February 29, 2024
10:00 am - 11:00 am


Zoom Webinar

This event has been postponed from February 23 at 10:00 am EST. The new date is, February 29, 10:00 am - 11:00am EST and the title of the event is: Will Lebanon be a Future Theater of Regional War? You can register using the link above. 

As the violence between Hezbollah and Israel intensifies, our webinar aims to examine whether ongoing U.S. diplomatic efforts can prevent a full-scale war from breaking out. Our expert panel will analyze the framework of U.S. mediation, dissect Hezbollah and Israel's strategic calculations, assess local costs and the role of the Lebanese government, and weigh wider regional implications.



Ronnie Chatah
Host, The Beirut Baynan Podcast and MTV Podcast

Hanin Ghaddar
Friedmann Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Firas Maksad
Director of Strategic Outreach, Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute

Jonathan Panikoff
Director, Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative; Senior Fellow, GeoEconomics Center, Atlantic Council

Fadi Nicholas Nassar (Moderator)
U.S.-Lebanon Fellow, Middle East Institute

Detailed Speaker Biographies

Ronnie Chatah hosts The Beirut Banyan podcast, a storytelling and conversation-driven platform covering all that is modern Lebanese history. He also co-hosts MTV’s English-edition podcast series. He founded the WalkBeirut tour, a narration of Beirut’s rich and troubled past featured in The New York Times & The Wall Street Journal. His recent writings have appeared in NOWLebanon, L’Orient Today, The National, Newlines magazine as well as Middle East Institute. He is also a Global Council member of Lebanon-based political reform initiative Kulluna Irada and a board member of the anti-impunity focused Lokman Slim Foundation.

Hanin Ghaddar is the Friedmann Senior Fellow in The Washington Institute's Linda and Tony Rubin Program on Arab Politics, where she focuses on Shia politics throughout the Levant. The longtime managing editor of Lebanon's NOW news website, Ghaddar shed light on a broad range of cutting-edge issues, from the evolution of Hezbollah inside Lebanon's fractured political system to Iran's growing influence throughout the Middle East. In addition, she has contributed to a number of U.S.-based magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and Foreign Policy. Prior to joining NOW in 2007, Ghaddar wrote for the Lebanese newspapers As-Safir, An-Nahar and Al-Hayat and also worked as a researcher for the United Nations Development Program regional office. A native of Al-Ghazieh, Lebanon, Ghaddar holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and a master's degree in Middle East studies, both from the American University of Beirut. 

Firas Maksad is the Director of Outreach at the Middle East Institute (MEI) and a member of MEI's core leadership team. In addition to his role as Director of Outreach, Firas is also a Senior Fellow at MEI. He is a recognized expert on the politics of Lebanon and Syria, the geopolitics of the Arab Gulf, and the broader dynamics of the Middle East region. Firas is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he teaches graduate courses on the Middle East at the Elliott School for International Affairs. His writings have appeared in top-tier publications such as the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy Magazine, Foreign Affairs, and the Los Angeles Times. Firas frequently offers expert commentary on U.S. politics and the Middle East for global news networks, including BBC, CNN, CNBC, Al Arabiya, and others. Firas holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree, as well as an honors certificate in International Business from Georgetown University. He completed his undergraduate degree in Political Studies at the American University of Beirut.

Jonathan Panikoff is the director of the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Program. A former career US intelligence officer, Panikoff served as the deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East at the National Intelligence Council (NIC) from 2015 to 2020. In this role, he represented the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) at the assistant secretary-level for interagency policy meetings, provided intelligence assessments to senior US policymakers on Middle East issues, and advised the director of national intelligence and ODNI leadership on the region.

Nicholas Nassar is U.S.-Lebanon Fellow at the Middle East Institute and Director of the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution and Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Lebanese American University (LAU). He is also a Research Fellow at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, the oldest Lebanese-based think-tank, and a Fellow at The Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation (SEPAD) project based at Lancaster University's Richardson Institute. His work focuses on international humanitarian and relief interventions in fragile and conflict settings, democratization, and U.S. foreign policy and Middle Eastern politics.

Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu via Getty Images