Dr. Elie Abouaoun is currently the director of the Middle East & North Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has served as director of Middle East Programs and senior program officer since 2013. Prior to that, he held the position of executive director at the Arab Human Rights Fund.

His previous positions include acting country director and program manager for the Danish Refugee Council in Iraq, as well as program coordinator for Ockenden International-Iraq and director of external relations for the Lebanese NGO arcenciel.

Dr. Abouaoun has served as a senior trainer and consultant for various international organizations since 1996 including for 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 further supervised the adaptation and the translation of COMPASS into Arabic, and its subsequent diffusion in the Arab region in 2003.

He 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, and regularly contributes to publications throughout the MENA and the U.S. Dr. Abouaoun also serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations in the MENA region.

Publications By Elie

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

Will 'Array of Wars' Persist in Iraq and Syria After ISIS?

Will 'Array of Wars' Persist in Iraq and Syria After ISIS?

Friday, June 30, 2017

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Mona Yacoubian ; Robin Wright

The prospect of wresting the last territorial strongholds from the self-styled Islamic State extremist group—within weeks in Iraq and possibly within months in Syria—lends urgency to the question of how to address the lingering swirl of internal, regional and global conflicts. In a discussion today on Facebook Live, USIP Middle East and North Africa Director Elie Abouaoun, Distinguished Scholar Robin Wright and Senior Policy Scholar Mona Yacoubian explored the multiple factors...

Fragility & Resilience; Democracy & Governance; Violent Extremism

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