Stretching from Morocco to Iran, more than 500 million people live the Middle East and North Africa. That population is expected to exceed 700 million by 2050. Still, the region's population is small relative to its importance. Some 60 percent of the world's oil reserves and 45 percent of natural gas reserves are here, making it one of the world's most consequential economic and political regions. It is also a region of impressive diversity, where civilization began and where sweeping changes are underway.