The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) is led by a diverse group of individuals brought together by their desire for change in American foreign policy that facilitates the growth of democracy in the Middle East.
- Stephen McInerney, Executive Director
- Cole Bockenfeld, Advocacy Director
- Kwame Lawson, Research Director
- Susannah Cunningham, Director of Development & Communications
- Nada Zohdy, Civil Society Partnerships Coordinator
- Todd Ruffner, Advocacy Associate
- Daniel Tavana, Research Associate
- Alex Russell, Dialogue Program Associate
- Sally Roshdy, Visiting Fellow
Stephen McInerney (email@example.com) is Executive Director of the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), where he was previously the Director of Advocacy. He has extensive experience in the Middle East, including graduate studies in Middle Eastern politics, history, and the Arabic language at the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. His writing on Middle Eastern politics and U.S. foreign policy has been published by numerous publications including Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, and The Washington Post. He has spoken on Middle East affairs with numerous media outlets including BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and CBS News. He received a master’s degree from Stanford University.
Cole Bockenfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org) is POMED’s Advocacy Director. He has studied the Middle East for more than six years with a focus on U.S. and Middle Eastern politics, history, and the Arabic language at the University of Arkansas, Georgetown University, and Al al-Bayt University in Mafraq, Jordan. Prior to joining POMED, he worked for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) on electoral assistance programs in Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, and the West Bank and Gaza, including fieldwork in Beirut and Baghdad. He also conducted research with the Center for Islam and Democracy (CSID) in Amman.
Kwame Lawson (email@example.com) is POMED’s Research Director. He has worked extensively on Middle Eastern issues, focusing especially on analysis of Middle Eastern media and questions of media reform. Prior to joining POMED, he served as an Egypt analyst with the Directorate of National Intelligence’s Open Source Center and has also worked as Managing Editor of the reform and democratization blog, Fikra Forum. He holds a doctorate in Arabic literature from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and has taught Arabic language and literature at the College of William and Mary and Georgia State University.
Susannah Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) is POMED’s Director of Development and Communications. She has studied and worked on Middle East & North Africa issues for more than seven years, including four years in Cairo, Egypt. She has worked on Middle Eastern issues ranging from economic development to citizenship rights to human rights mechanisms and refugees. She is the co-founder of the Resettlement Legal Aid Project, a UN-implementing partner and legal clinic in Cairo, initially formed to serve Iraqi refugees who were persecuted for their assistance of Coalition forces. Prior to joining POMED, she worked as a Program Development Manager for the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. Susannah holds a BA in Political Science and Theater from Northwestern University.
Nada Zohdy (email@example.com) is Program Coordinator of POMED’s Civil Society Partnerships. Prior to joining POMED, she attained professional Arabic proficiency through intensive language programs in Egypt and Morocco, with support from the National Security Education Program as a David L. Boren Scholar. She also worked for the Association for Women and Development in Alexandria, Egypt, and for the Middle East Institute in Washington. She graduated with honors from Michigan State University with degrees in International Relations and Arabic. She is also a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, recognizing her commitment to public service.
Todd Ruffner (firstname.lastname@example.org) is POMED’s Advocacy Associate and Editor of the POMED Wire blog, the Weekly Wire digest, the Egypt Daily Update, and the Bahrain Weekly Update. He has studied the Middle East since 2005, including nearly a year spent living in Cairo and Damascus. He previously served as a policy intern at POMED and the National Iranian American Council. Todd received his master’s degree from the Ohio State University’s Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Program with a concentration on Iran-Iraq border disputes, and his bachelor’s degree from Elon University with a focus on the Muslim Brotherhood during the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He is proficient in Persian and Arabic, having studied at the American University in Cairo and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Immersion program.
Daniel Tavana (email@example.com) is POMED’s Research Associate. Before joining POMED, Daniel worked in Cairo, Egypt, as a consultant for members of the Egyptian Constituent Assembly. He has worked on security and governance issues for a variety of government agencies, including the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury. Daniel has master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he worked at the Belfer Center and co-founded the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy. Daniel’s research focuses on the relationship between foreign assistance and democratization in the Middle East. He speaks Farsi, and his articles on the Middle East have been published by Global Public Square at CNN, the Atlantic Council, and the Carnegie Endowment.
Alex Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org) is POMED’s Dialogue Programs Associate. Prior to serving in this capacity, he was a research assistant at POMED. He previously taught English at the Universities of Alexandria and Mansoura in Egypt as a Fulbright Fellow and studied Arabic in Tangier, Morocco as a recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he earned a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Psychology.
Sally Roshdy (email@example.com) is a visiting fellow at POMED through the Atlas Corps-CIPE Think Tanks LINKS Fellowship program. Sally was previously a policy researcher at One World Foundation for Development and Civil Society Care in Cairo (OWF), where she contributed to the transition-focused research work of Refa’a Al-Tahtawy Forum, OWF’s independent think tank. Her area of research focuses on transitional issues in Egypt with an emphasis on democratic reform and security sector reform (SSR). Sally has participated in the assessment of Egyptian civil society needs concerning SSR engagement by coordinating an exchange program in collaboration with the Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS). She has also coordinated a study visit to Serbia to facilitate an exchange of Egyptian and Serbian experiences of SSR. Sally has written numerous policy briefs addressing Egyptian issues of reform and has contributed to the organization of regional conferences that focus on transitional issues of Arab Spring countries. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Cairo in 2009.