Mr. Charles Lister

Charles Lister is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Counter-Terrorism and

Extremism Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. His work

focuses primarily on the conflict in Syria, including as a member of the MEI-

convened Syria Study Group; and on issues of terrorism and insurgency across

the Levant. Prior to joining MEI, Lister was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings

Institution in Qatar and a Senior Consultant to the multinationally-backed Syria

Track II Dialogue Initiative, where he managed nearly three years of intensive

face-to-face engagement with the leaderships of over 100 Syrian armed opposition



Lister is a frequent source of briefings on the Syrian insurgency to political, military

and intelligence leaders in the United States and across Europe and the Middle

East. He appears regularly on television media, including CNN, the BBC and al-

Jazeera, and his articles have been widely published, including in the New York

Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs.


Lister has previously held positions at the Brookings Institution and as head of MENA at IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center in London.


Lister’s critically acclaimed book, The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency (Oxford University Press, 2016) was called “indispensable” by the New York Times. He has also published The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction (Brookings Press, 2015) and is working on a third book on Syria, commissioned by Oxford University Press.

Senior Fellow & Director of the Extremism and Counterterrorism Program, Middle East Institute (MEI), United States

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