Dr. Elie Abouaoun is the director of Middle East and North Africa Programs, based in USIP's Regional Hub in Tunis, Tunisia. Dr. Abouaoun joined USIP after serving as the executive director of the Arab Human Rights Fund. Prior to this, he was the acting country director and program manager of the Danish Refugee Council in Iraq. Elie spent time working as the program coordinator for Ockenden International – Iraq, and before this, within the Lebanese NGO Arcenciel, he was the director of external relations.

Dr. Abouaoun served as a senior trainer and consultant for various international organizations since 1996, including the Council of Europe since 2000. In 2001, he was appointed a member of the Reference Group, established by the Directorate of Education-Council of Europe, to supervise the drafting of COMPASS, a manual for human rights education. He later supervised the manual's adaptation and translation into Arabic to be distributed throughout the Arab region in 2003.

Dr. Abouaoun is a visiting lecturer at Notre Dame University-Lebanon and Saint Joseph University-Lebanon on the subjects of human rights, civil society, advocacy and citizenship. He regularly contributes to publications throughout the MENA region and the United States, while serving on the board of directors for several regional organizations. 

Dr. Abouaoun holds a Master of Business Administration and Management and is a Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Publications By Elie

Using Smart Power to Counter Iran in Iraq

Using Smart Power to Counter Iran in Iraq

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Molly Gallagher

Beginning with the early January killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, the first months of 2020 have seen a spike in long-simmering tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Those tensions have largely played out within the borders of Iran’s western neighbor, Iraq, just as they have for much of the last 17 years. Still bearing the battle scars from years of war, few in the region want to see an escalation to more overt conflict. And after nearly two decades, the American public has clearly demonstrated its own fatigue with endless wars. The question remains, then, how can the U.S. achieve its objectives in regard to Iran and Iraq without military action?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Rethinking Media’s Role in Conflict and Peace in the Middle East

Rethinking Media’s Role in Conflict and Peace in the Middle East

Friday, March 13, 2020

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Ambassador Alberto Fernandez

In 2014, the world watched in disbelief, as global news networks covered the stream of gruesome and horrific beheading videos released by the so-called Islamic State. For the first time, by bringing the terror of the Islamic State directly to the devices in the palm of our hands, it felt personal and close by, rather than across the world in a mysterious land.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

After the Soleimani Strike, What’s Next for Iraq and the Region?

After the Soleimani Strike, What’s Next for Iraq and the Region?

Monday, January 6, 2020

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Sarhang Hamasaeed

With tensions between Iran and the U.S. already simmering, the January 3 U.S. airstrike that killed powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani is sure to have ripple effects across the region. Maj. Gen. Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, coordinated Iran’s military operations and proxies across the Middle East.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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