Joshua Levkowitz is a program officer for Iraq at the U.S. Institute of Peace. 

Prior to joining USIP, Levkowitz worked as a research associate at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington D.C. He researched and wrote on the Arab Gulf region’s political economy, infrastructure and youth culture. He has also worked at the National Democratic Institute, the Middle East Institute and the Samir Kassir Center for Media and Cultural Freedom. Levkowitz has past experience as a researcher, teacher and journalist in East Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Colombia. He is proficient in Arabic.   

Levkowitz holds amaster's in conflict management and international economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor's in international relations from Boston University.

Publications By Joshua

Iraq Faces Major Governance Challenges—Can Decentralization Help?

Iraq Faces Major Governance Challenges—Can Decentralization Help?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

By: Joshua Levkowitz; Yousif Kalian

Over the last year Iraq’s economy has been in free fall, leading to a recent decision to devalue its currency, the dinar, by 23 percent. As the country deals with intersecting economic, political and security challenges, a growing chorus is calling for greater control over decision-making at the local level. A critical step in that effort is to ensure that Iraq’s budget is responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities. Absent comprehensive reforms, decentralization efforts on the budget or in other sectors will not address Iraq’s manifold governance woes, but it could be a step in the right direction.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Economics & Environment

In Iraq, Advocates Aim to Reform Education to Build Collective Identity

In Iraq, Advocates Aim to Reform Education to Build Collective Identity

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

By: Joshua Levkowitz; Salah Abdulrahman

Vida Hanna, a director for public relations at Catholic University in Erbil, recalled the first week of her first-grade year when a classmate called her a kafir, or an infidel, upon learning that she was Christian. “He told me I would burn in hell,” said Hanna, a former member of USIP’s Iraq team, still shaken by the experience 22 years ago. Hanna’s experience is a microcosm of the ignorance and negative thinking that exist among segments of Iraqi society, which can exacerbate intercommunal tensions.

Type: Blog

Education & Training; Reconciliation

How Iraqis Can Rebuild Community Relations and Repair Democracy After ISIS

How Iraqis Can Rebuild Community Relations and Repair Democracy After ISIS

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By: Joshua Levkowitz; Lana Khalid

From nationwide anti-government protests, to U.S.-Iran tensions playing out on Iraqi soil, to a protracted government formation crisis, 2020 has been a tough year for Iraq. The pandemic has only deepened the country’s challenges, including distrust of the political class and inter-communal tensions. On top of this, Iraq is experiencing one of its worst economic situations since the country’s formation. Understandably, there is a crisis of confidence. Almost everything ailing Iraq stems from the lack of trust between the government and its citizens. Only by working together as partners can faith be restored. Iraq’s citizens must be given a bigger role in the decision-making process about the future of the country, starting with a say in next year’s budget.

Type: Blog

Democracy & Governance; Reconciliation

These Young Afghans Are Acting Against Corruption

These Young Afghans Are Acting Against Corruption

Thursday, December 14, 2017

By: Joshua Levkowitz

By every available measure, corruption is crippling Afghanistan’s government and fueling the Taliban insurgency. Repeated surveys of Afghans find bribe-taking by officials among the public’s greatest complaints, and the Taliban win popular support by vowing to end such graft. While weak police and judicial systems seem unable to...

Type: In the Field

Youth

Afghan Universities Build a Movement Against Extremism

Afghan Universities Build a Movement Against Extremism

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

By: Joshua Levkowitz

When students at Afghanistan’s Nangarhar University organized a blood drive last fall to protest their country’s civil war, so many donors lined up that the blood bags ran out. “Stop Bloodshed and Donate Blood to Save Lives,” the event declared. On a campus where some students have demonstrated in support of the Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS), the rally against violence became a story on local radio and television, and on social media.

Type: In the Field

Education & Training; Violent Extremism

View All