Who we are:  our story

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.

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 the leading 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.

How we’re run:  our governance structure

The Arab Reform Initiative is governed by a Plenary of its members and an Executive Committee.

The Plenary

  • sets ARI’s vision
  • oversees that the direction of work is in line with ARI’s goals
  • advises on possible programmatic lines of work
  • recruits new member institutions and individuals

The Plenary meets once a year. Bringing together policy research centres from across the Arab world, it operates as a network and it fosters, encourages and enhances collaborative efforts between members.

The Executive Committee

  • sets ARI’s strategy in accordance with its vision
  • ensures that ARI has the effective organisational planning to achieve its goals
  • oversees the Executive Director
  • approves the budget and provides financial oversight
  • determines, monitors, assesses and strengthens organisational programmes and services
  • ensures legal and ethical integrity and maintains accountability

The Executive Committee meets twice a year. Its members serve for a period of four years renewable and it is a non-remunerated role.

Plenary Members

Arab world Institutes

European and American Partners

Individual Members

Executive Committee Members

  • Atallah Kuttab, Chairman
  • Nasser Djabi, Vice-Chairman
  • Maria Chatti, Treasurer
  • Hoda Elsadda, General Secretary
  • Hanin Ghaddar, Member
  • Jafar Al-Shayeb, Member

Editorial committee

Our members

Arab world Institutes

European and American Institutes

Individual Members