Negar Ashtari Abay is a program officer for the Gender Policy and Strategy team in USIP’s Policy, Learning and Strategy Center. In this role, she conducts research, develops tools and facilitates trainings on gender inclusion in peacebuilding. She also serves as a project design specialist providing technical assistance to programs across the Institute on integrating gender analysis in project design, monitoring and evaluation.
Dr. Abay’s previous experience includes working for the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs, where she served as the representative for gender equality and the economic justice discourse officer. In this role, she was an active member and an executive committee vice-chair for the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. Dr. Abay has also worked on girls’ education with the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, on the role of religion and science in advancing gender equality with the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity, on women’s rights, public health and preventing violent extremism with the Nigerian development Policy Research Center, and on U.S. gender-based immigration policy and legal services for immigrant women at the Tahirih Justice Center.
Dr. Abay's research interests encompass understanding how gender dynamics, including constructions of masculinity, shift during and after violent conflict and the role of civil society in advancing gender equality in peacebuilding. She has authored articles on the intersection of gender with religion, environmental security, social change, and education. She holds a doctorate in international education policy with a specialization in gender for which she was granted a Fulbright award to conduct dissertation research in Ethiopia. She also holds a master’s in economic geography from the University of California, Berkeley and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in human geography from Middlebury College.