The Project on Middle East Democracy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to examining how genuine democracies can develop in the Middle East and how the U.S. can best support that process. Through dialogue, research, and advocacy, we work to strengthen the constituency for U.S. policies that peacefully support democratic reform in the Middle East.


In 2004, a small group of graduate students at Georgetown University began meeting regularly to discuss the need for a stronger voice in Washington in support of democratic principles in the Middle East and North Africa. The group was driven by a firm belief that the advancement of democratic values is not only in the interest of the region’s citizens, but also very much in the strategic interest of the United States.

In 2006, this group formally established the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) to help fill gaps it had identified: to inform the Washington policy community on key political developments in the MENA region and the impact of U.S. policy on the prospects for genuine democratic change; to carry out sustained advocacy on behalf of greater U.S. support for democratic values; and to help broaden U.S. engagement beyond relationships with the region’s governments and narrow sets of traditional elites.

Since that time, POMED has also grown to help build the capacity of dozens of independent civil society organizations in the MENA region that wish to play the same role locally that POMED plays in Washington—of undertaking independent research and analysis, generating independent recommendations for policy, and carrying out advocacy to advance those recommendations.

POMED is based in Washington, DC and also has an office in Tunisia.



Through Research, Advocacy, and Civil Society Partnerships, we work to strengthen support for genuine democratic development in the Middle East and North Africa.

“The U.S. needs to show that it has the courage of its convictions. It must be willing to put up with the inconvenient vicissitudes of democracy in the Arab world, just as it does in Israel or Turkey…This would be a more complex scene, to be sure, but one that offered a better life for peoples of the region and a more healthy and transparent environment in which to promote U.S. interests.”

– Michele Dunne
Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

  • Thomas O. Melia (Chairperson)

    Visiting Professor at Princeton University
    Thomas O. Melia is a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, a Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute and a columnist for The American Interest.


  • Andrew Albertson

    Foreign Policy for America
    Andrew Albertson is the Executive Director of newly founded Foreign Policy for America. Prior to this he worked as a Management Associate at Creative Associates, where he supported the MEPI-funded ...


  • J. Scott Carpenter

    Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas)
    J. Scott Carpenter is the Managing Director at Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas), part of Google. Previously, Carpenter was an adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. As the Institute’s Keston Family fellow


  • Michele Dunne

    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Michele Dunne is currently a director and senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Dunne formerly served as the director of the Rafik Hariri Center at the Atlantic Council


  • Stephen Grand

    Atlantic Council
    Stephen Grand is the Executive Director of Middle East Strategy Task Force at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World


  • Shadi Hamid

    Brookings Institution
    Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He previously served as director of research at the Brookings Doha Center


  • Steven Heydemann

    Smith College; Brookings Institution
    Steven Heydemann is the Janet Wright Ketcham ’53 Chair in Middle East Studies at Smith College and is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. From 2007-2015, he served as vice president ...


  • Lionel C. Johnson

    Pacific Pension & Investment Institute
    Lionel C. Johnson became president of the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute in July 2014. His career spans more than three decades during which he has been a leader in international business, public policy, and economic development.


  • Jim Kolbe

    German Marshall Fund of the United States; Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1985-2007
    Jim Kolbe is a retired Member of Congress and currently serves as Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He advises on trade matters as well as issues of effectiveness of U.S. assistance


  • Kori Schake

    International Institute for Strategic Studies
    Kori Schake is the Deputy Director-General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). She was a distinguished research fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has served in various policy roles including at the White House for the National Security Council.


  • Ashraf el-Sherif

    Nonresident Senior Fellow
    Based in Egypt, Dr. Ashraf 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


  • Michael Shor

    Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
    Michael Shor has over 30 years experience representing private parties and foreign governments in international trade disputes and negotiations, international investment disputes, and in counseling companies


  • Daniel Brumberg

    Nonresident Senior Fellow
    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


  • Howard Eissenstat

    Nonresident Senior Fellow
    Dr. Eissenstat is 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


  • Nadwa al-Dawsari

    Nonresident Senior Fellow
    Nadwa 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


  • Stephen McInerney

    Executive Director
    Stephen 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 ...


  • Amy Hawthorne

    Deputy Director for Research
    Amy 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


  • 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....


  • Arwa Shobaki

    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,


  • Hanan Abdulhadi

    Program Officer for Civil Society Partnerships
    Hanan 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


  • Todd Ruffner

    Advocacy Officer
    Todd 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


  • April Brady

    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


  • Tammem Mahjoub

    Program Coordinator for Civil Society Partnerships
    Prior to joining POMED, Tammem 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


  • Raouia Briki

    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


  • Louisa Keeler

    Advocacy Associate
    Louisa 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.


  • Ahmed Rizk

    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


  • Mustafa Siala

    Finance & Operations Associate
    Mustafa is a Libyan project management and communications professional with experience in providing a full range of financial, administrative, and logistical support.




The Project on Middle East Democracy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is the policy of the Project on Middle East Democracy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability, or because he or she is a protected veteran.


POMED has no current openings.


POMED has no current openings.