Dalia Ziada is an Egyptian award-winning writer and political analyst, specializing in governance, geopolitics, and defense policy in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Dalia studied international relations, with a focus on international security studies, at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (U.S.).
In 2015, Dalia co-founded the Liberal Democracy Institute (LDI), which she currently chairs besides working as the Executive Director of MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies (MEEM). In addition, she serves as a board member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Egypt's National Council for Women.
In the past, Dalia served as the Executive Director of the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, and as the Regional Director in MENA for the Washington-based American Islamic Congress (AIC).
Dalia, regularly, contributes pieces of analysis to prominent regional and international publications (in English, Arabic, and Turkish) on issues related to geopolitics, defense policy, and governance in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Africa.
She authored “The Curious Case of the Three-Legged Wolf - Egypt: Military, Islamism, and Liberal Democracy” (2019) and other internationally acclaimed books (dating back to 2006) on political transformations, political movements, and civil rights in the Middle East.
Dalia’s next book project, "The Coalition of Odds" explores the reshuffling of power coalitions in the greater Middle East and their rising influence on the historical and renewed conflicts between modern-day world superpowers.
Areas of expertise:
Defense Policy and Civil-Military Relations in the Middle East.
Theory and Application of Nonviolent Action and Strategies, Social Movements, and Democratization in Arab Spring Countries.
The United States Foreign Policy in the Middle East.
Turkey’s 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 a think tank, based in Cairo, Egypt, (founded in 2015) dedicated to studying political transformations in the Middle East, with a focus on liberalism, democratization, political Islamism, and the role of military institutions in shaping public policy.
December 2021 to Present:
Position: Executive Director
Organization: Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies (MEEM)
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Details: MEEM Center is the premier 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.
Board Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the National Council of Women in Egypt.
Expert on Egypt and Turkey affairs at The Council for Mediterranean Diplomacy (Diplomeds) in The Netherlands.
Contributing writer (geopolitics and military policy analyst) at several regional and international publications.
December 2014 to October 2021:
Founder and Director of the Liberal Democracy Institute (LDI)
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 the 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 several 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:
“The Curious Case of the Three-Legged Wolf - Egypt: Military, Islamism, and Liberal Democracy”; Liberal Democracy Institute 2019
“Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements”; Syracuse University Press 2018
“The Status of Civil Society and Democratization in the Arab World”; Ibn Khaldun Center 2012
“Modern Narrative for Muslim Women in the Middle East”; American Islamic Congress 2010
“Lam Alef” a collection of poetry in Arabic; Maktoub Publishing 2009
“Civil Rights and The Montgomery Story” Comic Book in Arabic; AIC-Egypt 2008
“Egypt, whereto? The Future of Democratic Reform”; Tharwa Foundation 2008
“Implacable Adversaries: Arab Governments and The Internet"; Arab Network for Human Rights 2006
Papers, 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 universities and institutions, worldwide, including Capitol Hill, Harvard University, the European Parliament, the United Nations, the US State Department, the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum, Woodrow Wilson Center, Freedom House, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the National Defense University the American University, the American University in Cairo, Al-Akhawyn University in Morocco, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Allegheny College, 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 the world’s “most influential” and most “fearless women,” consecutively.
Named by CNN as one of the Arab world’s “eight agents of change” (2012),
Selected by The Daily Beast as one of the 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 struggle for liberal democratization in Egypt, as a civil rights activist, is 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”.