This issue of Middle East Report takes a critical look at "NGOs"--non-governmental organizations--in and beyond the Arab world. The topic is both trendy and controversial. Although they may see themselves as marginal actors, charities, advocacy groups and a range of other civic associations in the Middle East have also become agents of political, economic and social change, influencing the allocation of scarce resources in their own societies and the images national regimes project abroad. In recent years, NGOs have been depicted as saviors of failed economies in some circles while reviled as stooges of Western imperialism in others.

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Copyright © 2000 Middle East Research and Information Project. This article first appeared in Middle East Report 214 30:1 (2000), 12-15.

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