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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 US. Dr. Abouaoun also serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations in the MENA region. 

Publications By Elie

How Iran May Use Iraq to Deflect New U.S. Pressure

How Iran May Use Iraq to Deflect New U.S. Pressure

Friday, February 24, 2017

By: Elie Abouaoun, DDS, GCM

Iraq’s grinding war to dislodge the Islamic State from its last Iraqi strongholds has obscured a simmering — and in some respects equally important — political battle in Baghdad. At stake is Iranian influence in Iraq and how it might be used by Tehran to counter any increased pressure from the new U.S. administration in Washington. The latest maneuvers involve murky motives, foreign influence and multiple leaders of divergent constituencies.

Violent Extremism; Global Policy; Democracy & Governance; Religion

Islamic State and Related Attacks in Lebanon Demand Comprehensive Response

Islamic State and Related Attacks in Lebanon Demand Comprehensive Response

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

By: Elie Abouaoun, DDS, GCM

Attacks by militants in Lebanon backed by an Al-Qaida affiliate and the Islamic State have highlighted again the vulnerability of the country's armed forces to terrorist threats and the political establishment's failure to reach agreement on a military strategy to confront terrorism. The solution will require much more than addressing the shortcomings of the military. Political leaders must address the underlying factors that contribute to the ability of extremists to make inroads and recruit on Lebanese soil.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Iraq: Islamic Militants, Breakup and Other Tough Questions on Twitter

Iraq: Islamic Militants, Breakup and Other Tough Questions on Twitter

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

By: Steven Ruder; Elie Abouaoun, DDS, GCM; Khitam Al-Khaykanee; Manal Omar; Raya Barazanji; Sarhang Hamasaeed

Will Iraq’s current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defy efforts to replace him? Will it break apart into several separate states? Should its neighbors do more to challenge the militants rampaging across the border with Syria? And are we giving this group legitimacy by acceeding every time their leaders change the organization's name -- "Islamic State" or their earlier moniker, "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"?

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Iraq Crisis: Will Politics Deliver More After Military Response This Time?

Iraq Crisis: Will Politics Deliver More After Military Response This Time?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

By: Elie Abouaoun, DDS, GCM

Just six months ago, I was having a traditional Iraqi dinner with a friend in a building overlooking the Tigris River. But this was no ordinary Iraqi, and our surroundings were hardly luxurious. My friend is a senior Iraqi intelligence officer and a close aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the setting was his bunker-like office in a heavily guarded military compound in Baghdad. Security threats left us no choice.

Religion; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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