Who we are

In 2004, policy research centres from ten Arab countries, four European think tanks, and one from the United States collaborated to set the agenda for political and social reforms in the region based on the priorities that the region’s societies themselves formulated. ARI became a think tank in its own right with 20 peer partners across the region, acting as resources for exclusive knowledge on their respective governments and societies.

ARI’s strategy has evolved over the years, reflecting changes in the avenues for achieving democratic reform.

The Arab reform initiative (ARI) is a collaborative think tank established in 2004 to articulate a home-grown agenda for democratic change in the Arab region.

ARI strives to become the leading regional hub for progressive ideas supporting inclusive democracy, full and equal citizenship, social justice, and environmental justice in the Arab region.

We operate on the principles of impartiality, gender equality, and diversity and work to foster vibrant democratic societies in the Arab countries. ARI conducts research, policy analysis, and policy dialogues, while providing a platform for inspirational voices.

ARI’s focus areas have expanded to address social justice issues, political economy, and pressing environmental concerns from a perspective of justice, good governance, and sustainability.

ARI has evolved its partnerships to include new research centres, initiatives, independent media, and emerging political and social actors such as youth and feminist movements, diasporas, and professional syndicates.


Before the Arab uprisings, the most effective way to influence policy was by building pressure from below to instigate long-term social and institutional change.

Following 2011, ARI’s work shifted towards accompanying and consolidating the transition out of authoritarianism by addressing how street mobilization could lead to genuine political participation.

A third phase followed, as the legacy of authoritarian rule and the proliferation of terrorism destabilized and created conflict in several countries. In this defining moment, the ARI community felt the need to make a different kind of contribution.

  • First, by producing analytical work that alerts to the risks of breaking up national entities.
  • Second, by defining security arrangements and developing comprehensive security frameworks that set the stage for permanent political organization.
  • Third, by providing a platform for citizens to articulate new terms and principles to guide the process of rebuilding their national body.

What we do:  our mission

The Arab Reform Initiative is an independent Arab think tank working with expert partners in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond to articulate a home-grown agenda for democratic change. It conducts research and policy analysis and provides a platform for inspirational voices based on the principles of diversity, impartiality, gender equality and social justice.

  • We produce original research informed by local experiences and partner with institutions to achieve impact across the Arab world and globally
  • We empower individuals and institutions to develop their own concept of policy solutions
  • We mobilize stakeholders to build coalitions for positive change

Our aim is to see vibrant democratic societies emerge and grow in the region.

Founded in 2005, the Arab Reform Initiative is governed by a Plenary of its members and an Executive Committee.


*We are funded through grants from private non-profit foundations in Europe and North America and from a few governmental or state-affiliated agencies in Europe and North America, though we insist on our editorial independence. We do not take any funding from governments in the Middle East.


Board Members


Our team