arrow-circle arrow-down-basicarrow-down arrow-left-small arrow-left arrow-right-small arrow-right arrow-up arrow closefacebooklinkedinsearch twittervideo-icon
MENA Regional Hub

Middle East & North Africa

The MENA Regional Hub is working with local municipalities and governates to strengthen their role in preventing and responding to hate, extremism and polarisation as part of a whole-of-society approach. Often viewed as falling within the exclusive purview of national security actors, cities across the region are well placed to play an active role in prevention and response.

City Needs & Priorities

At the Regional Hub’s Inaugural Workshop in March 2023, stakeholders identified a number of priority needs, including: greater sensitisation to the role of cities in prevention and response; guidance on building trusted partnerships with hard-to-reach residents; ongoing challenges around the rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign fighters and their families; engaging with youth, women and marginalised communities; and maintaining social cohesion whilst supporting migrants and other new arrivals. Strengthening national-local cooperation and technical capacity-building on leveraging existing and/or establishing new infrastructure, including local prevention networks, before extremist- or hate-motivated violence manifests, were also identified as priorities.

The MENA Regional Hub is delivering considerable impact in the region, including inter alia:

  • In Baghdad (Iraq), the Hub partnered with Iraq’s National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism (NCCVE) and the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) to convene a two-day workshop in May 2023, focused on operationalising a whole-of-society approach to prevention. The event gathered more than 35 key national and local stakeholders focused on developing National-Local Cooperation, raising awareness of governorates and cities of national efforts and making clear that the National Strategy supports a mandate for local governments in hate and extremism prevention. The Hub is now working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq to support the implementation of local prevention plans of action in six local government areas.
  • In Rabat (Morocco), the Hub’s Inaugural Workshop convened more than 70 city officials and practitioners representing 27 localities across the region to identify city prevention needs and priorities. These include those related to engaging young people, women and marginalised communities and managing challenges associated with climate and conflict-induced migration. Rabat, Marrakech and Oujda have since become Strong Cities members, with the Mayor of Rabat also serving as co-chair of the Network’s International Steering Committee.

Hear what cities are saying about our impact

Saida went through some challenges that pushed us towards a preventative approach. As a result, the mayor considered the Local Prevention Networks to be a priority for youth and for schools especially. Engagement with Strong Cities has had a very positive impact on the city’s practitioners and municipal officials. To be honest, we didn’t expect this result. It has exceeded our expectations.

Focal Point—Saida Municipality, Lebanon

About the MENA Regional Hub

Twenty-seven municipalities and governates from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia participated in the Regional Hub’s inaugural event, working together to identify needs and priorities across the Regional Hub’s five pillars to drive forward engagement across the region.

The MENA Regional Hub is funded by the European Union’s STRIVE Cities Initiative, a three year project supporting Strong Cities’ efforts to provide cities and local authorities with context-driven, evidence-based, city-level extremism prevention policies, programmes and technical assistance within a human rights framework. The Regional Hub is catalysing the Strong Cities’ GLOBAL mission with LOCAL impact.

MENA REgional Hub


Zouhair Racheha


Maria Sarkaz

Programme Lead

Hicham El Haddad

Responsable del programa