Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is launching a new Middle East Initiative to be led by Colin Kahl, former national security adviser to Vice President Biden.
The initiative aims to improve understanding of how developments in the Middle East impact people in the region and security around the globe. Kahl plans to provide “connective tissue” for efforts already underway across Stanford, and bring in more Middle East scholars to share their ideas and research.
“There are a number of disparate efforts around campus working on Middle East issues. There is a lot of terrific research and engagement going on,” he said. “My hope is that the Middle East Initiative will serve as a focal point to expose the Stanford community to ongoing work and foster new conversations that are not happening now.”
As a senior policy advisor on the Middle East at the Pentagon and the White House, Colin Kahl has witnessed struggles in the region firsthand. From working to shape the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State and the long-term partnership with Iraq to limiting Iran’s nuclear activities to helping craft the U.S. response to the Arab Spring, Kahl knows better than most how important it is to understand this rapidly changing region.
“Stanford students want to dive more deeply into the region’s political, social, economic and technological development,” FSI Director Michael McFaul said. “We want to give them that opportunity.”
In the 2018-2019 academic year, FSI’s Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy plans to begin filling this need by adding a three-course sequence on the Middle East.