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 Unheard Voices: What Syrian Refugees Need to Return Home (April 2018); The Summer of Our Discontent: Sects and Citizens in Lebanon and Iraq (June 2017); 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).
Spot analysis from Carnegie scholars on events relating to the Middle East and North Africa
Lebanon is increasingly mistreating its Syrian refugees, even sending some home to face a terrible fate.
Post-conflict reconstruction is inherently political, involving a struggle for power and influence.
Syria’s regime is changing the country’s urban planning laws to punish its foes and reward loyalists.
Efforts to circumvent Geneva and Astana undermine a durable solution in Syria and work against the welfare of refugees.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon are increasingly being manipulated to satisfy geopolitical agendas.
The Zaatari Camp is taking on characteristics of permanence, raising doubts about a refugee return.
Maha Yahya interviews Sultan Barakat about the uncertain future of Syria.
Why Local Agreements Are Not the Solution for Ensuring Syrian Refugee Repatriation.
Iraq’s Yezidis are trapped amidst the rivalries all around them.