Spring 2015 Seminar — Supporting Democracy in the Middle East: Tools and Strategy

Dates: Wednesdays, March 18 — May 27, 2015
Time: 7:00 — 8:30 pm
Location: Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
1611 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 300
Washington DC, 20009
Cost: $380.00
Applications are no longer being accepted.
Contact: Alex Russell

Since 2011, the people of the Middle East have been engaged in a difficult struggle to affect democratic change. Despite its stated commitment to the promotion of freedom, human rights, and rule of law, the United States has often struggled to make this ideal a prominent component of its foreign policy. The aim of this course is to shed light on the strategies through which the U.S. encourages genuine democratic development, the tools available to elicit lasting positive change, and the process of policymaking, from budgeting to implementation and execution.

The seminar will begin by outlining the debate around the merits and feasibility of democracy promotion. Subsequent lectures will examine the various tools that the U.S. uses for supporting democracy in the Middle East, which range from diplomacy, to programs, to cooperation with international actors. The seminar will conclude with an evaluation of these tools and will offer a new paradigm with which to consider U.S. policies in the region. Policymakers and other leading experts will deliver each lecture.

Seminar discussions will be particularly useful for professionals who design, review, and implement projects in the area of democracy and governance, but they will have broad relevance to policy professionals in a range of roles.

Course Schedule & Speakers

March 18 — Promoting Democracy: Merits and Feasibility

Thomas Carothers
Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

March 25 — Security Assistance

Dafna H. Rand
Deputy Director of Studies & Leon E. Panetta Fellow, Center for a New American Security

April 1 — Military & Defense Approach

Admiral Dennis Blair
Former Director of National Intelligence

April 8 — Public Rhetoric & Diplomacy

Ambassador (ret.) Stephen Seche
Senior Analyst, Dentons US LLP

April 15 — International Actors

Dokhi Fassihian
Senior Program Manager, Middle East & North Africa, Freedom House

April 22 — The Congressional Appropriations Process

Jeremy Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Congressional Research Service

April 29 — State Department Assistance Programs

Amy Hawthorne
Resident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council

May 6 — United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Summer Lopez
Acting Regional Coordinator for the Middle East, Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

May 13 — Trade & Economic Relations

Ambassador Miriam Sapiro
Visiting Fellow, Global Economy and Development Program, the Brookings Institution

May 20 — No Class


May 27 — Rethinking U.S. Policy in the Changing Middle East

Michele Dunne
Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Application Information

Due to demand, admission to seminars is selective. To apply, click here to submit a copy of your résumé or CV and a short essay detailing your interest in attending this seminar. Applications are due by February 20, 2015, at 5:00 pm EST.

Grading & Expectations

To maximize the benefit of the course and to enhance the quality of discussion, participants are required to attend every lecture. Participants may opt to receive a grade. For those students who do, the grade will be based on a final paper. The final paper will require participants to synthesize material from the course and draw recommendations for U.S. policymakers in the form of a five-page (double-spaced) policy memo. Required and recommended readings for each week will be made available to participants prior to the first session. Participants should complete the suggested readings prior to class and prepare to demonstrate their knowledge of the material in class discussions.

About POMED’s Seminar Series for Professionals

POMED seminars offer a low-cost opportunity for policy professionals to receive graduate-level training in political analysis and support for democracy in the Middle East. Seminars feature a different guest lecturer every week, and classes are kept small to encourage interactive discussions. To see current and past course offerings, click here.