The Middle East Institute is pleased to welcome Sarah Margon of Human Rights Watch and Nancy Okail of Freedom House for a timely discussion about the implications of Egypt's controversial draft NGO law submitted for vote to the Shura Council last week. The law, which seeks to restrict the funding and operation of non-governmental organizations, is being slammed by human rights groups both inside Egypt and around the world as a blow to the free and full expression of Egyptian civil society. The contentious bill, proposed by President Mohammed Morsi and currently under debate by the country's interim legislature, would allow the state to control NGOs' activities as well as their domestic and international funding. Margon and Okail will examine the legislation and its impact on the functioning of an independent civil society in Egypt.Biographies:Dr. Nancy Okail is the director of Freedom House's Egypt program. Okail has a Ph.D. in international development from the University of Sussex with a focus on the power relations of aid, and is currently a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. She has over 12 years' experience in promoting democracy and development in the MENA region. Dr. Okail worked with the Egyptian government as a senior evaluation officer of foreign aid, and has managed programs for Egyptian pro-democracy organizations that challenged the Mubarak regime. Okail was also one of the defendants in the widely publicized foreign NGO case in Egypt. Sarah Margon is deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch. Prior to joining HRW, Margon was associate director of Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding at the Center for American Progress (CAP), where she researched and wrote on a wide range of issues including human rights, foreign aid, good governance, and global conflicts and crises. Before CAP, Margon served as senior foreign policy advisor to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and as staff director to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. Margon has also worked as a senior policy advisor for Oxfam America and at George Soros' Open Society Institute. A term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, Sarah holds a graduate degree from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University (Connecticut). Kate Seelye is senior vice president of the Middle East Institute, where she oversees MEI's programs and communications. Prior to joining MEI, Seelye worked as a radio and television journalist covering the Arab world from 2000-2009 from her base in Beirut, Lebanon. She reported on the region for NPR, BBC's The World, PBS' Frontline/World and the renowned Channel Four British investigative news series, Unreported World. Prior to that she worked as a producer for the Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS.