Michele Dunne

Senior Associate
Middle East Program
Dunne is an expert on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as U.S. policy in the Middle East.


Ph.D., M.A., B.S., Georgetown University


Arabic; English


Michele Dunne is a senior associate in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where her research focuses on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as U.S. policy in the Middle East. She was the founding director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council from 2011 to 2013 and was a senior associate and editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 2006 to 2011. 

Dunne was a Middle East specialist at the U.S. Department of State from 1986 to 2003, where she served in assignments that included the National Security Staff, the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff, the U.S. embassy in Cairo, the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. She also served as a visiting professor of Arabic language and Arab studies at Georgetown from 2003 to 2006.  

  • Other Publications Weekly Wonk April 10, 2014
    Aid to Egypt: Black Hole or Black Gold?

    Continued repression threatens to lead Egypt into a dark tunnel of insurgency and instability. The United States must implement aid policies that make accountability to one’s citizens a key condition to receive U.S. aid.

  • Sada Discussion Threads April 3, 2014 عربي
    Foreign Policy Shaped by Donors

    Cairo will not be able to stray far from policy lines delineated by Riyadh while this high level of economic dependence continues.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs April 2, 2014
    Egypt’s Judges Join In

    The institutions of the Egyptian state that used to command respect because they were seen as being above the political fray—the judiciary as well as the army—now seem to be very willing participants in the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • Article March 26, 2014 عربي
    Five Questions for Sisi, Egypt’s Man of Mystery

    Egyptians know very little about the man who will likely be their next president—including whether he can untangle the knot of problems ensnaring the country.

  • Article March 25, 2014 عربي
    Egypt’s Unprecedented Instability by the Numbers

    Egypt is far more violent and unstable than it has been in decades. With government repression driving a cycle of political violence, a different approach is needed.

  • Article February 13, 2014 عربي
    The Egypt Effect: Sharpened Tensions, Reshuffled Alliances

    Throughout the Middle East, the overthrow of Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has heightened Islamist-secularist tensions and pushed actors toward zero-sum politics.

  • Op-Ed Council on Foreign Relations January 30, 2014
    The U.S. Dilemma in Egypt

    The United States is worried that Egypt is going down a path of persistent instability and that the crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood is going to fuel Islamist extremism and terrorism in Egypt and throughout the region.

  • Op-Ed Washington Post January 23, 2014
    Egypt’s Evolving Governance is No ‘Democratic Transition’

    Washington must not pretend that some empty imitations of democratic processes, such as the recent referendum, constitute a meaningful return to the path toward “bread, freedom and social justice” that Egyptians rightfully demanded in 2011.

  • Article January 9, 2014 عربي
    Legitimizing an Undemocratic Process in Egypt

    There is a real danger that international observers monitoring Egypt’s constitutional referendum will lend legitimacy to a flawed and undemocratic process.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy December 23, 2013
    Whatever Happened to the Forum for the Future

    It is time for the United States to abandon its involvement in G8’s “Forum for the Future” and redirect its efforts toward designing a more constructive regional platform for direct dialogue with Arab civil society.

  • Morning Briefing with Tim Farley April 9, 2014
    Egypt's Crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood

    The Egyptian government’s recent moves against the Muslim Brotherhood may seem like a repeat of historical patterns but in reverse. Egypt is experiencing violence akin to its darkest periods.

  • PBS NewsHour March 25, 2014
    Dissent in Egypt Persists Despite Government’s Mass Trials, Death Sentences

    There have been a series of steps that have attempted to close down dissent in Egypt, but protests continue.

  • Council on Foreign Relations December 17, 2013
    Egypt’s Turbulent Transition

    Restoring the kind of stability that would allow the Egyptian government to make clear economic decisions is going to require not just a government in control, but also a government that has a lot more consensus.

  • PBS Newshour June 17, 2011
    Could Saudi Women's Driving Protest Usher in Social Reforms?

    The protests by several Saudi Arabian women against the ban on female drivers could help usher in a number of social reforms in the kingdom.

  • NPR's All Things Considered May 31, 2011
    The Rise of Islamist Parties in Tunisia and Egypt

    Islamist parties in Egypt and Tunisia are emerging as powerful political players in each country’s transition. Upcoming elections in both countries and the performance of Islamist parties once they are in office will determine their future role in formal politics.

  • PBS NewsHour May 25, 2011
    How Will Mubarak's Trial Shape Egypt's Transition?

    The prosecution of deposed President Hosni Mubarak demonstrates how Egypt is caught between a revolution, with protesters determined to tear down the old regime, and a political transition based around elections.

  • NPR's On Point May 23, 2011
    The United States, the Arab Spring, and Mideast Peace

    The United States must engage in a careful balancing act to maintain both its expressed commitment to Arab democracy and its commitment to its relationship with Israel.

  • CNN International May 19, 2011
    President Obama's Speech and Middle East Policy

    While President Obama’s speech on the Middle East expressed support for the dramatic changes going on in the region and compared those changes with the U.S. experience of nonviolent civil disobedience, it did not set out any bold policy shifts.

  • Charlie Rose Show May 18, 2011
    The Arab Spring and Palestine

    The Arab Spring has initiated a wave of change that will affect every aspect of society in the Middle East, including the Israel-Palestinian conflict and Egypt's influence in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Diane Rehm Show April 26, 2011
    Political Turmoil in the North Africa and the Middle East

    As protests continue throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the international community is seeking to curb the increasing violence in Syria, continue military engagement in Libya, and convince Yemen’s President Saleh to step down.

  • May 18, 2011 Washington, D.C.
    Egypt's Transition and the Challenge of Security Sector Reform

    After the dismantling of the Mubarak regime’s State Security Investigations apparatus, questions remain about how the new National Security sector will differ from its predecessor and what security sector reforms will be implemented.

  • May 9, 2011 Washington, D.C.
    The Economic and Political Outlook for the Middle East in Turmoil

    The Middle East and North Africa have seen more change in the last three months than in the previous fifty years and the current turmoil will have far-reaching and, in the short-run, adverse economic implications both within the region and beyond.

  • February 16, 2011 Washington, D.C. عربي
    After Mubarak

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down, handing authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. What can be expected from the country’s new military rulers and what does this signal for the rest of the Arab world?

  • February 3, 2011 Washington, D.C. عربي
    Egypt on the Brink

    As protests in Egypt escalate into a full-fledged uprising that threatens to unravel Egypt's existing political order, President Mubarak's announcement that he will not run for president again in September does not seem to be enough to appease the protesters and end the protests.

  • January 31, 2011 Washington, D.C. عربي Français
    From Tunisia to Egypt: Protests in the Arab World

    Protests in Tunisia that pushed President Ben Ali to flee the country have sparked mass protests in the region, spreading to Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen. The protests in Egypt are growing and unlike anything seen in decades. Will Tunisia remain an isolated case or the beginning of a wave of change?

  • November 18, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Egypt's Political Future: The Parliamentary Elections and Beyond

    As voters prepare to head to the polls for parliamentary elections on November 28, the Egyptian government has tightened restrictions on independent media and civil society and has already disqualified one-quarter of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidates.

  • October 19, 2010 Washington, D.C. عربي
    Egypt’s Upcoming Elections: Boycotts, Campaigns, and Monitors

    As Egypt moves toward parliamentary elections on November 28, political parties are debating whether to participate in the process or to boycott, while the ruling party struggles to manage competition within its own ranks and opposition groups face restrictions on their ability to campaign.

  • August 30, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Palestinian-Israeli Direct Talks and Egypt

    In advance of President Obama's meetings with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II and the Palestinian–Israeli direct talks, Carnegie experts previewed expectations for the talks and discussed Mubarak’s visit as the country approaches critical parliamentary elections this fall.

  • June 30, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Human Rights and Obama’s Policies in the Arab World

    A year after President Obama called for a new beginning in U.S. relations with the Muslim world, it is still unclear how important human rights are for Washington’s policies in the Arab world. Is it possible for the U.S. to engage with governments in the region and consistently defend human rights?

  • June 7, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Can the Peace Process be Saved?

    Israel’s raid on a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships bound for Gaza, which reportedly left at least nine people dead, drew condemnation from international leaders and leaves prospects for Israeli-Palestinian talks even more dismal.

Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=236
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