Influencing Policy on Radical Islam in the Middle East & North Africa
Professor Anoush Ehteshami, Dr Amjed Rasheed and Dr Juline Beaujouan are engaging with policy communities on matters relating to political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with particular focus on the narrative and internal dynamics of the Islamic State (IS) organization. The primary aim of this engagement is the exchange of perspectives and analyses on IS with a view to better understanding regional responses to it, helping inform relevant policies both in the UK and the MENA region itself.
With this in mind, the team has collaborated with foreign policy think tanks, initially the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and subsequently the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). These partnerships have enabled the sharing of project findings with Whitehall communities and other interested parties. Dissemination has also been carried out via innovative policy briefings and public engagement papers (see below). These have been shared with parliamentary stakeholders, the media, think tanks, and research institutions.
Collaboration with partners in the region (Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and Lebanon) has helped extend the policy net further, not least through additional funding from the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), awarded in 2018 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for an additional stream of work on the impact of IS’ policies on refugee communities in Jordan and Lebanon. This has facilitated formal collaboration with the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan in Amman and the Berghof Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon.
Durham University's al-Sabah Programme has played a central role in managing this work, drawing on its regional partners and enriching UK debates about IS by providing additional, regional, perspectives.