Dr. Elie Abouaoun is the director of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) North Africa Programs and of the MENA regional Hub in Tunisia. Dr. Abouaoun joined USIP after serving as the executive director of the Arab Human Rights Fund. Prior to being the acting country director and program manager of the Danish Refugee Council in Iraq, Dr. Abouaoun managed humanitarian, human rights, and development projects in the MENA region.

Dr. Abouaoun serves as a senior trainer and consultant for various international organizations since 1996, including the Council of Europe. He was appointed a member of the Reference Group, established by the Directorate of Education-Council of Europe (2001), 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 MENA region.

Dr. Abouaoun holds a visiting teaching position in several universities in the MENA including at the Saint Joseph University (Lebanon). In addition to being an international fellow of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, he joined the Religion and Security Council as a senior nonresident fellow and regularly contributes to publications throughout the MENA region and the United States, while also serving on the board of directors for several regional organizations.

Dr. Abouaoun holds a master’s in business administration and management and is a doctor of dental surgery.

Publications By Elie

Elie Abouaoun on Tunisia’s New Constitution

Elie Abouaoun on Tunisia’s New Constitution

Thursday, July 28, 2022

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

On Monday, Tunisians voted on a new constitution proposed by President Kais Saied that vastly expands the powers of his office. While turnout was low, many Tunisians “support what the president is doing … they are voting based on one specific objective, which is to improve economic and social conditions,” says USIP’s Elie Abouaoun.

Type: Podcast

Democracy & Governance

Tunisia’s new constitution expands presidential power. What’s next for its democracy?

Tunisia’s new constitution expands presidential power. What’s next for its democracy?

Thursday, July 28, 2022

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun;  Thomas M. Hill;  Leo Siebert

A year after Tunisian President Kais Saied began a series of moves that expanded presidential powers, a new constitution further empowering the presidency has been approved by referendum. Amid a dire economic crisis, many Tunisians expressed support for Saied’s moves, as the promise of the 2011 uprising evaporated over the last decade. While the referendum passed with 94 percent of the vote, only 30 percent of Tunisians participated. Once heralded as the sole democratic success of the Arab uprisings, Tunisia’s democratic future trajectory is more uncertain than ever following the constitutional referendum.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceEconomics

Lebanon’s Election Offers Lessons for Now and the Future

Lebanon’s Election Offers Lessons for Now and the Future

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

As the minister of interior announced the results of Lebanon’s May 15 legislative elections, speculation began about whether or not the configuration of the new parliament foretold a brighter future for the tormented country. While some of the results indicate positive breakthroughs and progress, there are several nuances indicating that much greater change is still needed to put the country on a steady path to recovery.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

The New U.S. Plan to Stabilize Conflicts: The Case of Libya

The New U.S. Plan to Stabilize Conflicts: The Case of Libya

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun;  Thomas M. Hill

Almost 11 years after ousting the dictatorship of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains a largely ungoverned land divided among warlord-led factions that fight with support from rival foreign countries. Libya’s instability resonates widely, permitting the trafficking of weapons to the Sahel and migrants to Europe. Repeated peace efforts have failed to help Libyans form a unified national government, yet Libyans continue to show the capacity to overcome communal divisions and build peace at local levels. That demonstrated capacity offers an opportunity that can be expanded by the U.S. government’s decision, under its Global Fragility Strategy, to direct a new peacebuilding effort toward Libya.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & Resilience

Elie Abouaoun on Libya’s Elections

Elie Abouaoun on Libya’s Elections

Friday, December 17, 2021

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

With the vote likely to be postponed, USIP’s Elie Abouaoun says frustrations are high over Libya’s political and economic stagnation as the international community tries to “generate a new political agreement … just to make sure the elections can happen without a major outbreak of violence.”

Type: Podcast

Democracy & Governance

View All