Mena & Gulf relations

The NATO Defense College Foundation has a long tradition of tight relations with the countries of this area, aimed at promoting stability and developing co-operative security. It supports NATO significant transformation towards a fresh and substantial political vision in partnerships in the MENA, Levant and Gulf Regions.


During his mandate as NATO Deputy Secretary General (2001-2007), Ambassador Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo, President of the NDCF, was tasked by the North Atlantic Council to launch possible partnerships with the Arabs of the Mediterranean, Gulf and Israel. He successfully put the basis for a consistent upgrading of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the establishment of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). His book NATO and the Middle East. The Making of a partnership (by New Academia Publishing) came out in 2018, retracing – through a personal account – all the steps of this work.


As a result of his longstanding and passionate experience for the Arab region, the Foundation’s first high-level conference in 2011 was focused on NATO and the Arab Spring. Then, starting from 2016, the NDCF launched a series of conferences on Arab Geopolitics. Inspired by the ambition of creating a forum that would gather together experts, decision-makers, policy advisors and influencers from and related to the Arab World, these events – held in Rome on an annual basis – wish to promote the Atlantic culture and the spirit behind the Mediterranean partnerships in the Italian context.

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