Sweden has for centuries had many and varied contacts with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and a strong engagement in developments in the region.
Since becoming a member of the European Union in 1995, Sweden participates in the ongoing efforts towards closer co-operation between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours as well as with the wider region. As a consequence the Swedish government, in 1997, initiated a study on the establishment of a platform for dialogue with the MENA region. The aim was to further enhance broad contacts and co-operation with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, to facilitate dialogues on issues of common concern, and to contribute to the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. In 1998 the Swedish Institute Alexandria (SwedAlex) was established as an integral part of the Swedish Foreign Service. A couple of decades later, in 2019, the name was changed to the Swedish Dialogue Institute for the Middle East and North Africa.
After moving its office from Alexandria in March 2019, the Institute was temporarily based in Stockholm, while preparing for its establishment in Amman. During the autumn of 2021 the Institute began operating in Amman, Jordan.