Pathways to Progress

Stimson Center, Marshall Foundation Launch Ground-breaking Middle East Project

The Henry L. Stimson Center and the George C. Marshall Foundation have begun a timely, provocative and relevant joint initiative Pathways to Progress: Peace, Prosperity, and Change in the Middle East.

Drawing on the Marshall Plan legacy, Pathways to Progress, as it unfolds, will partner with key leaders and institutions in the region to develop ground-breaking solutions and policy options that foster peace and stability, create jobs, and encourage broad-based, inclusive economic growth.  Pathways to Progress will cultivate new thinking and creative solutions percolating in the region to promote an active dialogue between United States and the Arab world in which new ideas and innovative thinking flow in both directions.

The project is being led by Mona Yacoubian, who is a senior advisor at Stimson. As project director, Yacoubian will focus on understanding diverse trends in the region and developing an integrated approach to meet the myriad challenges.

“Given the Arab world’s momentous transformations, Pathways to Progress will look to translate the spirit and ethos of the Marshall Plan to an Arab world context,” says Yacoubian.

The Arab uprisings since early in 2011 mark the beginning of a major transformation in the Arab world.  The region’s tumultuous transitions are marked by a shifting political landscape, significant economic challenges, and evolving security threats.  These momentous developments elevate the importance of understanding of the complex dynamics propelling the change, as well as innovative policy solutions to the daunting challenges.

The project is part of Stimson’s Middle East/Southwest Asia Program and the Marshall Foundation’s ongoing initiatives in international post-conflict and post-regime change reconstruction and redevelopment.

Ellen Laipson, president and CEO of Stimson, will serve as an advisor to the project. Olin Wethington, Marshall Foundation trustee and former assistant secretary of the treasury for international affairs, will serve as an advisor. He is joined on advisory committee by Amb. Thomas Pickering, who sits on the boards of both organizations.

Laipson directs Stimson’s Middle East/Southwest Asia program, which looks at a wide range of regional issues, with a principal focus on the security agenda, from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.  Laipson recently directed the project, Seismic Shift: Understanding Change in the Middle East, which brought together a group of experts to evaluate how various non-government sectors—university scholars, think tanks, democracy and human rights non-governmental organizations, journalists, social media, and private businesses—looked at prospects for change in the Middle East prior to December 2010.

Founded in 1989, the Stimson Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to enhancing international peace and security through a unique combination of rigorous analysis and outreach.  The Center’s approach is pragmatic—geared toward providing policy alternatives, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles to a more peaceful and secure world.

The Marshall Foundation, located in Lexington, Virginia, protects, preserves and promotes the example of George C. Marshall, former Army chief of staff during WWII, secretary of state, secretary of defense and architect of the Marshall Plan for post-war economic recovery.  It accomplishes its mission through public and private programs in leadership, scholarship and statesmanship as well as its research library and museum.