In the wake of Egyptian presidential elections, scholars Steven A. Cook (Council on Foreign Relations), Mohamed Elmenshawy (The Middle East Institute), Amy Hawthorne (Atlantic Council), Gamal Helal (Helal Enterprises, LLC), and Emad Shahin (The Woodrow Wilson Center, American University in Cairo) will discuss the circumstances and outcome of the presidential vote. What do the levels of participation and the poll results indicate about the state of the Egyptian electorate? What do they indicate about the size and nature of the mandate received by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi? How should they impact the incoming president's priorities moving forward? How can a divided Egyptian electorate be re-engaged politically? How might recent developments affect the platforms and priorities for parties and candidates in parliamentary elections expected for this fall? The Middle East Institute's Vice President for Policy and Research Paul Salem will lead the discussion.
Steven A. Cook is Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Dr. Cook is the author of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square (Oxford University Press, 2011), which won the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's gold medal for best book on the Middle East in 2012, and Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (2001–2002) and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1995–96).
Mohamed Elmenshawy is a resident scholar and director of the languages and regional studies program at The Middle East Institute. He writes a weekly column for Egyptian daily Al Shorouk News, and recently delivered a testimony before the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence addressing Egypt's security situation. In August 2009, Elmenshawy was selected to join the U.N. Secretary General's High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations initiative as part of its Rapid Response Media Mechanism. He is a regular commentator on international politics in major international and Arabic television and radio networks. His writing regularly appears in the Huffington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, and other outlets.
Amy Hawthorne is a resident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. She is a Middle East expert with extensive policy, analytical, and practical experience on Arab political reform and democracy promotion. Before joining the Atlantic Council in April 2013, Hawthorne was an appointee at the U.S. Department of State, where she helped to shape and coordinate U.S. support for Egypt's transition and advised on the US response to the Arab Spring. Prior to her government service, Hawthorne was executive director of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, a nongovernmental organization operating in Washington and Istanbul that promotes mutual understanding between the United States and predominantly Muslim countries. She was previously an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she was the founding editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin (now Sada) and analyzed political reform in the Arab world. At the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Hawthorne was senior program officer for the Middle East, managing democracy programs across the Arab world. She has advised numerous organizations on democratic development in the region.
Gamal Helal has served in the U.S. government for 20 years, holding positions as the senior diplomatic interpreter for Presidents George H.W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, as well as for numerous secretaries of state, defense, and national security advisors. He has served as a senior advisor to the State Department on Gulf security, Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, and U.S. bilateral relations with the Arab world. Mr. Helal was the Middle East special coordinator for Arab-Israeli negotiations at the Department of State and also served as a member of President Clinton’s team on Arab-Israeli negotiations. Mr. Helal has received several awards throughout his career, as well as recognition from the State Department and the White House. He was chosen by GQ Magazine in September 2007 as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Washington, D.C. Helal has been interviewed by CNN, BBC, CBS, Al Shark El Awsat Newspaper, Awan Kuwaiti Newspaper, Al Watan Al Arabi Magazine, Atlantic Weekly, as well as other foreign magazines.
Emad Shahin is professor of public policy at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics. He is currently a public policy scholar at Woodrow Wilson Center and a distinguished visiting scholar at Columbia University. His areas of interests include comparative politics, public policy, Islamic law and politics, and democracy and political reform in Muslim societies. Prior to rejoining the AUC faculty in 2012, Shahin was the Henry R. Luce Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (2009-2012). He was visiting associate professor in the department of government at Harvard University (2006-2009), faculty affiliate with the Kennedy School of Government, and visiting scholar in the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School (2006-2007). His publications include Political Ascent: Contemporary Islamic Movements in North Africa; co-editorship with Nathan Brown of The Struggle over Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa; and co-authorship of Islam and Democracy (in Arabic). He is the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics and co-editor with John L. Esposito of The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics.
Paul Salem is vice president for policy and research of the Middle East Institute, where he leads an initiative on Arab transitions. Prior to joining MEI, Salem was the founding director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon between 2006 and 2013, where he built a regional think tank distinguished by the quality of its policy research and high regional profile. From 1999 to 2006, he was director of the Fares Foundation and in 1989 founded and directed the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanon's leading public policy think tank. In 2002, Salem served on the senior review committee for the United Nations Development Program's Arab Human Development Report. Salem writes regularly in the Arab and Western press and has been published in numerous journals and newspapers, including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the National Interest, and the Financial Times. Salem is the author of a number of books and reports on the Middle East, including Broken Orders: The Causes and Consequences of the Arab Uprisings (in Arabic, 2013); "Iraq's Tangled Foreign Relations" (2013), "Libya's Troubled Transition" (2012), "Can Lebanon Survive the Syrian Crisis?" (2012); and "The Arab State: Assisting or Obstructing Development" (2010).