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 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.
Deputy Director for Policy
Cole Bockenfeld is the Deputy Director for Policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). He has studied the Middle East and global diplomacy at the University of Arkansas, Georgetown University, and the University of London. 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 the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) in Amman. His writing on Middle Eastern politics and U.S. foreign policy has been published by the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has spoken on Middle East affairs with numerous media outlets including the New York Times, NPR, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, Al-Jazeera, and Alhurra.
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, Hawthorne 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, Hawthorne 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. Hawthorne 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.
Hawthorne 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.
Deputy Director for Strategic Development
Arwa Shobaki is POMED’s Deputy Director for Strategic Development. Arwa has over ten 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 taken place 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 a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mnayn Seraat al Qarqa, 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.
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.
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 Bachelors degree in Political Science from the Ohio State University, interning at the US State Department in Paris, heavily focusing on US-France relations with the Arab region, and Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus, Ohio.
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 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.
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, Nadwa’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, Nadwa 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.
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Dr. Daniel Brumberg is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at POMED. Dr. Brumberg is Professor of Government at Georgetown University, where he co-directs the Master’s Program in Democracy and Governance. He also serves as special advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace. 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 noted specialist on Iran, and his forthcoming volume, Power and Change in Iran: Politics of Contention and Conciliation, edited with Farideh Farhi, will be published in April 2016. At POMED, Dr. Brumberg will focus on Tunisia, Iranian politics, and prospects for political reform in the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.
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).
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.
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Dr. Ellen Lust is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at POMED. She has over 16 years of experience teaching Middle East politics and is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Yale University. Her books include Structuring Conflict in the Arab World, Political Participation in the Middle East, the 12th and 13th editions of The Middle East, and the recently published Taking to the Streets: The Transformation of Arab Activism. Her work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, CNN, and Foreign Policy. She holds a BA in Public Policy and Psychology from Albion College and an MA in Middle Eastern & North African Studies and PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan.