The Forum’s mission is simple: to improve British Middle East policy with the insights of history and local knowledge,
making it more far-sighted and impactful; and to encourage non-partisan discussion about Britain’s place in the region.

All of the Forum’s work stems from five basic principles, which guide its work and vision.

I. British Perspective

The Forum is a British think-tank that approaches the politics of the Middle East from a British perspective.

Its work is primarily concerned with defining British interests in the region, developing and advancing policies that promote them, promoting British values, and assisting the work of the British policy community.

The Forum’s work begins by looking at the region in the context of the UK’s long history in it. This history offers a unique perspective on the region’s global role, and affords policymakers a unique opportunity to engage constructively with the region.

The Forum further shares a commitment to the UK’s allies in the region and around the world, and is committed to thinking about how the UK can work in concert with its partners towards common goals.

III. History Matters

History is the best starting-point for studying and thinking about the Middle East. The Forum’s research uses diplomatic and intellectual history—both British and Middle Eastern—to reflect on how policy can be developed and improved.

The Forum is also proud to be a node in a growing global network of institutions which promote the application of history to foreign policy.

V. Global Alliances

The Forum equally believes in the UK’s role in the Western alliance and that, through close engagement with the Middle East, the UK can best contribute to the broader project of supporting an open, rules-based world order in a new age of great power competition.

The Forum works closely with governments and partner institutions in the United States, the European Union, and globally, both to put the region in the context of global geopolitics and to think about how the UK can collaborate with its allies on intelligent policies.

II. MENA Matters

The future of the Middle East and North Africa matters to the future of the UK.

The stability and prosperity of the MENA region has a direct effect on the UK’s stability and prosperity: from geopolitics, to energy security, to trade and investment, to migration, and beyond. For those same reasons, the region also matters to global security, the global economy, and the future of world order.

The Forum is therefore deeply invested in the future of the region, and works to inform policymakers and the public as to why they should be, too.

IV. Regional Alliances

The Forum invests time and effort in understanding the perspectives of the UK’s allies in the region, and this is not merely because of the importance of local perspectives.

The Forum deeply believes in the alliances that the UK has cultivated in the region, since the end of World War II and in some cases since the 19th century. These relationships have been furnished by history and shared experiences of war and peace, and matter greatly for the stability of the region and the world.

The Forum further maintains that the health of these alliances is a barometer for the health of British foreign policy and its global relevance.

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