It is quite obvious to even the most casual observer that the Middle East is struggling to address a myriad of security and development challenges. There are multiple reasons for this, but a non-exhaustive list includes the disruption caused by regular conflict and displacement, declining financial resources, natural resource pressures and carrying capacity constraints, and growing capacity limitations of public institutions. There is also no shortage of support by the international community for the region to address these challenges, yet it too is not succeeding. This is partly because the interventions of the international community are at times misplaced, unsustainable, or dominated by contractors who are not as value-driven as their sponsors.
It is against this backdrop, and driven by a pressing need to find innovative approaches to address these challenges, that Ambit was established. After a decade working on these issues as the Managing Director of the Middle East Scientific Institute for Security (MESIS), I am convinced that trusted and credible civil society organizations can play an impactful role in supporting the region and its international partners make significant progress. Through Ambit, I seek to expand the role played by MESIS to include new and complex challenges and scale its successes to the wider region.
Ambit has identified the most acute challenges facing the region to broadly fall under the pillars of health, climate and energy, borders, and emerging technologies, because of the immense implications they hold for the future security and development of the Middle East. Through a suite of services ranging from strategy design and assessment to project implementation support, Ambit seeks to support the region directly as well as the international community in its assistance efforts across the Middle East by employing regional strategies to further global mandates. Overcoming the magnitude of these multidimensional challenges is a daunting but nonetheless obtainable prospect – to do so will necessitate a systematic approach to interventions in the region, as well as a conscious effort to disengage from precipitous and traditional modes of thinking and operation. It is Ambit’s intention and aspiration that its work can affect meaningful change that strengthens national and human security, and contributes to a more secure and resilient Middle East.
Nasser bin Nasser