The Atlantic Council Launches Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

New center dedicated to addressing Middle East issues

Sep 21, 2011, 12:00 ET from The Atlantic Council

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Atlantic Council, the preeminent, non-partisan institution devoted to promoting transatlantic cooperation and international security, is proud to announce the formation of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Named for the late Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated in 2005, the Atlantic Council's new center will reflect Mr. Hariri's efforts to rise above the Middle East's sectarianism and promote innovative policies to advance economic, social, civil and political liberalization and sustainable conflict resolution.  

Made possible by Bahaa Hariri's founding gift and with the Hariri family's support, the center will work closely with experts and institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and North America to advance productive economic and political cooperation among the three regions.

"My father believed that many of the answers to our region's problems would come over time through greater political, social, civil and economic convergence with Europe and the United States," said Bahaa Hariri, the late prime minister's eldest son and a prominent business leader. "No organization can better capture that mission than the Atlantic Council."

In support of the Center's goals, the Atlantic Council recently named Michele Dunne, a former White House and State Department official, as the director of the new Center.

"Michele brings to the Council both a rich understanding of the Washington policy process and of the forces driving the Arab awakening," said Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council. "She is the perfect person to lead our efforts to galvanize a transatlantic response to the historic upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa."

Dunne has served in the White House on the National Security Council staff, on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff and in its Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and as a diplomat in Cairo and Jerusalem. She is one of America's leading specialists on the region and holds a doctorate in Arabic language and literature from Georgetown University.

The Atlantic Council will officially launch the Rafik Hariri Center during its Second Annual Global Citizen Awards Dinner, to be held Wednesday, September 21, 2011. During the event, the Council also will honor the late Prime Minister with a Global Citizen Award, in recognition of his accomplishments in advancing the ideals of international stability through constructive, interdependent alliances.

About The Atlantic Council

The Atlantic Council promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century. The Council embodies a non-partisan network of leaders who aim to bring ideas to power and to give power to ideas by stimulating dialogue and discussion about critical international issues; conducting educational and exchange programs for successor generations of U.S. leaders; and building broad constituencies to support constructive U.S. leadership and policies. For more information, visit

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SOURCE The Atlantic Council