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 nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Program and a fellow 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 foreign policy and political economy of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Abdel Ghafar 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 Reward in a Changing World (Brookings Press, 2022) and Asia in the GCC: A New Strategic Partner? (ME Council, 2023).

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

  • Foreign policy
  • Political economy
  • 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


The expansion of BRICS, announced at the August summit in South Africa, signals an emerging shift in the international order. Middle East Council experts analyze the significance of the bloc on the global stage and discuss questions raised at the summit about multipolarity, de-dollarization, and more.
Galip Dalay, Beverley Milton Edwards, Aisha Al-Sarihi, Shahram Akbarzadeh, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Ranj Alaaldin, June Park, Oumeyma Chelbi, Abdalftah Hamed Ali
With great power competition on the rise and U.S. dominance in the Middle East in decline, regional states are diversifying their strategic partnerships. In addition to deepening ties with China and Russia, several MENA states have signaled their interest in joining groupings that are challenging the Western-dominated economic and political order.
Adel Abdel Ghafar, Yahia H. Zoubir
The recent outbreak of violence in Sudan has already taken a heavy toll on the country and threatened stability abroad. Middle East Council scholars offer their insights on what’s driving the conflict, the imperative to bring it to a swift end, and its implications for Sudan and beyond.
Nader S. Kabbani, Paul Dyer, Larbi Sadiki, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Sahar Khamis, Ranj Alaaldin, Dania Thafer, Faozi Al-Goidi
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