Middle East and South Asia

A Political-Economic Conflict Seminar

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Program Description

Every recent administration has sought to reduce U.S. engagements in the Middle East and South Asia—and has failed in the attempt. The convergence of regional rivalries, great power competition, transnational, religious-political and criminal forces have compelled American attention. The region remains crucial for the world economy, and its strategic value remains intact. The disruptions caused by the Syrian conflict and radical Islam have spilled over into Europe with resulting mass migration.

New tensions are added to the old unresolved tensions emanating from the unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the lack of good governance and sound economic development. In recent years, an increasingly assertive Iran has spread its political and military influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and has presented the U.S. and its Arab allies with serious challenges. Pakistan continues to be shaped by contrary visions and persistent rivalry among the major political, military, judicial, and religious groups. India, a rising economic power with serious institutional and sectarian weaknesses, performs well below its potential. Its relations to an increasing assertive China, as well as with Pakistan, are shaping the geopolitical contours of the region.

Speakers include scholars and former policymakers who have lived and worked in the region and are familiar with its rich and traditional cultures. They bring to the discussion their experience with how policy is made in Washington, as well as a nuanced understanding of the political and cultural currents that are driving the peoples of the Middle East and South Asia, as well as the engagement of China, Russia, and the United States in the region.


Seminar Topics

  • Faultlines and Frontlines in the New Middle East
  • Reform, Revolution and Civil War: Syria in the Shadow of Foreign Engagement
  • The Trump Administration’s Middle East Strategy
  • Saudi Arabia at the Cross Roads: Tense Evolution vs. Dangerous Stagnation
  • The Impact of the 2015 Nuclear Deal on Iranian Behavior at Home and Abroad
  • Emerging Markets: Transformation and What It Means for the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States
  • The Middle East Security Challenges in a Changing Region
  • The Coming Conflict with Iran?
  • Indian Politics and the Prospects for India – Pakistan Rapprochement
  • Turkish-American Relations: Current Tensions and Future Prospects
  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States: The Future of a Troubled Region
  • Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)
  • America’s Quandary in South Asia: Understanding the New Strategic Dynamics
  • The Iran Challenge: The Political and Economic Dynamics of the Islamic Republic
  • Kuwait and Yemen: The Other Stories
  • Egypt and the United States: An Impending Divorce?

*The above topics may change to address current events at the time of the seminar.



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 at the Capitol Hill Club. 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 Iris Fernandez or Patricia Patton at 703-684-8807.  To register click here.


Additional Information

The Foreign Policy Seminars will be held in a private meeting room at the Capitol Hill Club, located at 300 First Street, SE, Washington, DC. The Club is directly across the street from the Capitol South Metro Station (Blue and Orange Lines). Business attire for participants is required. 

Reporting information concerning registration time and meeting room assignment will be sent to all participants approximately two weeks prior to the start of each program. The seminar meeting room will open at 7:45 am and seminars will be conducted from 8:00 to 4:00 pm.

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

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

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

Outstanding program of learning. Very impressed not only with caliber of speakers, but with their absolute candor and lack of “political correctness.” Will recommend others participate in this highly relevant training.

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

One of the best programs I have ever been to. The speakers and their perspectives will be very helpful in my soon-assignment to the Middle East. The enthusiasm and knowledge of the speakers is inspiring! Thank you.

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

Awesome presentations by speakers who are clearly well-prepared and have a strong depth of knowledge. I came away much more enlightened with the issues facing the Middle East.

T.G., Air Force • Middle East & South Asia Seminar March 2017