Dalia Ziada is an Egyptian award-winning writer and human rights activist.
Dalia is the author of "The Curious Case of the Three-Legged Wolf - Egypt: Military, Islamism, and Liberal Democracy" (2019) and other internationally acclaimed books on Middle East politics.
On a daily basis, Dalia works as the Chairperson of the Liberal Democracy Institute and the Executive Director of MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies. In addition, Dalia serves as Board Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee at Egypt's National Council for Women.
Dalia, regularly, contributes pieces of analysis to prominent regional and international publications (in Arabic, English, and Turkish) on issues related to geopolitics and defense policy in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Africa.
Dalia studied international relations, with focus on international security studies, at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (the United States).
Areas of expertise:
• Defense Policy and Civil-Military relations in the Middle East.
• Human rights, civil society, and democratization in Arab Spring countries.
• Political Islamists and Islamic terrorist organizations.
• Nonviolent actions and strategies.
• United States Foreign Policy in the Middle East
• Turkey foreign policy in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Africa
Detailed Professional Record:
December 2021 to Present:
Organization: Liberal Democracy Institute
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Details: The Liberal Democracy Institute (LDI), is think tank studying, promoting and advising policymakers in the Middle East and interested stakeholders in Europe and the United States on issues related to human rights and liberal democratization, countering violent extremism and political Islamism, civil-military relations, and the non-traditional roles of military in politics.
December 2021 to Present:
Position: Executive Director
Organization: MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Details: MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies is the first think tank to be fully dedicated to studying the evolving relationship between the countries of the neighboring geopolitical regions of the Middle East and the Mediterranean; with a special focus on political, economic, and military affairs.
September 2019 to Present:
Position: Political and Military Analyst
Location: London, Ankara, Beirut, Cairo
Details: Writing pieces of analysis in Arabic, English, and Turkish on politics, geopolitics, and military strategy in the Middle East and North Africa region.
March 2016 to Present:
Position: Board Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Organization: The National Council for Women
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Details: The National Council for Women (NCW) is an Egyptian governmental organization working under the direct supervision of the President of the State, with the purpose to empower women and improve women’s rights in Egypt. The Foreign Affairs Committee at NCW is primarily responsible for creating and improving Egypt’s relations with governmental and non-governmental organizations worldwide, working on topics related to women’s rights.
• December 2014 to October 2021:
Founding Director of Liberal Democracy Institute (based in Cairo, Egypt); leading think tank studying liberal democratization, political Islamist movements, and civil-military relations in Arab Spring countries.
• April 2015 to September 2015:
Column writer on international affairs at Almasry Alyoum; one of Egypt’s top independent daily newspapers.
• April 2012 to November 2014:
Executive Director of Ibn Khaldun Center for Democratic Studies (IKC) (based in Cairo, Egypt); the oldest think tank in the Arab world working on civil society and democratization since 1980s.
• June 2007 to March 2012:
Regional Director in MENA for The American Islamic Congress (AIC) (based in Washington, DC). AIC is a non-religious, civil society organization that provides an alternative Muslim voice for the promotion of civil and human rights through advocacy, engagement, and education.
• Between 2006 and 2008:
Dalia worked as an assistant researcher and translator on research projects covering human rights, women's rights, democratization, and politics in the Middle East, with a number of local and international non-governmental organizations, based in Cairo and Washington, DC.
Dalia authored, co-authored, and translated several books related to liberal democratization, civil-military affairs, and political Islamism in Egypt and the Middle East. Including:
o "The Curious Case of the Three-Legged Wolf - Egypt: Military, Islamism, and Liberal Democracy"; Liberal Democracy Institute 2019
o “Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements”; Syracuse University Press 2018
o “The Status quo of Civil Society and Democratization in the Arab World”; Ibn Khaldun Center 2012
o “Modern Narrative for Muslim Women in the Middle East”; American Islamic Congress 2010
o "Lam Alef" a collection of poetry in Arabic; Maktoub Publishing 2009
o “Civil Rights and The Montgomery Story” Comic Book in Arabic; AIC-Egypt 2008
o “Egypt, Whereto? The Future of Democratic Reform"; Tharwa Foundation 2008
o “Implacable Adversaries: Arab Governments and The Internet"; Arab Network for Human Rights 2006
Essays and articles:
• Since 2006: running an award-winning bi-lingual blog commenting on issues related to human rights, civil freedom, civil-military affairs, and international relations. In 2010, Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Dalia Zaida with its Euro-Mediterranean Journalist Award for her blog.
• Dalia wrote several opinion editorials and essays that were published at prestigious news outlets and think tanks, including Al-AKhbar, The National, The Washington Post, The Herald Tribune, CNN, and Jerusalem Post.
Lecturing and public speaking:
Dalia has been hosted as a lecturer or public speaker on Middle East affairs at notable institutions, worldwide, including: The Capitol Hill, Harvard University, The European Parliament, The United Nations, the National Defense University, US State Department, The American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum, The American University, The American University in Cairo, Al-Akhawyn University in Morocco, The Woodrow Wilson Center, Freedom House, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Allegheny University, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and others.
Awards and Honors:
• Received “The Distinguished Alumni Award” by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (2014),
• Selected by The Diplomatic Courier as one of the “99 Foreign Policy Leaders under 33 years old” (2013),
• Named by Newsweek for two years in a row (2011-2012) as one of world’s “most influential” and most “fearless women,” consecutively.
• Named by CNN as one of Arab world’s “eight agents of change” (2012),
• Selected by The Daily Beast as one of world’s 17 bravest bloggers (2011),
• Received Tufts University’s Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service (2011),
• Received Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Journalist Award for her blog (2010).
In addition, Dalia’s story and struggle for liberal democracy in Egypt was profiled in best-selling books in the United States; for example:
- Robin Wright’s “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World”; and
- Lily Eskelsen Garcia’s “Rabble Rousers: Fearless Fighters for Social Justice”.