Foundation to Host Middle East Lecture

Middle East expert Mona Yacoubian will discuss the current state of affairs in the Middle East on Oct. 2 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Pogue Auditorium.  The public is invited to attend.  There is no charge.

Titled “Keeping the ‘Arab Spring’ Alive: Important Insights for Supporting the Arab Transitions,” her lecture will include a recap of the Pathways to Progress project she directs for the Stimson Center and the Marshall Foundation.  The Pathways project held its first international conference in Tunis in June to bring together business and government leaders in north Africa to address “Economic Integration in the Maghreb” using key tenets of the Marshall Plan as a focal point for discussing regional economic issues.

A reception in the recently refurbished and refurnished Marshall Library will follow Yacoubian’s lecture.  Call or write Leigh McFaddin at (540) 463-7103 or by Sept. 26 with acceptances.

Before joining the Stimson Center staff in Washington to direct Pathways to Progress, Yacoubian served as a senior program officer for the Middle East at the United States Institute of Peace’s (USIP) Center for Conflict Management, where she provided analysis and policy advice on the Middle East and North Africa.  She directed USIP’s Lebanon Working Group and also contributed to USIP’s ongoing work on Syria and the Arab Spring.

Yacoubian has worked on a broad range of issues in the region, including democratization and civil society promotion as well as counterterrorism strategy.  She has consulted for a number of organizations, including the World Bank, the Department of State, RAND Corporation, and Freedom House.  From 1990 to 1997, she served as the North Africa analyst in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, where she focused on the crisis in Algeria.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), she is a frequent commentator on leading US and international news outlets.  She was a Fulbright scholar in Syria and an international affairs fellow at CFR, where she published a monograph titled “Algeria’s Struggle for Democracy.”  Yacoubian earned a B.A. in public policy from Duke University and a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The recent Arab uprisings marked the beginning of a major transformation in the Arab world.  The region’s tumultuous transitions are marked by a shifting political landscape, significant economic challenges, and evolving security threats.  These momentous developments elevate the importance of understanding of the complex dynamics propelling the change as well as innovative policy solutions to the daunting challenges.