Maha Yahya

Middle East Center

Yahya is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, where her research focuses on citizenship, pluralism, and social justice in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.

Maha Yahya is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, where her work focuses broadly on political violence and identity politics, pluralism, development and social justice after the Arab uprisings, the challenges of citizenship, and the political and socio-economic implications of the migration/refugee crisis.

Prior to joining Carnegie, Yahya led work on Participatory Development and Social Justice at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA). She was previously regional adviser on social and urban policies at UN-ESCWA and spearheaded strategic and inter-sectoral initiatives and policies in the Office of the Executive Secretary which addressed the challenges of democratic transitions in the Arab world. Yahya has also worked with the United Nations Development Program in Lebanon, where she was the director and principal author of The National Human Development Report 2008–2009: Toward a Citizen’s State. She was also the founder and editor of the MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies

Yahya has worked with international organizations and in the private sector as a consultant on projects related to socioeconomic policy analysis, development policies, cultural heritage, poverty reduction, housing and community development, and postconflict reconstruction in various countries including Lebanon, Pakistan, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. She has served on a number of advisory boards including the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.

Yahya  is the author of numerous publications, including most recently Great Expectations in Tunisia (March 2016); Refugees and the Making of an Arab Regional Disorder (November 2015); Towards Integrated Social Development Policies: A Conceptual Analysis (UN-ESCWA, 2004), co-editor of Secular Publicities: Visual practices and the Transformation of National Publics in the Middle East and South Asia (University of Michigan Press, 2010) and co-author of Promises of Spring: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in Democratic Transitions (UN-ESCWA, 2013). 


More >
  • What Kind of Endgame?
    • April 10, 2017

    What Kind of Endgame?

    Maha Yahya interviews Sultan Barakat about the uncertain future of Syria.

  • Broken Peaces
    • March 31, 2017

    Broken Peaces

    Why Local Agreements Are Not the Solution for Ensuring Syrian Refugee Repatriation.

  • Unmagical Mountain
    • March 06, 2017

    Unmagical Mountain

    Iraq’s Yezidis are trapped amidst the rivalries all around them.

  • The Arab Predicament
    • January 27, 2017

    The Arab Predicament

    Carnegie Middle East announces the release of a major new report on the state of the Arab world.

  • Looking Beyond Mosul
    • December 09, 2016

    Looking Beyond Mosul

    Once the Islamic State is defeated, Iraq will have to mend a divided society.

  • Can the Middle East Win?
    • November 07, 2016

    Can the Middle East Win?

    On the eve of the U.S. election, Carnegie’s Maha Yahya explains what it may mean for the region.

  • Out of the Void
    • October 26, 2016

    Out of the Void

    Lebanon is about to get a new president, but don’t expect much.

  • Saving Syria’s Lost Generation
    • November 30, 2015

    Saving Syria’s Lost Generation

    Individuals and civil society organizations are stepping in to ensure access to education for Syrian children and save them from becoming a lost generation.

  • Taking Out the Trash: Lebanon’s Garbage Politics
    • August 25, 2015

    Taking Out the Trash: Lebanon’s Garbage Politics

    Ostensibly about Lebanon’s garbage crisis, the Beirut protests represent a rejection of Lebanon’s sectarianism, political elite, and its lack of a civil state.

  • What Does the Charlie Hebdo Attack Mean for Europe?
    • January 15, 2015

    What Does the Charlie Hebdo Attack Mean for Europe?

    The horrific attacks in France bring back to the fore the question of what it means to be a citizen in Europe today and how such citizenship intersects with the burning questions of class and multiple cultural identities.


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD, Architectural Association School of Architecture

  • Arabic
  • English
Please note

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.