National Dialogues and State-Building

This project aims to refocus the debate not on whether we talk to Islamist movements, but on what we should be talking about. A new paradigm for engagement is required, shaped around a better understanding of these political identities and why large sections of civil society in the Middle East continue to identify with political Islam.


There are deep fault lines in the Middle East, constructed along radical political lines and primarily expressed through political Islamist movements. When and how the international community should engage Islamist movements in the Middle East has become a key question. Intense debate continues as to the importance of engaging with these parties to more successfully mediate ongoing disputes and intractable conflicts in the region.


Gabrielle Rifkind

Gabrielle Rifkind is the Director of the Middle East programme at Oxford Research Group (ORG). She is a group analyst and specialist in conflict resolution. Gabrielle combines in-depth political...

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Sara Hassan

Sara Hassan is the Programme Manager for Oxford Research Group's (ORG) Middle East programme. Prior to joining ORG, she spent four years as a Middle East Analyst with IHS Global Insight’s country...

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Ayeisha Thomas-Smith

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith joined ORG in 2015 as a Programme Assistant on the Middle East Programme. Ayeisha has been involved with numerous campaigning and activism projects, and is currently...

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