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

Can Yemen be Pulled Back from the Brink?

Can Yemen be Pulled Back from the Brink?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Sarhang Hamasaeed

Before the war, Yemen was already the Arab world’s poorest country and nearly four years later more than three-quarters of the country’s population is in desperate need of aid and protection, with millions displaced. Further complicating the situation, the conflict has become another battleground in the regional Saudi-Iran power struggle. USIP’s Dr. Elie Abouaoun and Sarhang Hamasaeed analyze the multi-layered nature of the conflict, Yemen’s dire humanitarian situation and the prospects for peace.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Iraq’s Election Leaves Iran’s Influence Intact

Iraq’s Election Leaves Iran’s Influence Intact

Thursday, May 31, 2018

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

As Iraq shapes a government from its May 12 election, the indecisive electoral outcome again will leave Iran in a position to affect both the choice of a prime minister, and the tenor of the underlying administration. How Iran wields that influence is likely to depend on how well the European Union is able to defend the Iran nuclear accord following the United States’ withdrawal.

Democracy & Governance

As Iraq Prepares for Elections, Iran's Influence Looms Large

As Iraq Prepares for Elections, Iran's Influence Looms Large

Monday, May 7, 2018

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed; Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Garrett Nada

Tehran’s interventions in conflicts throughout the Middle East have become a particular point of contention for detractors of the Iran Deal, which placed constraints on the country's nuclear program without addressing its role in Syria, Yemen, and across the region. There is no place Iranian influence has played a more conspicuous role than in neighboring Iraq.

Democracy & Governance; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Amid a Region in Strife, Lebanon Holds Parliamentary Elections

Amid a Region in Strife, Lebanon Holds Parliamentary Elections

Thursday, May 3, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Dr. Elie Abouaoun

On May 6, Lebanese voters will elect a new parliament for the first time in nine years. This election introduces a new electoral law that scraps the former winner-take-all model in favor of a proportional representation system, aimed at opening the door for smaller parties and independent candidates to make it into parliament. While the election is an important development for Lebanon’s democracy and stability, it will be closely watched by regional and major powers alike.

Democracy & Governance

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