Patricia Karam is currently Senior Policy Advisor on Iran at Freedom House, where she plays a leading role in crafting its policy agenda and advocacy strategy for promoting democracy and human rights in Iran. She also serves as Senior Advisor to the American Task For Lebanon, where she supports strategic/policy engagement and business development, and is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Center Washington, DC. She was, most recently, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Director at the International Republican Institute (IRI), where she oversaw a multi-million-dollar portfolio of programs focused on citizen-responsive governance, political party development, legislative strengthening, and civil society strengthening in the Levant, Afghanistan, the Gulf, and North Africa. Prior to that, as MENA director at the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Karam was responsible for research, advocacy, grant-making, and technical assistance projects aimed at improving natural resource governance, administered through country offices she established in Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, and Libya. Before that, as deputy director at the International Center for Transitional Justice, Karam oversaw educational transitional justice programs in three languages in Spain, Morocco, and South Africa, and spearheaded the expansion of a Documentation Affinity Group, a global network of action-oriented grassroots human rights documentation-focused groups. 

Karam also held, in her career, a combination of senior management, fundraising, and grants-making roles at the US Institute of Peace, the Iraq Foundation, and the Iraq Embassy in Washington, DC, as well as New York University’s Trauma Studies Program. Her thematic expertise covers political party development, conflict-mitigation, peace-building and transitions, good governance and anti-corruption, natural resource management, transitional justice and human rights, and gender/women’s rights and empowerment. Karam has published widely on the politics of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, and North Africa, as well as on great power competition, and the dynamics of authoritarianism and conflict in the broader Middle East region. 

Karam holds a dual Political Science/Religious Studies Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Brown University and a Master in Foreign Service Degree (MSFS) degree with an Arab Studies concentration from Georgetown University. Her PhD work at New York University (NYU) revolved around identity politics in the Western Sahara.

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