IIE has a strong commitment to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With the generous support of sponsors and donors, IIE programs in the region aim to improve understanding between the United States and MENA countries, develop leadership in the region, and build capacity among individuals and institutions to address global challenges. Approximately one-third of the 20,000 participants in IIE programs each year come from MENA countries and this number is growing.

The IIE Regional Office in Cairo was granted a license to operate in Egypt as an international NGO in March 2005. The IIE Center for Leadership Excellence was launched at the same time and operates through the Regional Office as a core program offering to serve the MENA region. The Center works to identify and support results-oriented leaders who actively champion reform in their places of work and community through initiatives that foster effective leadership development. IIE programs provide opportunities for these professionals to explore the effectiveness of their current leadership approaches, to acquire new ways of thinking and acting as leaders, and to develop networks with others in the region who are dealing with similar challenges.