African Human Rights Leaders Summit

Please join us virtually for the African Human Rights Leaders Summit, an event that aims to bolster civic voices from the region ahead of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

The event will provide an independent platform to raise and integrate the voices and views of African human rights and civil society leaders, as well as members of African civic groups and the diaspora, ahead of the Summit. It will consider ways to prioritize human rights and democratic governance in US partnerships across the continent, and will aim to feed into the implementation of the broader US-Africa strategy.


 

9:00 – 9:15 AM | WELCOME & KEYNOTE

  • Nicole Widdersheim, Deputy Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Honorable Graca Machel, Founder, Graça Machel Trust

9:20 – 10:15 AM | CIVIL SOCIETY AS A DEMOCRACY SAFEGUARD

Civil society and human rights leaders discuss the vital importance of addressing democratic backsliding, as well as attacks on basic human rights such as freedom of expression, rising detention, torture and violence on journalists and human rights defenders.

Moderator:

  • Carine Kaneza Nantulya, Deputy Director for Africa, Human Rights Watch

Panelists:

  • Maya Sahli-Fadel: Vice Chair, Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa
  • Hassan Shire: Executive Director, Defend Defenders
  • Donald Deya: Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Lawyers Union

10:25 – 11:20 AM | WEIGHING IN ON THE US STRATEGY TOWARD SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Civil society and human rights leaders discuss the human rights challenges they are facing and how the new US-Africa strategy can proactively support marginalized populations as well as those on the frontlines working to hold their governments accountable.

Moderator:

  • Professor Peter Lewis: Chair of African Studies, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Panelists:

  • Kamissa Camara: Senior Advisor for Africa at USIP (Sahel); Former Foreign Minister of Mali
  • Achaleke Christian Leke: AU-Africa Youth Ambassador for Peace; Central Africa and Executive Director, Local Youth Corner Cameroon
  • Additional panelist to be confirmed

11:25 AM – 12:20 PM | HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION & PROTECTION: WHAT WORKS AND WHAT IS NEEDED

Human rights defenders will highlight effective tools and tactics in promoting and protecting human rights and how the US government and US civil society can better support them. They will discuss practical examples of collaborations and successful projects.

Moderator:

  • Kehinde Togun, Managing Director – Public Engagement, Humanity United

Panelists:

  • Adama Dempster: Secretary General, Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia; Secretariat for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court in Liberia
  • Irene Petras: Human rights lawyer (Zimbabwe)
  • Yasmin Omar: International human rights lawyer; UN and Regional Advocacy Manager, Committee for Justice; Member, Steering Committee of the U.S. Committee to End Political Repression in Egypt
  • Hagir Elsheikh: Human rights activist (Sudan)

Ahead of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Examining Egypt’s Record on Anti-Corruption and Women’s Rights

From December 13 to 15, President Joseph R. Biden will host the second U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. Attendees, reportedly including Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will meet to discuss a wide range of issues, among them a “reinforce[d] commitment to democracy, human rights, and civil society.”

Please join the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) for a timely discussion on anti-corruption and marginalized communities in Egypt—themes that the Summit’s Civil Society Forum will highlight. An outstanding panel of experts will address the military-backed regime’s pervasive corruption and the government’s record on women’s rights and gender equality, as well as what the United States can do to promote improvements in these areas.


 

Opening Remarks:

  • Tess McEnery, Executive Director, POMED

Panelists:

  • Lobna Darwish, Gender and Women’s Rights Officer, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  • Timothy Kaldas, Policy Fellow, TIMEP

 

Moderator:

  • Ramy Yaacoub, Executive Director, TIMEP

 


Including special remarks from

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY),
Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee


Lobna Darwish is a feminist and a gender and human rights officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a leading human rights nongovernmental organization that works to strengthen and protect basic rights and freedoms in Egypt, through research, advocacy and supporting litigation in the fields of civil liberties, economic and social rights, and criminal justice. Ms. Darwish works on gender and sexuality, with a focus on criminalization. Follow her on Twitter @lobna.

 


Timothy E. Kaldas is a Policy Fellow at TIMEP. He researches transitional politics in Egypt, regime survival strategies, and Egyptian political economy and foreign policy. Beyond Egypt, his research examines the social and political history of sectarianism in Iraq, U.S. policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, and discrimination against Muslim Europeans, particularly in France. He previously taught politics as a visiting professor at Nile University in Cairo. Mr. Kaldas holds an MA in Arab studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, after being based in Cairo for 12 years. Follow him on Twitter @tekaldas.

 


Tess McEnery is POMED’s Executive Director. Ms. McEnery served two tours as a Director for Democracy and Human Rights at the White House National Security Council. At the State Department, she led a Global Democracy and Human Rights Policy Team and served as a Senior Conflict Prevention Advisor. Previously, Ms. McEnery managed some of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s largest foreign assistance mechanisms and pioneered the agency’s electoral security initiative. Ms. McEnery received her Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Guilford College. Follow her on Twitter @TessMcEnery.

 


Ramy Yaacoub (moderator) is a founder and the Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP). Mr. Yaacoub is the former Chairman of iProductions and the former CEO of O MENA Media, two companies under the umbrella of O Media Holding. Mr. Yaacoub holds an M.A. in International Affairs with a focus on U.S.-Middle East relations from American University’s School of International Service (SIS) and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He previously served as Chief of Staff of the then-parliament-majority Free Egyptians Party in Egypt, and as a Policy Volunteer for the Biden for President campaign Middle East Working Group. Follow him on Twitter @RamyYaacoub.

 


Photo Credit: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Facebook page

Pathways to Accountability for the Beirut Blast Two Years on: From Investigative Journalism to the Courts

Human Rights WatchAccountability NowDaraj Media, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) are pleased to invite you to an online briefing on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 from 9:00-10:30am EDT (4:00-5:30pm Beirut time) to highlight domestic and international efforts to seek accountability for the Beirut blast two years on, focusing on the pathways to justice and the role that diverse actors are playing to dismantle impunity, from everyday citizens to investigative journalists and lawyers.

Featuring

Zena Wakim
Accountability Now

Aya Majzoub
Human Rights Watch

Alia Ibrahim
Daraj

Tania Daou
Lawyer and Plaintiff in Texas Court Case

Hussein Cheaito
TIMEP

Mai El-Sadany (moderator)
TIMEP

 


 

The Beirut blast – one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history – was the result of decades of government mismanagement and corruption at the port. The explosion, which resulted from the detonation of tonnes of ammonium nitrate improperly stored for years at the port, pulverized the port, damaged over half the city, and killed at least 220 people.

Although Lebanese leaders vowed to swiftly investigate and hold those responsible to account, the domestic investigation into the August 4, 2020 explosion has failed to meet international standards and has been suspended since December 2021 due to political interference. Victims and survivors of the blast are now seeking accountability in the domestic courts of other countries. On July 11, 2022, a group of victims, supported by Accountability Now, filed a claim in Texas against a US company that entered into a series of highly profitable but suspicious contracts with the Lebanese government and which chartered the Rhosus, the vessel carrying the military-grade ammonium nitrate, to Beirut’s port.

This solutions-oriented discussion will address how accountability is being pursued tangibly and at various levels. It will underscore, for example, the role of investigative journalists in uncovering critical evidence, the ways in which evidence can be used to seek justice in courts globally and to challenge impunity via targeted sanctions, the advocacy efforts to organize victims and bring about an independent investigation through the UN Human Rights Council, and the domestic efforts to challenge systemic corruption written into law and practice at home.

Note: The briefing will be conducted in English with simultaneous Arabic translation.

Event: The End of Tunisia’s Democratic Path—For Now?

In the aftermath of the controversial July 25 referendum on President Kaïs Saïed’s autocratic constitution, please join us for a conversation with two leading experts on Tunisia, Mohamed-Dhia Hammami and Monica Marks. The panel will discuss the conduct and legitimacy of the referendum, whether Saïed will succeed in his plans to install a new dictatorship, the landscape of opposition and resistance to Saïed, and what this all means for the country’s worsening economic conditions and its stability.

 


 

Speakers

Mohamed-Dhia Hammami

Independent Researcher and Analyst

Monica Marks

Professor of Middle East Politics, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), Abu Dhabi

Moderator:

Amy Hawthorne

Deputy Director for Research, POMED, Washington, D.C.

 


Mohamed-Dhia Hammami is a Ph.D. student in Political Science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He works on political, security and business elites in Tunisia. Mr. Hammami participated in the 2011 revolution, contributed to drafting the 2014 Constitution as a parliamentary assistant in the National Constituent Assembly, and wrote on corruption and other natural resources-related issues as a journalist and research consultant. Mr. Hammami received his BA from Wesleyan University. He previously studied mathematics at the University of Tunis and the University of Carthage.



Monica Marks is a professor of Middle East politics at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and a scholar of Islamist movements, gender, and politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Her research focuses on broad topics across the region and beyond, but especially in regard to the tensions between pluralism and state power in the two countries where she’s lived longest: Tunisia and Turkey. Dr. Marks studied in Tanzania, Tunisia, and Jordan, and in Turkey as a Fulbright Scholar before completing her Masters and PhD at Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Her PhD dissertation was an ethnographic study of post-2011 Tunisian politics based on over 1,200 in-country interviews.



Amy Hawthorne (moderator) is the Deputy Director for Research at POMED where she oversees the organization’s publications on Tunisia. Prior to her position at POMED, Amy served as Resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, where she worked on the U.S.-EU response to Tunisia’s democratization process, and as an appointee at the State Department, where she worked on U.S. policy toward Egypt and Tunisia following the 2011 uprisings.

 


Photo Credit: Amine Ghrabi on Flickr (people with hands raised), Présidence Tunisie on Facebook (Kaïs Saïed)

Human Rights Concerns in the Middle East Ahead of President Biden’s Trip to the Region

On Monday, July 11 at 2:30 PM ET, dissidents from the Middle East and Members of Congress will join the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), Human Rights Watch, PEN America, the Freedom Initiative, Freedom House, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Win Without War, and Human Rights First for a briefing for media ahead of President Joe Biden’s July 15-16 visit to Saudi Arabia to meet with the leaders of the GCC+3.

President Biden promised to center human rights in his administration, including by pledging to make Saudi Arabia “the pariah that they are” and indicating that Saudi officials “have to be held accountable” for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. During this trip, President Biden will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

In advance of Biden’s trip, prominent human rights defenders with unjustly detained family members will urge President Biden to raise their families’ cases when he meets with the GCC +3 leaders and they will outline some of the most pressing human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt.

Monday, July 11 at 2:30 PM ET
Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902
120 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC

Featuring

  • Lina al-Hathloul, Saudi human rights defender and sister of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul (who is under a travel ban in Saudi Arabia)
  • Maryam al-Khawaja, Bahraini human rights defender, former co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and daughter of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja (who was sentenced to life in prison in Bahrain for his pro-democracy work)
  • Sanaa Seif, Egyptian activist and filmmaker, sister of writer Alaa Abd el-Fattah (who is imprisoned in Egypt and has been on hunger strike for 100 days)
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), co-chair of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

 

Hosted by

Committee to Protect Journalists  •  Freedom House  •  The Freedom Initiative  •  Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch  •  PEN America  •  Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)  •  Win Without War

 

Discussion and Book Talk with Egyptian Activist Sanaa Seif

 

Please join The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and The Freedom Initiative (FI) for:

 

Discussion and Book Talk with
Egyptian Activist Sanaa Seif

Friday, April 22, 2022
11:00 am – 12:30 pm EDT
Downtown Washington, D.C.

 

Background

Please join the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and The Freedom Initiative (FI) for an in-person discussion with Egyptian film editor, writer, and activist Sanaa Seif and POMED’s Executive Director Stephen McInerney The conversation will focus on the release of the book You Have Not Yet Been Defeated: Selected Works 2011-2021 (Seven Stories Press), written by Sanaa’s brother Alaa Abdel Fattah.

Alaa is widely regarded as one of Egypt’s most prominent intellectuals and a leading voice in the January 2011 revolution. He has been arrested under each successive Egyptian presidency in his lifetime and spent eight of the last nine years wrongfully detained – solely because of his fight for a free, fair, and representative government in Egypt. Earlier this month, the Washington Post Editorial Board called for Alaa’s release. 

Alaa’s book will be published in the United States on April 19 and Sanaa is on a short book tour in the United States to raise awareness about her brother’s case and discuss conditions inside Egypt’s prisons. You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is a moving collection of Alaa’s speeches, essays, and letters, translated by a collective, which recount the spirit of revolution as well as the repression that has followed since.

 

Featuring

Sanaa Seif
Filmmaker, producer, and activist

 

Stephen McInerney
Executive Director, POMED

 

Speaker Bios

Sanaa Seif is an Egyptian filmmaker, producer and political activist. She has been imprisoned three times under the Sisi regime for her activism. Most recently from the summer of 2020 until December 2021, when she was abducted by security forces after trying to get a letter to her brother in prison. Hundreds of cultural figures and dozens of institutions campaigned for her release. She was released in December and is traveling in the United States to promote her imprisoned brother, Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s, newly published book, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated.

Stephen McInerney is POMED’s executive director. Stephen joined POMED as its Advocacy Director in 2007 and became Executive Director in 2010. Prior to joining POMED, he spent six years living, working, and studying in the Middle East and North Africa – two years each in Egypt, Lebanon, and Qatar. He spent two years in a master’s degree program in the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut, one year on a fellowship at the Center for Arab Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo, and three years teaching at Cairo American College and the American School of Doha. He received a master’s degree from Stanford University and is fluent in Arabic.

Supporting Democracy and Human Rights in Turkey: Can the United States and Europe Do More?

 

Please join the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) for a webinar on:

Supporting Democracy and Human Rights in Turkey:
Can the United States and Europe Do More?

 

Friday, December 17, 2021

1:00 PM – 2:15 PM ET / 9:00 PM – 10:15 PM GMT+3

Via Zoom

 

Background

In recent years, Turkey’s authoritarian slide has raised concerns among its Western allies and complicated international efforts to support democracy and human rights there. The Biden administration pointedly excluded Turkey from its December 2021 Summit for Democracy, signaling that it does not currently view Turkey as part of the international community of democracies. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly defies global human rights institutions like the Council of Europe and flatly rejects calls from allies like the United States to restore the rule of law and return to a path of democratization. The deterioration of Turkey’s ties with key transatlantic democracies and institutions, coupled with the rise of nationalism in Turkish politics, has brought new challenges to Western support for Turkish civil society. Turkey’s worsening economic crisis and growing political uncertainty will make the terrain for international support for democracy and human rights more complex.

Yet despite these difficulties, the United States and European democracies can and should play a valuable role in advancing democratic values and human rights in Turkey, especially at a pivotal time for the country. Please join the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) for an event examining why the United States and Europe should do more to help Turkish democracy and human rights and assessing the best ways to do so.

 


 

REGISTER HERE


Featuring

Panelists:

Osman İşçi

International Affairs Secretary, Human Rights Foundation (İHD), Turkey

 

Merve Tahiroğlu

Turkey Program Coordinator, POMED, Washington, D.C.

 

Özge Zihnioğlu

Lecturer in Politics, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

 

Moderator:

Amy Hawthorne

Deputy Director for Research, POMED, Washington, D.C.

 


Speaker Bios

Osman İşçi is the International Affairs Secretary of the Human Rights Association (İHD), one of Turkey’s oldest and most prominent independent human rights organizations, and President of the Human Rights Academy, an İHD initiative. A leading human rights defender, Osman is a member of the EuroMed Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and a member of the World Organization Against Torture’s general assembly. Osman has worked with numerous rights groups in Turkey. In 2017, he was awarded the Human Rights Award by the Austrian League of Human Rights.

 

 


Merve Tahiroğlu is POMED’s Turkey Program Coordinator. Prior to joining POMED in September 2019, Merve was a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where she focused on Turkey’s domestic politics, foreign policy, and relationship with Washington. She has authored several monographs and published articles in outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Politico, and Huffington Post.

 

 


Özge Zihnioğlu is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Politics. Her research focuses on Turkish civil society, activism, EU-Turkey relations, and EU civil society support. She is the author of EU-Turkey Relations: Civil Society and Depoliticization (Routledge, 2020) and European Union Civil Society Policy and Turkey: A Bridge Too Far? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). She is a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Civic Research Network, and an executive committee member of Turkey’s Young Academy Working Group.

 

 


Amy Hawthorne (moderator) is POMED’s Deputy Director for Research. Before joining POMED in 2015, Ms. Hawthorne was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. In 2011-12, she served as Senior Advisor and then Egypt Coordinator in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at the Department of State. Her other previous positions include executive director of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue in Istanbul and Washington, D.C., fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and senior program officer for the Middle East at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

 

 

REGISTER HERE

 

Can Tunisia’s Democracy Survive?

 

Thank you for joining the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) for a webinar on:

Can Tunisia’s Democracy Survive?

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
10 am – 11:15 am ET
4 pm – 5:15 pm GMT +1
Via Zoom

 

Please join us for a special event on Tunisia’s post-July 25 political landscape and possible trajectories. The first part of the event will examine President Kaïs Saïed’s governance since his power grab, the threats to Tunisia’s democracy, and the pushback against a return to autocracy. The second part will look at what role international actors, including the United States, may be able to play in shoring up democracy in Tunisia.

 

READ THE EVENT TRANSCRIPT

 

 

READ THE EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

 


Panel 1: Views from Tunisia and the Region

10 am – 11 am ET
4 pm – 5 pm GMT +1

Panelists:

Amine Ghali

Program Director, Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center (KADEM), Tunis

 

Amna Guellali

Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty International, Tunis

 

Monica Marks

Professor of Middle East Politics, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), Abu Dhabi

 

Moderator:

Amy Hawthorne

Deputy Director for Research, POMED, Washington, D.C.


Panel 2: A View from the U.S. Congress

11 am – 11:15 am ET
5:00 pm – 5:15 pm GMT +1

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)

U.S. Senator from Connecticut; Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism

 

in conversation with

 

Stephen McInerney

Executive Director, POMED


Speaker Bios

Panel 1

 

Amine Ghali is the Program Director at Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center (KADEM) in Tunis. Currently he focuses on political reform, elections, and transitional justice issues. Following the Tunisian revolution, he was appointed as a member of the National Commission to Investigate Corruption, and then as a member of the National Commission on the Transitional Justice Debate.

 


 

Amna Guellali is currently Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, Dr. Guellali was the director of the Tunis office of Human Rights Watch, where she was responsible for research on Tunisia and Algeria in the organization’s Middle East and North Africa division, and an analyst at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

 


 

Monica Marks is a professor at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and a scholar of Islamist movements, gender, and politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Her research focuses on broad topics across the region and beyond, but especially in regard to the tensions between pluralism and state power in the two countries where she’s lived longest: Tunisia and Turkey.

 


 

Amy Hawthorne (moderator) is the Deputy Director for Research at POMED. She is also the chair of the Working Group on Egypt. Prior to her work at POMED, Amy served as Resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council and as an appointee at the State Department, where she worked on U.S. policy toward Egypt and Tunisia following the 2011 uprisings.

 


Panel 2

 

Senator Chris Murphy has been the junior U.S. Senator for Connecticut since taking office in 2013. As the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, he is an outspoken proponent of democracy, human rights, and foreign policy issues in the Middle East. In 2016, Sen. Murphy received POMED’s Leaders for Democracy award.

 


 

Stephen McInerney is currently the Executive Director at POMED. Prior to joining POMED, he spent six years living, working, and studying in the Middle East and North Africa—two years each in Egypt, Lebanon, and Qatar.

 

 


Photo Credit: محمد أمين الطرابلسي  on Wikimedia Commons (protesters), Présidence Tunisie on Facebook (Kaïs Saïed)

Examining Tunisia’s Political Crisis

On July 25, 2021, amidst rising anger among Tunisian citizens over an escalating pandemic crisis, a deteriorating economy, and public institutions crippled by endless infighting among politicians, Tunisian President Kais Saïed granted himself full executive powers, dismissed the prime minister, “froze” the parliament, and removed immunity for MPs. Saïed assured the Tunisian public, among whom he currently appears to enjoy wide support, that these actions were necessary “to save Tunisia” and in accordance with Article 80 of the constitution. Some Tunisians, however, disagree that his moves are constitutional and warn that democracy is at grave risk.

As Tunisia’s fragile democracy is plunged into uncertainty, please join the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) for an expert briefing on what precipitated the crisis, what has unfolded since July 25, and what may be needed for Tunisia to avoid sliding back into authoritarianism and for its democracy to survive.

READ THE EVENT TRANSCRIPT

 


Featuring

Panelists:

Achref Aouadi

Activist and Founder, IWatch

 

Amna Guellali

Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty International 

 

Mohamed-Dhia Hammami

Independent Researcher and Analyst

 

Moderator:

Stephen McInerney

Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy


Speaker Bios

ACHREF AOUADI is a Tunisian activist and the founder of IWatch, a watchdog anti-corruption organization founded after the 2011 revolution. IWatch works to organize and advocate for increased government transparency and fights against corruption. Mr. Aouadi was chosen to represent the Tunisian civil society at the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and serves as an Ashoka fellow. In 2019, he was awarded POMED’s Leaders for Democracy Award.

 


AMNA GUELLALI is Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, based in Tunis. Previously, she was the director of the Tunis office of Human Rights Watch and was responsible for research on Tunisia and Algeria in the organization’s Middle East and North Africa division, investigating human rights abuses in both countries. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Dr. Guellali worked as an analyst at the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague and as Senior Researcher at the department of international law at the Asser Institute. She has also served as legal officer at the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tunis. Dr. Guellali holds a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence. In 2017, she was awarded POMED’s Leaders for Democracy Award.


MOHAMED-DHIA HAMMAMI is an independent researcher and analyst. After growing up in the suburbs of Tunis under the Ben Ali regime, Mr. Hammami took part in the 2011 revolution and then got involved in public life as a student activist at the University of Tunis and as a parliamentary assistant in the National Constituent Assembly. He subsequently worked as a journalist at Nawaat and as a researcher and a consultant for IWatch, the Truth and Dignity Commission, the Natural Resources Governance Institute, Lawyers Without Borders, and the University of York on corruption and other natural resources-related issues. Mr. Hammami received his BA from Wesleyan University. This fall, he will begin a PhD program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.


STEPHEN MCINERNEY (moderator) is the executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). Prior to joining POMED in 2007, he had spent six years living, working, and studying in the Middle East and North Africa—two years each in Egypt, Lebanon, and Qatar. He spent two years in a master’s degree program in the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut, one year on a fellowship at the Center for Arab Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo, and three years teaching at Cairo American College and the American School of Doha. He received a master’s degree from Stanford University and is fluent in Arabic.


Photo Credit: Présidence Tunisie / Facebook

Jordan: Why Real Reform Can’t Wait

 

Thank you for joining the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) for a webinar on

Jordan: Why Real Reform Can’t Wait

Thursday, July 15

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET via Zoom

 

Background

On July 19, Jordan’s King Abdullah II will meet with President Biden at the White House, marking the first official Washington visit of an Arab head of state during the Biden administration. Abdullah’s visit comes at a moment of particular political uncertainty, economic decline, and escalating repression in the Kingdom. In April, the Palace detained the King’s half-brother Prince Hamzah, along with several other high-profile figures, for an alleged “coup” plot, but many view the allegations as an attempt to distract from growing discontent over Abdullah’s rule and from the rising popularity of Prince Hamzah. Against this backdrop of regime challenges, the United States—Jordan’s leading foreign backer—has continued to pursue a “business as usual” policy, expressing public support for the King without pressing for meaningful reforms.

To explore the domestic situation in Jordan and how the Biden administration and Congress should respond, POMED is pleased to host an expert discussion on Thursday, July 15, in advance of the King’s White House meeting.

 

READ THE EVENT TRANSCRIPT

 

Watch a livestream of the event on YouTube, or watch streams on Facebook or Twitter.

 


Featuring

Panelists

Bessma Momani

 Assistant Vice-President, Research and International, and Full Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo

 

Curtis Ryan

Professor of Political Science, Appalachian State University

 

Sean Yom

Associate Professor of Political Science, Temple University

 

Moderator

Arwa Shobaki

Managing Director, POMED

 

REGISTER HERE

 


Speaker Bios

Bessma Momani is Full Professor of Political Science and Assistant Vice-President of Research and International in the Office of Research at the University of Waterloo. She is also a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) and a nonresident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute of Washington. Dr. Momani has previously been a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Stimson Center, and was a visiting scholar at Georgetown University’s Mortara Center. She was a 2015 Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and a 2011-12 Fulbright Scholar. She is a regular contributor to national and international media on Arab politics and on global economic governance issues. She has written editorials for the New York Times, Economist, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, among others. Dr. Momani received her BA from the University of Toronto, MA from the University of Guelph, and PhD from the University of Western Ontario.


Curtis Ryan is Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. Dr. Ryan served as a 1992-93 Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan and was twice named a Peace Scholar by the United States Institute of Peace. In addition to his contributions to Middle East Report, his articles have been published in the Middle East Journal, the British Journal of Middle East Studies, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, World Politics Review, Arab Studies Quarterly, Israel Affairs, Orient, Southeastern Political Review, Journal of Third World Studies, Middle East Policy, and the Journal of Middle East Law and Governance. He is the author of three books: Jordan in Transition: From Hussein to Abdullah (2002), Inter-Arab Alliances: Regime Security and Jordanian Foreign Policy (2009) and Jordan and the Arab Uprisings – Regime Survival and Politics Beyond the State (2018). He received his BA in History and Political Science from Drew University and his MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Sean Yom is Associate Professor of Political Science at Temple University and Senior Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He is a specialist on regimes and governance in the Middle East, especially in Arab monarchies like Jordan, Kuwait, and Morocco. Dr. Yom’s research engages topics of authoritarian politics, democratic reforms, institutional stability, and economic development in these countries, as well as their implications for U.S. foreign policy. His publications include the books From Resilience to Revolution: How Foreign Interventions Destabilize the Middle East (2016) and Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, 9th edition (2020); articles in print journals such as Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Journal of Democracy; and contributions in online venues like Foreign Affairs, Middle East Eye, and the Washington Post. Dr. Yom also advises country-level work with international NGOs, law firms, and sovereign clients. Dr. Yom received his BA from Brown University and his PhD from Harvard University.


Arwa Shobaki is POMED’s Managing Director. She has spent her career dedicated to the nonprofit sector, helping to manage, design, and lead Middle East and North Africa rights-based initiatives. She has worked with 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 on promoting democratic policies and principles in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen. Prior to joining POMED in 2013, Shobaki worked with the Open Society Justice Initiative and as a summer associate with the Center for National Security Studies, where she focused on freedom of information and expression research. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, LLB from the University of Edinburgh, and LLM in Law and Government from the Washington College of Law. She began her career as an anthropology major and Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania.


Photo Credit: Royal Hashemite Court

Cracking Down on Creative Voices: Turkey’s Silencing of Writers, Intellectuals, and Artists Five Years After the Failed Coup

Thank you for joining us for

Cracking Down on Creative Voices: Turkey’s Silencing of Writers, Intellectuals, and Artists Five Years After the Failed Coup

Since the attempted coup d’état in 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has elevated his attacks on Turkey’s civil society to unprecedented levels, becoming one of the world’s foremost persecutors of freedom of expression. In the five years since the attempted coup, dozens of writers, activists, artists, and intellectuals have been targeted, prosecuted, and jailed; 29 publishing houses have been closed; over 135,000 books have been banned from Turkish public libraries; and more than 5,800 academics have been dismissed from their posts for expressing dissent. PEN America’s 2020 Freedom to Write Index found that Turkey was the world’s third highest imprisoner of writers and public intellectuals, with at least 25 cases of detention or imprisonment. This repressive climate has left writers and other members of Turkey’s cultural sector feeling embattled and targeted, unsure of what they can say or write without falling into their government’s crosshairs.

PEN America, the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and members of Turkey’s cultural, artistic, and literary communities discussed these trends and made recommendations on how policymakers might respond to Erdoğan’s campaign of repression. The discussion highlighted PEN America’s report on freedom of expression in Turkey, which features interviews from members of Turkey’s literary, cultural, and human rights communities to better understand how this society-wide crackdown has affected freedom of expression within the country.

Introductory Remarks:

Panel Discussion:

Turkey’s Intensifying Crackdown: What It Means and What’s At Stake

 

Thank you for joining the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) for a webinar on

Turkey’s Intensifying Crackdown:
What It Means and What’s At Stake

 

Thursday, April 22, 2021
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
(6:00 – 7:00 PM GMT+3)
Via Zoom

 

Read the event highlights.

 

 

You can also find the livestream on Facebook or Twitter.

Background

In recent weeks, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has significantly escalated his assaults on democracy and human rights in Turkey. As Turkish authorities unjustly imprisoned a prominent member of parliament from the second-largest opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the government initiated a process to ban the HDP entirely. Erdoğan also suddenly withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, a major international treaty designed to combat violence against women. Earlier this winter, Turkish police cracked down on peaceful student protestors at Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University and government officials attacked them with homophobic hate speech online. Collectively, these repressive moves constitute what Human Rights Watch has called a crackdown on “a scale unprecedented in the 18 years that [Erdoğan] has been in office.”

Please join us for a panel discussion on why Erdoğan is cranking up repression, what the impact on the ground is, and how the United States and Europe should respond.


Featuring

Panelists

Emma Sinclair-Webb

Turkey Director, Human Rights Watch

 

Gönül Tol

Turkey Program Director, Middle East Institute

 

Amberin Zaman

Senior Correspondent for the Middle East and North Africa, Al-Monitor

 

Moderator

Merve Tahiroğlu

Turkey Program Coordinator, POMED

 


Speaker Bios

EMMA SINCLAIR-WEBB is a senior Turkey researcher with the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch. She has worked on issues including police violence, accountability for enforced disappearances and killings by state perpetrators, the misuse of terrorism laws, and arbitrary detention. Ms. Sinclair-Webb was a researcher on Turkey for Amnesty International from 2003 to 2007, and previously worked in publishing as a commissioning editor on books on history, culture, and politics in the Middle East and southeast Europe. She has degrees from Cambridge University and Birkbeck College, London, and speaks Turkish.


GÖNÜL TOL is the founding director of the Middle East Institute’s Turkey program and a senior fellow with the Institute’s Frontier Europe Initiative. She is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies. She previously has been an adjunct professor at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University, where she taught courses on Turkey, world politics, and the Middle East. Dr. Tol has written extensively on Turkey-U.S. relations, Turkish domestic politics, and the Kurdish issue.


AMBERIN ZAMAN is a senior correspondent reporting from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe exclusively for Al-Monitor. Zaman has been a columnist for Al-Monitor for the past five years, examining the politics of Turkey, Iraq, and Syria and writing the daily Briefly Turkey newsletter. Prior to Al-Monitor, Zaman covered Turkey, the Kurds, and conflicts in the region for the Washington Post, Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times and Voice of America. Ms. Zaman served as the Economist‘s Turkey correspondent between 1999 and 2016 and has worked as a columnist for several Turkish language outlets.


MERVE TAHIROĞLU (moderator) is POMED’s Turkey Program Coordinator. Prior to joining POMED in 2019, Merve was a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where she focused on Turkey’s domestic politics, foreign policy, and relationship with Washington. She has authored several monographs and published articles in outlets such as Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Politico, and HuffPost.

 


Photo Credit: Oguz Kaan Cagatay Kilinc / Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Facebook page