Dr. Seiple is honored to accept the invitation to join—and applauds—the Atlantic Council’s new initiative, the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST), co-chaired by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a member of IGE’s Board of Advisors, and former National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley.

An initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East in cooperation with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, MEST “seeks to advance the public policy discussion toward a new global consensus on how to address comprehensively the larger and longer-term issues confronting the Middle East. Working in partnership with regional stakeholders and international experts, the Task Force will collaborate to identify ways in which people in the Middle East can build and support governing institutions that offer legitimacy, opportunity, and an alternative to violence.”

Dr. Seiple will serve on the Religion, Identity and Countering Violent Extremism working group led by Geneive Abdo of the Stimson Center. “This task force will help policy-makers in the Middle East/North Africa, Europe, China, and the U.S. to critically and constructively discern the interrelated concerns necessary to developing a long-term strategy, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute,” noted Seiple upon accepting the invitation. “In particular, it is good to make a clear-eyed examination of the role of religion. If it has been a part of the problem, can it be part of the solution?”

The focus of MEST dovetails nicely with IGE’s Cradle Fund Initiative, which also takes a long-term and interrelated approach to the issue of religious freedom in the region. The Cradle Fund helps rescue, restore, and return Middle Eastern Christians and other religious and ethnic groups to a home where they can live and practice their faith free from fear. For some practical steps forward, please Dr. Seiple’s article in ChristianityToday.

Related, in his capacity as the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Role of Faith, Dr. Seiple recently returned from the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, convened specifically to advance shared understanding and action with regard to the situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya.