & South Asia Seminar March 2017

Excellent seminar—a semester of information compressed into a day. Outstanding!

Air Force attendee • Middle East Seminar October 2016

Outstanding Seminar. Thoroughly enjoyed the rich perspective brought forward by well-credentialed speakers.

M.F., Air Force • Middle East & South Asia Seminar March 2017

Outstanding, eye-opening course that helped connect a lot of dots and add many layers of complexity to what is often over-simplified in the media.

D.Z., Air Force • Middle East & South Asia Seminar March 2017