Dialogue conferences were the Center’s first program and serve as the anchor to which the Center’s other programs developed.  As of 2018, the Center has organized over 40 dialogue programs, hosting nearly 1000 participants from 45 countries.  These dialogues, honed by over ten years of experience, have created a methodology that has influenced the Center’s values of crafting a balance of ideas, diverse viewpoints, and a participant-driven experience.

Through these dialogues, the Center aims to address underserved topics and issues ranging from the discussion of specific bilateral issues to broader regional contexts. Each dialogue convenes a diverse mixture of policy makers, academics, businesspersons, civil society representatives, journalists, and government officials.  This carefully crafted balance enables participants to make fresh insights on major issues, establish new connections with colleagues, and build long term partnerships.  Additionally, many of the Center’s dialogues connect a rising generation of experts and professionals across Muslim-majority countries with their American counterparts. The goal is to cultivate meaningful relationships and networks for long-term impact.


Bilateral Relations

Hollings Center Bilateral Relations Dialogues cover consequential and challenging topics that link Muslim-majority nations and the United States. Dialogues center on looking for beneficial areas of partnership between the US and specific countries and regions.  Previous bilateral discussions have evaluated the state of American relations with Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey.  These dialogues seek to build lasting relationships between participants on each side that can then work together to solve challenges of mutual interest.


Collective & Human Security

The Hollings Center initiative on Collective & Human Security evaluates critical security issues, ranging from the challenges of extremism to regional conflict. The initiative aims to find proactive and positive solutions to these challenges.  Focusing on long-term rather than immediate needs, this series has previously looked at the rise of extremism in the Middle East, the need to protect cultural heritage, and building cooperative approaches to major security challenges.


Higher Education

The Hollings Center’s Higher Education Dialogue series fosters cooperation between universities and other institutions of learning through the exchange of ideas, expertise and best practices.  Dialogues focus on issues of significant importance to higher education communities in the United States and the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Europe and Eurasia.  Participants include distinguished university presidents, administrators, senior officials and educators from over a dozen countries.  Dialogue conferences have explored topics that include independent universities in the Muslim world, study abroad programs and quality assurance in higher education.


Regional Policy

Hollings Center Regional Policy Dialogues cover critically relevant topics that link regions together on under-discussed matters of foreign policy.  These dialogues seek collective answers and approaches to challenges that will require cooperative approaches.  Participants have included a broad spectrum of government officials, experts on domestic and foreign policy, academics, economists, civil society leaders and practitioners.


Responsible Business

The Hollings Center’s series on Responsible Business explores economic factors and business initiatives that can be used to create more productive and peaceful communities. The series explores the detailed links between the US and Muslim-majority nations in the global economy.  Recent dialogues have focused on the links between the economy and education, the importance of developing socially responsible enterprises, and the importance of business in building peace between and within nations.


Resource Resiliency

The Hollings Center’s initiative on Resource Resiliency aims to foster cooperative solutions to questions of sustainable development. Dialogues focus on issues of water, energy, food, and health.  Recent dialogues have explored the links of the “Water Energy Food Nexus,” the importance of building food resilient societies, and the water challenges faced in the Middle East.


Recent Dialogue Snapshot Reports


Social Integration through Entrepreneurship

Today, the Middle East in North Africa (MENA) region faces the great challenges of social integration and economic diversification. According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report on youth in the MENA region, “young men and women in the MENA region face the highest youth unemployment levels in the world. With the share…

U.S.-Southeast Asia: Building Strategic Relationships

American attention in the Pacific region has shifted to northeast Asia because trade and security disputes with China and North Korea have become the focal point of U.S. foreign policy in the region. As a result, Southeast Asia has received secondary attention from the United States and may even be considered through the lens of…

The Internationalization of Higher Education and Cross-border Quality Assurance

The workshop was organized by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the Hollings Center for International Dialogue to explore cross-border quality assurance of higher education specifically in Malaysia, Oman, and the United States and more generally in the Arab region and in Southeast Asia. The purpose was…

The Food Security Factor: Stability, Governance, and Development Choices

Food security in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is viewed as one contributing factor in catalyzing conflicts in the region as well as perpetuating multiple humanitarian crises. The MENA region is the largest importer of food in the world, accounting for nearly 1/3rd of global cereal imports.  Rising prices in staple foods…

Political Pluralism in the Middle East and North Africa

The political landscape of the Middle East and North Africa in 2018 is a terrain deeply hostile to nurturing the seeds of democracy planted so spectacularly just seven years prior during the momentous events of the Arab Uprisings. The region today seems characterized above all by violence, instability, social tension, renewed authoritarianism, and humanitarian crisis….