Michele Dunne

Director and 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 the director and 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 Council, 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.  

  • Op-Ed Wall Street Journal December 16, 2015
    Egypt Now Looks a Lot Like It Did in 2010, Just Before 2011 Unrest

    With the seating of its new parliament, Egypt today shares many disturbing similarities to late 2010 that threaten to take the country into uncharted waters.

  • Journal of Democracy October 23, 2015
    Caught in History’s Crosswinds

    Five years after the start of a wave of protests that rocked the Arab world, Arabs and non-Arabs alike are struggling to comprehend the bitter harvest of the political uprisings.

  • Paper July 30, 2015 عربي Full Text
    Unprecedented Pressures, Uncharted Course for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

    The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition movement and one of its oldest, is squeezed between an unprecedented crackdown from the security state and a young generation pushing for more assertive action against the regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

  • Op-Ed Council on Foreign Relations June 23, 2015
    Washington’s Egypt Dilemma

    Amidst concern over human rights abuses, President Barack Obama’s administration has requested $1.5 billion in foreign aid, almost entirely for military assistance, for Egypt this coming year.

  • Op-Ed World Economic Forum May 23, 2015
    Is Unemployment to Blame for Radicalization?

    Youth unemployment in the Middle East is among the highest in the world but it remains an inadequate explanation for radicalization.

  • Paper April 15, 2015 عربي Full Text
    Egypt’s Nationalists Dominate in a Politics-Free Zone

    Egypt’s political scene has changed radically from the vigorous pluralism that followed the 2011 uprising; in 2015 the Islamist and secular groups that won those elections are excluded or marginalized.

  • Op-Ed Washington Post April 3, 2015
    Obama Embraces the Nixon Doctrine in Egypt

    The idea that Sisi will be an effective ally against Islamic terrorists is misguided. He has, in fact, become one of the jihadists’ most effective recruiting tools.

  • Syria in Crisis March 11, 2015
    Egypt’s Economy: A Mixed Picture, at Best

    On the eve of Egypt’s much-hyped economic conference, the status of the Egyptian economy remains mixed in the context of deteriorating security conditions and a repressive political climate.

  • Syria in Crisis January 16, 2015
    Is Sisi Islam’s Martin Luther?

    Despite his call for a “religious revolution” in Islam, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s gestures fit into a pattern of instrumentalizing religion for political purposes. Religious freedom under Sisi’s presidency may not be worse than it was under Mubarak or Morsi, but it is certainly no better.

  • Syria in Crisis December 29, 2014
    The Middle East in 2015: What to Watch

    Carnegie scholars assess the Middle East in the year ahead, including potential game changers that could have a big impact for the future of the region.

  • BYURadio January 28, 2016
    Egypt Five Years Beyond the Uprising

    Years of unrest in Egypt have possibly left the country in a worse position than it was before the Arab Spring.

  • KSFR’s Here and There With Dave Marash November 5, 2015
    U.S. Allies in the Middle East

    The Arab Spring has shaken traditional allies of the United States across the Middle East not least among them, Egypt.

  • PBS News Hour September 15, 2015
    Accidental Killing of Tourists Highlights Egypt-U.S. Tension Over Military Aid

    The killing of several Mexican tourists has raised questions about the military aid Egypt receives from the United States.

  • Trends June 10, 2015
    The Middle East in 2015

    Since the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East, each year has proven more challenging than the last. With conflicts spreading across the region, 2015 will follow a similar pattern.

  • CCTV America August 19, 2014
    What's Needed For A Long-Term Solution In Gaza?

    With the whole region in a period of change, a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has proven more elusive than in previous times of conflict.

  • Bloomberg TV’s August 13, 2014
    Weighing Rights of Both Sides in Israeli Conflict

    One of the few positive outcomes of the current conflict in Gaza is that the Palestinian Authority may have a chance to play a greater role in Gaza.

  • Bloomberg TV’s Street Smart July 23, 2014
    Can the U.S. Have a Realistic Influence in Gaza?

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has to work through parties who are in direct touch with Hamas, such as the Palestinian Authority and maybe the Qatari government, to work out a ceasefire.

  • NPR’s All Things Considered July 21, 2014
    Can the Egyptian Regime Still Play Peace Broker in Gaza Strife?

    Egypt is a party to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It probably has to be part of the solution. But it can’t play the same kind of brokering role that it played in the past.

  • Bloomberg July 15, 2014
    Can DC Diffuse Tensions Between Israel and Hamas?

    In the past, Egypt has played the leading role in brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the United States played more of a supportive role.

  • CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper July 11, 2014
    Hamas Doesn’t Have Much To Lose

    Engagements with Israel have a contradictory effect of bolstering the credibility of Hamas.

  • May 16, 2016 Washington, DC
    On the New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East

    Less than twenty-four months after the hope-filled Arab uprising, the popular movement had morphed into a dystopia of resurgent dictators, failed states, and civil wars.

  • May 12, 2016 Washington, DC
    Transforming U.S. Policy for a New Middle East

    An examination of the complex consequences of U.S. policy in light of the Arab Spring, the increasing roles played in the region by China and other emerging powers, and the simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • March 24, 2016 Beijing
    China’s Emerging Role in a Tumultuous Middle East

    Instability in the Middle East remains widespread, but China continues to deepen its economic and diplomatic ties with the region.

  • February 24, 2016 Washington, DC
    Militancy, Border Security, and Democracy in North Africa and the Sahel

    This all-day conference brings together leading scholars from around the world to examine security and governance challenges in the Maghreb-Sahel.

  • January 27, 2016 Beirut, Lebanon عربي
    Five Years, Three Presidents, and Two Parliaments Since January 25: Where is Egypt Headed?

    Five years after Egypt’s January 25 uprisings, the country faces increased terror threats from extremist groups and enjoys even less freedoms than before the popular movement toppled the 30-year-old regime of former president Hosni Mubarak.

  • November 19, 2015
    Online Q&A on the Middle East and North Africa

    Several Middle East scholars participated in an online Q&A to discuss current trends in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • July 14, 2015 Washington, DC
    Oil Price Trends and Global Implications

    The sharp drop in oil prices is one of the most important global economic developments over the past year. While oil’s long term price outlook remains highly uncertain, a substantial part of its decline is expected to persist into the medium term

  • December 8, 2014 Washington, DC
    The Crisis in Jerusalem

    Violent attacks and counter attacks in Jerusalem have escalated as access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount has changed, raising the profile of the religious aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alongside its nationalist and territorial dimensions.

  • October 29, 2014 Washington, DC
    Complicated Coalition Dynamics: Fighting "Terrorism" and Other Priorities

    This panel examined the role of the Gulf States, Jordan, and Turkey in the international coalition against the Islamic State

  • September 24, 2014 Washington, DC
    Libya’s Civil War

    Nearly three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in the throes of a bitter civil war. Its political and security institutions are split along complex fault lines that defy easy categorization.

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