Adel Abdel Ghafar

Fellow and Program Director


Adel Abdel Ghafar is a fellow and director of the Foreign Policy and Security program at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs. He was previously a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Program and at the Brookings Doha Center, where he was also acting director of research. Abdel Ghafar is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He specializes in political economy and his research interests include state-society relations, socio-economic development, and foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

He is the author and editor of several volumes and reports including The Middle East: Revolution or Reform? (Melbourne University Press, 2014); Egyptians in Revolt: The Political Economy of Labor and Student Mobilizations 1919-2011 (Routledge, 2017); A Stable Egypt for a Stable Region (European Parliament, 2018); The European Union and North Africa: Prospects and Challenges (Brookings Institution Press, 2019); China and North Africa: Between Economics, Politics and Security (I.B. Tauris, 2021); The European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council: Towards a New Path (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), and The Gulf Cooperation Council at Forty: Risk and Opportunity in a Changing World (Brookings Institution Press, 2022).

Abdel Ghafar has prepared studies and consulted for various international and intergovernmental organizations and government agencies including the European Union; the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has a background in international banking and finance and has worked for several financial institutions including HSBC and Citigroup.

Research Areas

  • Political economy
  • Foreign policy
  • Economic development
  • Asia-Middle East relations

Countries of Focus

  • North Africa
  • GCC countries

Other Areas of Interest

  • Regional security
  • South-South relations


  • Ph.D., Political Science and International Relations, Australian National University, 2015
  • M.A., Arabic and Islamic Studies, Sydney University, 2011
  • Master of International Business and Commerce, Sydney University, 2005
  • Bachelor of Commerce, Cairo University, 2000


Twenty years have passed since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, leaving the country and the wider region forever changed. In this Council Views, Middle East Council experts reflect on this seminal moment in the region’s modern history and what has ensued in the two decades since. 
Galip Dalay, Omar H. Rahman, Ranj Alaaldin, Faozi Al-Goidi, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Robert P. Beschel Jr., Tarik M. Yousef, Larbi Sadiki
Amid severe economic headwinds, Egyptians have seen their currency collapse and food prices skyrocket. A new IMF loan is putting pressure on state officials to reform the economy and potentially take on the military's vast economic interests. Will this crisis finally be the impetus for real change?
Adel Abdel Ghafar
The arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Saudi Arabia marks an important moment in the historical relationship between the two countries and their respective regions. While the United States has recently been eager to drive a wedge between its partners in the Persian Gulf and its rival to the East, heads of state from… Continue reading China’s Xi travels to Saudi Arabia as Asia-GCC relations reach new heights 
Adel Abdel Ghafar, Hana El Shehaby