The Middle East is a vast region extending from Iran to Morocco and from Turkey to Sudan. The term Middle East and other terms such as Near East and Far East developed in a Eurocentric world. These terms reflect European perceptions of the world and are no longer valid today. But the term Middle East is widely used now to refer to the area occupied by Southwest Asia and North Africa, and it has become a useful regional name. The Middle East has a combined population of nearly 530 million, but has a combined gross domestic product less than that of France, which has a population only of 60 million. It is held back by what some observers call a political and economic “freedom deficit” which in some areas has led to a sense of hopelessness and provides a fertile ground for ideologies of hatred. The challenge in this region is to develop a community of nations seeking progress toward greater democracy, tolerance, prosperity, and freedom. With the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a special opportunity to transform the Middle East to achieve the region’s full potential.