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

Stephen McInerney is Executive Director of the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). He previously served as POMED’s Advocacy Director from 2007 to 2010. He has extensive experience in the Middle East and North Africa, including graduate studies of Middle Eastern politics, history, and the Arabic language at the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. He has spoken on Middle East affairs with numerous media outlets including BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and CBS News. His writing on Middle East affairs and U.S. policy has been published by Foreign Affairs, the Daily Star, the New Republic, Foreign Policy, and the Washington Post. He received a Master’s degree from Stanford University.

Amy Hawthorne
Deputy Director for Research

Amy Hawthorne is POMED’s Deputy Director for Research. She is a Middle East expert with extensive policy, analytical, and practical experience on Arab political reform and democracy promotion.

Prior to joining POMED in October 2015, Amy served as Resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, where she focused on U.S. policy toward Egypt and U.S. and European strategies to support political and economic reform in the post-2011 Arab world, with a concentration on Tunisia. Before joining the Atlantic Council in April 2013, Amy was an appointee at the U.S. Department of State for two years, where she helped to coordinate U.S. support for Egypt’s transition and advised on the U.S. response to the Arab Spring. Amy previously served as founding executive director of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, a nongovernmental organization operating in Washington and Istanbul that promotes mutual understanding between the United States and predominantly Muslim countries.

She was also an Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she was the Founding Editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin (now Sada) and analyzed political reform in the Arab world. At the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Hawthorne was Senior Program Officer for the Middle East, managing democracy programs across the Arab world. She has published a number of widely read analyses on U.S. policy and democracy promotion in the Arab world and frequently is quoted in the media.

Amy graduated with honors in history from Yale University, with a focus on the Middle East, and obtained her MA in modern Middle Eastern studies at the University of Michigan, where she concentrated on Islamic law. She has advanced skills in Arabic and has lived and traveled extensively throughout the Arab world (especially Egypt) as well as in Turkey.


Andrew Miller
Deputy Director for Policy

Andrew Miller is POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy. Andrew has nearly 10 years of experience working on the Middle East for the U.S. Government and has conducted extensive research on multiple countries in the region. From 2014 to 2017, Andrew served as the Director for Egypt and Israel Military Issues on the National Security Council (NSC), where he was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy towards these countries. While at the NSC, Andrew was deeply involved in the Obama Administration’s efforts to modernize U.S. military assistance to Egypt and participated as a member of the U.S. delegation that negotiated a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance to Israel. He also worked at the Department of State in a variety of policy and analytical roles related to the Middle East, serving in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and at the U.S. embassies in Doha and Cairo. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Dickinson College and an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.


Arwa Shobaki
Deputy Director for Strategic Development

Arwa Shobaki is POMED’s Deputy Director for Strategic Development. Arwa has over fifteen years of experience working on Middle East and North Africa rights-based initiatives with various organizations including the International Organization for Migration, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, Club of Madrid, and the International Commission of Jurists. Her work has focused primarily on supporting freedom of association and expression, and promoting good governance and democratic principles in Morocco, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Prior to joining POMED in 2013, Arwa worked as a summer associate with the Center for National Security Studies. Arwa holds a Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, a law degree from the University of Edinburgh, and a Master of Laws in Law & Government from the Washington College of Law. Arwa began her career as an anthropology major and Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania.

Hanan Abdul Hadi
Program Officer for Civil Society Partnerships

Hanan Abdul Hadi is POMED’s Program Officer for Civil Society Partnerships. She previously served as a policy intern at POMED. Before joining POMED, she served as Scholarships & Exchange Programs Director at AMIDEAST in Abu Dhabi, where she managed the Fulbright Scholarship program for the UAE. Hanan has extensive experience in the Middle East, where she lived and studied for twenty years. Hanan holds a Master’s of Public Policy with a focus on international development from American University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a focus on Middle East politics and development economics from Davidson College.

Tammem Mahjoub
Program Coordinator for Civil Society Partnerships

Tammem Mahjoub is POMED’s Program Coordinator for Civil Society Partnerships. Prior to joining POMED, he served as Project Assistant for the Monitoring Network of Tunisian Justice during the Transition Project at Avocats Sans Frontières in Tunis, a Belgian NGO that serves the most vulnerable people awaiting justice. He then joined the Tunisian NGO Al Bawsala, an independent non-profit organization in Tunis, where he served as a Project Officer for the Marsad Majles and Marsad Baladia Project before serving as Senior Legal Analyst and Advocacy Officer. In that capacity, Tammem conducted research on multiple topics related to legislative reforms and the implementation of the Tunisian constitution of 2014. Tammem holds a Bachelor’s degree in legal sciences from the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis, and is currently in the process of writing his research thesis on the “Right of Access to Information in the Tunisian Constitution of 2014” to complete requirements for his Master’s degree in Common Law. He speaks Arabic, French, and English.

Ahmed Rizk
Egypt Program Associate

Ahmed Rizk is POMED’s Egypt Program Associate. Ahmed holds a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Theory from Michigan State University. Ahmed was a research intern at POMED before joining the staff in 2017. He speaks Arabic and German.

Anna Young
Program Associate

Anna Young is POMED’s Program Associate. Prior to joining POMED, Anna served as the Office Administrator at United to End Genocide, a human rights nonprofit focused on human rights abuses in areas like Yemen and Syria. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Ohio State University and interned with the U.S. State Department in Paris, heavily focusing on U.S.-France relations with the Arab region.

Raouia Briki
Program Associate for Civil Society Partnerships

Raouia Briki is POMED’s Program Associate for Civil Society Partnerships. Prior to joining POMED, Raouia served as an assistant editor with Jadaliyya and as a Fulbright scholar at George Mason University. Since The Tunisian revolution of 2011, Raouia has actively engaged with the country’s democratic transition. She served as an election observer with the Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH) for the October 2011 elections and as a national coordinator for Tunisia’s 2014 elections with the Higher Independent Authority for the Elections (ISIE). As a national coordinator, she managed all aspects of election administration between the ISIE in Tunisia and the Tunisian Embassy in Washington, DC. She has also served as an Arabic instructor at George Mason University and as a graduate research assistant at the Arab Studies Institute. Raouia holds a Master’s degree in Middle East and Islamic Studies from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Tunis. She speaks Arabic, French and English.

Todd Ruffner
Advocacy Officer

Todd Ruffner is POMED’s Advocacy Officer. He serves as the Editor of the POMED Wire blog, the Weekly Wire digest, and POMED’s country digests on Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Iran; he also leads POMED’s collaboration on the Security Assistance Monitor project. He has studied the Middle East since 2005, and lived and studied Arabic in both Cairo and Damascus. He previously served as a policy intern at POMED and at 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 in the 20th century, 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.


Louisa Keeler
Advocacy Associate

Louisa Keeler is POMED’s Advocacy Associate. Prior to joining POMED, she was at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy where she served as the managing editor of Fikra Forum, a bilingual Arabic-English blog covering Middle Eastern affairs. She graduated from Southwestern University with a degree in Political Science and studied Arabic in Oman.


April Brady
Communications Coordinator

April Brady is POMED’s Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining POMED in 2017, she was an editor and designer at the Arms Control Association, an editor and designer for the Atlantic Council, the Iran policy intern at POMED, and the managing editor and PR director at JOY Publications. April holds a Master’s from the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St. Andrews, where she focused on Middle Eastern history, contemporary Iranian politics, Persian language, and U.S. foreign policy. April holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Wheaton College and is proficient in Persian and Spanish.



Nadwa al-Dawsari
Nonresident Senior Fellow

Nadwa al-Dawsari is a researcher and conflict management practitioner with more than 16 years of field experience in Yemen. She specializes in informal governance and tribal mechanisms for conflict resolution. Since 2008, al-Dawsari’s field research has focused on security and justice, governance, and political transition. Her recent work examines community-level perspectives on the current conflict in Yemen.

From 2003 to 2009, al-Dawsari worked with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) field office in Yemen, managing programs on election monitoring and tribal conflict resolution. From 2009 to 2012, she founded and directed Partners Yemen, the local affiliate of Partners Global, focusing on strengthening community-based conflict resolution mechanisms and civil society.

Nadwa is a Chevening scholar, a Hubert H. Humphrey fellow, a Gold Star Alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, and a member of the Institute for Inclusive Security’s Women Waging Peace Network. Her writings have been published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the United States Institute of Peace, the Atlantic Council, the Middle East Institute, Oxfam, Lawfare, the Center for Civilians in Conflict, and POMED. She holds an MA in Development Studies from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and a BA in English Literature from Sanaa University in Yemen.


Daniel Brumberg
Nonresident Senior Fellow

Dr. Daniel Brumberg is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at POMED. Dr. Brumberg is Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, where he directs the Master’s Program in Democracy and Governance. Dr. Brumberg is a leading expert on democratization and political reform in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. His 2002 Journal of Democracy article, “Democratization in the Arab World: The Trap of Liberalized Autocracies,” remains a seminal analysis of the limits of top-down political reform in Arab countries; his 2013 Journal of Democracy article, “Transforming the Arab World’s Protection-Racket Politics,” is essential reading on pact-making and identity politics in the post-2011 Arab world. Dr. Brumberg has worked extensively on Tunisia’s transition since 2011, visiting the country regularly and overseeing a study by Tunisian scholars on the Nobel Prize-winning National Dialogue process. He also is a  specialist on Iran; his most recent volume on the country, Power and Change in Iran: Politics of Contention and Conciliation, edited with Farideh Farhi, was published in April 2016. Dr. Brumberg has lived or conducted field research in France, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, and Indonesia.

Howard Eissenstat
Nonresident Senior Fellow

Howard Eissenstat is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at POMED and Associate Professor of Middle East history at St. Lawrence University. A Turkey expert, Eissenstat writes on twentieth-century Turkish history as well as on the country’s contemporary politics and foreign policy. He has lectured at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State and the Canadian Foreign Service Institute. Eissenstat received his PhD in Modern Middle East History from UCLA in 2007 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University in 2008-2009. His publications for POMED include Erdogan as Autocrat: A Very Turkish Tragedy (April 2017); Stunted Democracy: Erdoğan, the AKP, and Turkey’s Slide into Authoritarianism (January 2015); and The Gezi Park Protests: Time for a New U.S. Approach to Turkey (June 2013).


Ashraf el-Sherif
Nonresident Senior Fellow

Dr. Ashraf el-Sherif is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at POMED. Based in Egypt, el-Sherif is a lecturer in political science at the American University in Cairo. He previously served as a nonresident associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is an expert in political Islam, state-religion relations, democratic transition, social movements, and state-society relations in the Middle East and North Africa. El-Sherif holds a PhD in Political Science from Boston University.