The Middle East Peace Initiative actively advocates for peace and opens the way for socially-conscious individuals to help in peacemaking efforts across the Middle East.
We do this by increasing awareness of tense stand-offs in the Middle East as well as simmering pots of strife where actions for peace are clearly necessary. We also support many excellent organizations dedicated to peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance in this trouble-plagued region.
Current Trouble Spots
In Lebanon — There are currently 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. As the Palestinian refugee camps have shown us, these bare-existence camps are not only painful hardships for the refugees, they are breeding grounds for angry young men who then feel driven to violence as their only way out. Lebanon is suffering from many disasters and has no resources to make these people’s lives better. Repatriation is urgently needed to places where these refugees can begin their lives again. Before violence occurs.
In Iran — The current nuclear development activities in Iran are seen as a worldwide military threat. So the ongoing negotiations are a clear peace initiative. But the problems in Iran are deeper than that. The sanctions imposed on this country are having a painful impact on the people who live there. This has resulted in angry protests, making the prospects for instability a growing concern.
In Israel — The Palestinian situation in Israel is well known, but what to do about it has been an ongoing thorn in the side of all involved. Negotiations continue in fits and starts. Many countries and non-government organizations continue to be involved. Yet the solution and outcome remain undecided.
In Syria — The civil war which has racked this country since 2011 seems to have no end. More than 350,000 Syrians have died in this conflict, with main opposition groups being brutally beaten down by national leaders with Russian support. In some ways this may have been a training ground for later Russian attacks in Ukraine. Given the death count, the lack of success in peacekeeping here is notable.
In Jordan — Refugees from Syria now number 1.3 million and are a tremendous burden on this country. Most of them have no jobs to pay for their living, contributing to Jordan’s 25% unemployment rate in 2021, with that number soaring to 50% among young people of working age.
In Iraq — The divisions and conflicts in Iraq which became apparent during and after the fall of Saddam Hussein have never gone away. The people involved have shifted alliances and the names of their groups but have continued their struggles. In 2022 the Shi’a group led by Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the protected Green Zone and overran parliament to make their demands known. This remains a country on the brink of war, and deeply in need of a peaceful way forward.
Some Leading Peacekeeping Efforts
Many outstanding organizations around the world are hard at work on various peace initiatives. These are some of the organizations we support:
Harvard University’s Kennedy School Belfer Center Middle East Initiative. This initiative is directed by Tarek Masoud and is dedicated to promoting evidence-based policymaking and good governance in the Middle East. It also focuses on training the region’s next generation of leaders, practitioners and scholars.
United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. This department plays a central role in United Nations efforts to prevent deadly conflict and build sustainable peace around the world. It provides support to the Secretary-General and his envoys in their peace initiatives. It is also an agile platform for crisis response, capable–with the assent of countries concerned–of rapidly deploying mediators and other peacemaking expertise worldwide and cooperating closely with regional organizations on the frontlines of conflicts.
Alliance for Middle East Peace. This organization secures and scales funding to radically expand trust-building interactions between Israelis and Palestinians. It provides capacity-building support and visibility to amplify the voices and impact of its member organizations in the region. It connects individuals and groups to crate a critical mass that lives and acts in support of peace. It adds stability in times of crisis, fosters cooperation that increases impact, and builds an environment conducive to peace over the long term.
Middle East Peace Initiative
Without question, the road to peace in the Middle East is a rocky one, and best walked with people who share your desire to make a difference.