#Med - Agenda

Towards Med - Regional Meetings


New Strategic Visions and Power Competitions in the Middle East


The Event

On October 8th, key international scholars and policymakers participated in the Towards MED – Regional meeting organized in collaboration with the Atlantic Council, in Washington, DC., and dedicated to the geopolitics of the Middle East. Among them, David Schenker, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, US Department of State and the Former Commander of the US Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel. Their presence sought to explore the most pressing causes of conflict and instability in the MENA region, assess the role and strategies of the main international players and, ultimately, identify future trends regarding the geopolitical order of the area.


The growing power of China and the renewed assertiveness of Russia seem to be a prelude to a new phase of depreciation of Western impact on the rest of the world, if not the opening of a great competition for the redistribution of power and international status. In the context of this global reassessment, the configuration of regional orders has come into question, illustrated by the current collapse of the Middle Eastern order. The idea of a “Russian resurgence’” in the Middle East set against an American withdrawal has captured the attention of policymakers and scholars alike, and warrants further examination of renewed power competition in the region.


9:00 a.m. – Introductory remarks
Amb. Giampiero Massolo
Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)

H.E. Armando Varicchio
Embassy of Italy to the United States

9:30 a.m. – Update on current US strategy toward the region
Mr David Schenker
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
US Department of State

10:15 a.m. – Transatlantic foreign policy in the MENA region
Amb. Barbara Leaf
Senior Fellow
The Washington Institute

Dr Haizam Amirah-Fernández
Senior Analyst
Elcano Royal Institute

Mr William Wechsler
Director, Rafik Hariri Center & Middle East Programs
Atlantic Council

11:40 a.m. – New policies for old actors: Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey
Dr Jon Alterman
Director, Middle East Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Dr Mark N. Katz
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Atlantic Council

Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi
Research Fellow
Royal United Services Institute

Dr Gönül Tol
Director, Center for Turkish Studies
Middle East Institute

1:00 p.m. Lunch Served

1:20 – 2:30 p.m. Keynote Address: A new strategic vision for the United States
Gen. Joseph Votel
Former Commander
US Central Command (CENTCOM)

Dr Karim Mezran
Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

Dr Arturo Varvelli
Senior Research Fellow and Co-Head, Middle East and North Africa Center



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