Nancy Okail

Nancy Okail

President and CEO

Nancy Okail is President and CEO of the Center for International Policy. Dr. Okail is a leading scholar, policy analyst, and advocate with more than 20 years of experience working on issues of human rights, democracy, and security in the Middle East and North Africa region.


In 2020, Okail was appointed as a visiting scholar at the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University, focusing on accountability and the intersection of human rights and technology. Prior to joining Stanford, she served as Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), which under her leadership became an internationally renowned policy research organization.


Before coming to the United States, Okail worked on, managed, and evaluated foreign aid programs for several international organizations, including the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme. In her subsequent role as Director of Freedom House’s Egypt program, Okail was one of the 43 nongovernmental organization workers convicted and sentenced to prison in a widely publicized 2012 case for allegedly using foreign funds to foment unrest in Egypt. She was then exonerated by a court ruling in December of 2018.

Okail holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex in the UK. Her policy analysis and political commentary have been featured in top outlets including the Washington Post, New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and Lawfare. She has been interviewed or quoted by The Guardian, BBC World News, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera, and she regularly speaks on current affairs panels at world fora and academic institutions.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

LATEST NEWS

July 25, 2022

Tunisians set to hand president almost total power in referendum

Nancy Okail quoted

“The failures and fragility of these states in the midst of the food crisis and alarming global economic trends and climate crisis will increase the likelihood of further conflicts in the region, which will set us back to a situation that is far more dangerous than 11 years ago.” - Nancy Okail

March 17, 2022

Symposium: From Iraq to Ukraine, has the media learned its lesson?

Nancy Okail interviewed

For the 19th anniversary of the Baghdad invasion, over a dozen journalists and critics compare coverage then, and today.

July 19, 2022

What Biden wanted in the Middle East — and what he actually got

Nancy Okail quoted

“Diplomatically, it is an embarrassment,” said Nancy Okail, an Egyptian human rights advocate and executive director of the Center for International Policy. “Because the way it’s being spun in the Middle East media is that he came to us, he knelt down.”

February 11, 2022

US aid to Egypt and the wider failures of American security assistance

By Nancy Okail

CEO and President Nancy Okail argues "The fall of Mubarak 11 years ago should be a reminder that the U.S. hyper-militarized approach has been ineffective and counterproductive."