Dalia Ziada, LDI Founding Director, is a civil society professional and socio-political analyst; observing liberal democratization, civil-military affairs, and countering violent extremism in the Middle East. Dalia studied international relations, with focus on international security studies, at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (USA).
Areas of expertise:
• Civil-Military relations in Egypt and the Middle East
• Political Islamists and terrorism
• Countering violent extremism and radicalization
• International Security Studies
• Internal political affairs in Egypt
• Regional political and security dynamics in the Middle East
• Liberal democracy, human rights, and women’s rights in the Arab world
• Nonviolent action and strategies
• Civil Society in the Arab world
• United States Foreign Policy in the Middle East
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 Present:
Position: Founding Director
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.
• 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”.