Senior Staff

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JOSEPH BRAUDE, president

Center founder Joseph Braude is an expert on the nexus of culture and politics in Arab societies and an active presence in the region’s media and policy debates. He studied Near Eastern languages at Yale and Arabic and Islamic history at Princeton. He developed his Arabic to broadcast quality over a seven-year stint on Moroccan national radio and added Persian to his Arabic and Hebrew as a graduate student at the University of Tehran.

Braude’s most recent book, Reclamation: A Cultural Policy for Arab-Israeli Partnership (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2019) presents a strategy on how to roll back generations of antisemitic and rejectionist messaging in Arab media, mosques, and schools. His three prior books include a prescription for post-Saddam institution building in Iraq (The New Iraq, Basic Books, 2003), a study of crime and punishment in Casablanca (The Honored Dead, Random House, 2011), and an assessment of prospects to foster liberal social trends through Arab media (Broadcasting Change, Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).

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Mostafa El-Dessouki, Director of Arabic Communications

 Mostafa El-Dessouki is the Managing Editor of the pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. A native of Alexandria, Dessouki served in the Egyptian navy, received his Bachelors degree from the University of Alexandria, and earned a Masters in comparative Islamic theology at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Dessouki’s commitment to peace communications stems from a family legacy. In 1919, his grandfather, Mohammed Kamel El-Dessouki, founded the Alexandrian newspaper Al-Ta’akhi (Brotherhood), managed by Muslim, Christian, and Jewish coeditors and devoted to promoting friendship among the three faith-based communities.

In February 2017, working with Joseph Braude, Dessouki brokered an institutional partnership between the Union of Egyptians in Europe, the largest Egyptian diaspora organization; and the Israeli Regional Initiative, an NGO that builds bridges to Arab countries with which Israel does not enjoy formal relations. The inaugural gathering in London brought together media and civic actors from Israel and seven Arab countries for the first public Egyptian forum about peace promotion since the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1979.

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Michael Nahum, Chief Operating Officer

Mideast specialist Michael Nahum brings Arabic and Hebrew fluency and a decade’s experience engaging with the region’s media.  As a Senior Arabic Linguist with ATS and AECOM, he provided high-level U.S. government clients with timely and layered analyses of regional crises and emerging trends. His areas of expertise include Middle Eastern cultural topography, Syrian militia dynamics, and mapping the Arabic social media environment. Transitioning into the technology industry, he helped lead the MENA team at Dataminr Inc., a realtime information discovery company with military, corporate, and public relations clientele.

Prior to joining the CPC, Nahum spent two years in Arab capitals. He developed his fluency in modern Arabic while living in Damascus during the early phases of the Syrian civil war. He studied Classical Arabic at the Qasid institute in Amman Jordan and in Sanaa, Yemen at the Yemen College of Middle East Studies. He also lived for two years in Israel, gaining fluency in Hebrew at Haifa University and the IDC in Herzliya. He holds an MA in Arabic from the University of Maryland in College Park, and a BA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Brandeis University.

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Fereyhan al-Yahyaoui, Coordinator of Social media outreach

Over 23 years in journalism, Tunisia’s Fereyhan al-Yahyaoui has honed the craft of narrating social change. She graduated Carthage University’s Faculty of Media with honors. On staff at the Tunisian national daily Al-Ra’i al-Yawm, she reported on cultural affairs and women’s issues for seven years. Relocating to London, she served another seven years on staff at Al-Arab daily, then began a successful freelance career in Tunisian and pan-Arab publications.

Working with her teammates at the Center for Peace Communications, Yahyaoui is developing a strategy to use social media outreach as a tool of interfaith bridge-building.

Board of Directors

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Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Ross worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.

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Adam Garfinkle

Adam Garfinkle is the founding editor of The American Interest, a national public policy magazine, and former editor of The National Interest. He served as speechwriter for Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, chief writer for the U.S. Commission on National Security (the Hart-Rudman Commission), and as an aide to Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. 

Garfinkle has taught at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and other institutions of higher learning. He has received awards and grants from the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Fellowship Program, the American Academy in Berlin, the German Marshall Fund, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Moshe Dayan Center for the Study of Middle Eastern and African Affairs (Tel Aviv University). 

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Heath Grant, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is a seasoned international information program executive. As CEO of Success for Kids, he positioned the group’s unique approach of Social Emotional Learning as one of the most sought-after program partnership opportunities throughout Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. He also served as a senior consultant for the “Culture of Lawfulness Project” sponsored by the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC), a nongovernment educational organization based in Washington. His unique approach to the program was instrumental in helping partners in the Americas and the Middle East foster societal support for the rule of law by engaging media, spiritual leaders, schools, and local government. Today this program continues to reach over one million children per year around the world. 

Dr. Grant has worked with the US Department of State, USAID, National Institute of Justice, and other agencies in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa to develop programs focused on building a culture of lawfulness and countering criminality and corruption.

He is also a board member of the Every Child is Ours Foundation.