The Policy Initiative - Team

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    • Sami Atallah

      Founding Director

      Dr. Sami Atallah is the Founding Director of The Policy Initiative. He is trained in economics and political science, and was the director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies from January 2011 till December 2020. He led several policy studies on political and social sectarianism, the performance of parliament, government monitoring, electoral behavior, the role of municipalities in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis, municipal finance, economic diversification and industrial policy, and oil and gas governance. He has several policy and academic publications. He is the editor of Towards Achieving a Transparent and Accountable National Budget in Lebanon (Beirut: LCPS 2013), co-editor of Local Governments and Public Goods: Assessing Decentralization in the Arab World (with Mona Harb, Beirut: LCPS 2015), co-editor of Hollowing out the Lebanese Parliament (2009-2017) (with Nayla Geagea, Beirut: LCPS 2018), and co-editor of The Future of Oil in Lebanon: Energy, Politics, and Economic Growth (with Bassam Fattouh, I.B. Tauris 2020). In addition to his research, Atallah served on the committee established by the Lebanese prime minister to draft a decentralization law and participated in the deliberations of the parliamentary committee which reviewed the draft law. He holds an MA in International and Development Economics from Yale University, an MA in Quantitative Methods from Columbia University, and a PhD in Politics from New York University.


    • Hussein Cheaito

      Development Economist

      Hussein Cheaito is a Development Economist at The Policy Initiative. His research interests include microeconometrics, queer and gender economics, development economics and fiscal federalism. His research focuses on local economic development in Lebanon, and involves leading on the design of a regional firm-level survey, and examining local public finance and the economic contribution of remittances. Hussein is also a Nonresident Fellow at The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

      Before joining TPI, Hussein worked on different research projects focusing on local economic development, decentralization, aid, and inequality. He also acted as the Managing Editor of Beirut Today and currently serves as an editorial board member. He recently completed his MSc in Development Economics at the University of Sussex as a joint Chevening, Saïd Foundation, and British-Lebanese Association scholar. In his thesis, he investigated the effect of expenditure and revenue decentralization on infant mortality by employing data from over 20 OECD countries. He has a BA in Economics with a minor in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut.

    • Georgia Dagher

      Political Researcher and Data Analyst
      Georgia Dagher is a Political Researcher and Data Analyst at The Policy Initiative. Her research focuses on elections, political behavior in Lebanon and among the Lebanese diaspora, and local economic development. Her interests include elections, political representation, political economy, and research methods. Prior to joining TPI, Georgia was a researcher at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies where she led a project on the 2018 Lebanese parliamentary elections, electoral behavior in Lebanon, and women candidates and emerging political groups. Georgia has contributed to work on international donors conferences, most notably Paris IV (CEDRE), and the Lebanese government’s reform program and its investment plan for infrastructure development. Georgia graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA in Politics with Quantitative Methods.
    • Carol Abi Ghanem

      Social Psychologist and Research Manager
      Carol Abi Ghanem is a Social Psychologist and Research Manager at The Policy Initiative. Her main focus at TPI is social protection of vulnerable communities, strengthening the capacities of local communities, harvesting alternative narratives and leading participatory research projects and policy interventions. Previously, Carol was a research manager and communication specialist at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, looking at youth identities, politics and economic navigation, alongside working on social justice issues, community development and political mobilization. Moreover, Carol has years of experience in intersectional feminist advocacy, women’s rights movements and community mobilization. Carol is a holder of an MA in Social and Political Psychology from the American University of Beirut.
    • Nadim El Kak

      Political Sociologist

      Nadim El Kak is a Political Sociologist at The Policy Initiative. He leads research projects on Lebanon's growing landscape of anti-establishment actors, with an aim to make empirical knowledge on political alternatives publicly available and more nuanced. Previously, Nadim worked at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, where he studied sectarian politics, the 2018 parliamentary elections, collective actions, and alternative political groups.
      He also helped found the Alternative Frequencies podcast, which he co-hosted and produced. Since 2019, Nadim's work has been published in the New Middle Eastern Studies journal as well as by Jadaliyya, openDemocracy, The Public Source, Arab Reform Initiative, FES-Lebanon, and the Asfari Institute amongst others. He’s also the author of a book chapter on Lebanon's alternative labor movement in a forthcoming edited volume titled “The Lebanon Uprising of 2019: Voices from the Revolution” to be published by I.B. Tauris and Bloomsbury. Nadim holds a double BA in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from Amherst College and is completing his MA in Sociology at the American University of Beirut. His academic research focuses on the interplay between (counter)revolutions, neoliberal rationality, and radical political imaginaries.

    • Hind Khaled

      Strategic Communication and Advocacy lead
      Hind Khaled is the Strategic Communication and Advocacy lead at The Policy Initiative. She aims to support the effective dissemination of the critical research content produced by TPI to strengthen public policy debates and advocate for evidence-based decision-making in a way that is accessible, intelligible, and suitable for Lebanese policymakers and civil society actors. Previously, her work focused on socio-political communication, editorial strategies, cross-cultural communication, and crisis and corporate communication. Hind also worked in multiple local and regional news outlets, consulted for UN agencies, notably UN-ESCWA, and headed social and political advertising campaigns for governmental and non-governmental entities in Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Oman. She produced extended news packages for the coverage of presidential and parliamentary elections held between 2014 and 2019 in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, France, and the United States. Hind is trained in Communication Design at the City University of New York and has been providing pro-bono communication and advocacy support for activist groups in Lebanon since 2005.
    • Tala Ladki

      Social Media Expert
      Tala Ladki is the Social Media Expert at The Policy Initiative. She aims to help with the production and the proper dissemination of content in the digital sphere, targeting TPI's key online audience. Coming from a background of Media and Communications, Tala has worked with and consulted for different clients, including some NGOs such as World Learning and Amnesty International, with a focus on social media strategizing, implementation, and paid marketing for online growth. Tala also heads the marketing department at a local production venture that focuses on partnering with NGOs to produce awareness campaigns on a range of topics in the region. She holds a BA in Media and Communications from the American University of Beirut and hopes to continue her graduate studies abroad.
    • Mounir Mahmalat

      Senior Researcher
      Dr. Mounir Mahmalat is a Senior Researcher at The Policy Initiative. His research focuses on the political economy of reform, conflict, and development. He also consults for the World Bank in the Fragility, Conflict and Violence group. His previous experiences include positions at the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA) and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. He was a research fellow at the American University of Beirut and Harvard University and holds a PhD in Political Economy from Dublin City University.
    • Wassim Maktabi

      Economist and Researcher
      Wassim Maktabi is an Economist and Researcher at The Policy Initiative. His research interests include political economy, development economics, and public finance. He is currently working on projects focused on Lebanon’s financial crisis, the pandemic, and public procurement. Previously, Wassim was a researcher at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies where he mapped the legislative production of the government and parliament and co-authored the Government Monitor series. He also contributed to the conceptualization of a coding methodology to monitor the attention of policymakers, culminating in an automated legislation tracker. Wassim volunteered as a data officer at Open Map Lebanon and holds a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut.
    • Ibrahim Mantoufi

      Senior Art Director and Producer
      Ibrahim Mantoufi is a Senior Art Director and Producer at The Policy Initiative. His work centers around translating data and written research into visual and digital content to be used on different dissemination platforms. He has an extensive design repertoire working with different multinational agencies, specializing his work in marketing and advertising and holds a BA in Graphic Design from the Lebanese University, and an MA in Design from the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
    • Cynthia Saghir

      Socio-Economic Researcher
      Cynthia Saghir is a Socio-Economic Researcher at The Policy Initiative. She has professional experience in qualitative, quantitative, and desk-research concerning human and socio-economic development, demographic and labor market dynamics, building livelihoods, social protection, international law, refugee rights, and migration. Previous to TPI, Cynthia has worked on a variety of different projects, ranging from labor market and protection-based assessment, to agricultural development and remittances, with an array of organizations and institutions including the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese Economic Association, UN-ESCWA, Dar al Handasah, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Security and Development Center, and the OECD. She has a BA in Political Studies from the American University of Beirut, and an MA in Human Rights Law from SOAS, University of London.
    • Suzan Massaad Sfeir

      Project and Administrative Assistant
      Suzan Massaad Sfeir is the Project and Administrative Assistant at The Policy Initiative. Her work focuses on all the administrative work, including updating the website and disseminating all publications. She is also in charge of conferences, coordinating with participants, and works closely with the accounting department. Suzan previously worked at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies as the center’s project and administrative assistant, and at the Middle East publications as executive secretary. She holds an executive secretary degree from the Young Women Christian Association.
    • Sami Zoughaib

      Economist and Research Manager

      Sami Zoughaib is an Economist and Research Manager at The Policy Initiative. His research focuses on Lebanon's political economy, governance structures, macroeconomics, and local economic development. In addition to managing the research team, he also coordinates and conceptualizes TPI's research projects. 
      Prior to joining TPI, Sami was a researcher at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, where he led and worked on several projects related to international donor conferences, parliamentary elections, and monitoring legislative production and reform. In addition to his affiliate platforms, Sami's research has been published in Governance, Economic Research Forum, openDemocracy, L'Orient-Le Jour, L'Orient Today, Annahar, and Al-Akhbar. 
      Sami holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Reading and a B.A. in Economics from the American University of Beirut.

    • Najib Zoughaib

      Data Officer and Junior Researcher

      Najib Zoghaib is a Data Officer and Junior Researcher at The Policy Initiative. He currently works on projects related to the Lebanese parliamentary elections, the financial crisis, and the responses following the Beirut port blast. He supports the research team with data collection, analysis, and visualization. Najib holds a B.S in Banking and Finance and a minor in Data Analytics from the Lebanese American University. 

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