E9S11 Bridging Divides: Career Opportunities in Peace, Policy, and Societal Transformation with Dr. Makram Ouaiss

Summary & Key Takeways

Wondering how to succeed in a career in building peace and policy making?

In Episode 9 of Season 11, we dive into the fascinating career of Dr. Makram Ouaiss, and his high impact cross-sectoral career working at the intersection of peacebuilding, policy, research and academia.

Makram, the Executive Director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, brings a unique perspective shaped by growing up in a war-torn country. Dr. Ouaiss explores the complexities of bridging the gap between policy and on-the-ground impact, the need for collaboration and coalition building, and the ever-evolving funding dynamics in the field. Join us as we delve into this thought-provoking conversation and gain valuable career advice for aspiring peace professionals.

Here are three key takeaways:

Negotiation and Peacemaking: Makram highlighs the cruciality of negotiation and peacemaking after conflicts. By helping societies conflict resolution skills from childhood to international relations, we can manage conflicts effectively, reduce casualties, and prevent the escalation of violence. It's the foundation for a more peaceful world.

Advice for Aspiring Policy and Impact Professionals: If you aspire to work in fields including democratization, governance, civil society, and peacebuilding, Makram's advice is gold. Hold onto human values, align your skills with your interests, seek relevant organizations, and consider academic programs to deepen your knowledge. Let your passion and dedication drive your career in creating a positive impact.

Shifting Dynamics in Funding: The podcast also discussed the changing landscape of funding, with a focus on supporting local capacity and expertise in development and governance. While progress has been made in emphasizing localized initiatives, challenges persist in sustaining efforts and countering foreign policy decisions that hinder local progress. It is crucial to continue advocating for the importance of investing in local communities.

Bio: Makram Ouaiss is the Executive Director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS). Established in 1989, the center is one of the leading think tanks in the country, conducting evidence-based research in Lebanon and the Middle East and North Africa region in the areas of governance, sustainable economic development, the promotion of inclusive and effective social policies and the environment. Before joining the center, Ouaiss was a professor of political science and international affairs, with a specialization in conflict analysis and resolution, at the Lebanese American University for nearly 15 years. He is the author of a number of articles and studies on the topics of civil peace, elections, and democratization. He has served as Senior Advisor for Elections to the Minister of Interior, and worked or consulted for international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, theNational Democratic Institute for International Affairs, International IDEA, IFES, and the Carter Center, among others. He is a member of and has served on the board of several civil society organizations working on civil peace, national dialogue, democracy-strengthening, and election observation. Ouaiss holds a PhD from the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolutionat George Mason University and a master’s degree in international affairs and economics from the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.

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