Dr. Elie Abouaoun

Director, Middle East and North Africa Programs


Dr. Elie Abouaoun is the director of Middle East and North Africa Programs, based in USIP's Regional Hub in Tunis, Tunisia. Dr. Abouaoun joined USIP after serving as the executive director of the Arab Human Rights Fund. Prior to this, he was the acting country director and program manager of the Danish Refugee Council in Iraq. Dr. Abouaoun spent time working as the program coordinator for Ockenden International – Iraq, and before this, within the Lebanese NGO Arcenciel, as the director of external relations.

Dr. Abouaoun served as a senior trainer and consultant for various international organizations since 1996, including 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 later supervised the manual's adaptation and translation into Arabic to be distributed throughout the Arab region in 2003.

Dr. Abouaoun is a visiting lecturer at Saint Joseph University-Lebanon on the subjects of human rights, civil society, advocacy, and citizenship. In addition to being an international fellow of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, he joined the Religion and Security Council as a senior nonresident fellow in the fall of 2020 and regularly contributes to publications throughout the MENA region and the United States, while also serving on the board of directors for several regional organizations.

Dr. Abouaoun holds a master’s in business administration and management and is a doctor of dental surgery.