Soft Power, Diplomacy, and Gender in the Middle East

Presented by Lysistrata

November 14, Monday
3:30 to 5:30pm

Woolworth Building
Room 409

RSVP: lysistrata.nyu(at)

About the Event:

What is the soft power of the Middle East; media, soccer, facebook, or diplomacy? Have the Obama slogans failed the ‘Arab Street’? What is the role of women in shaping the new Middle East? And what are the aspirations of the Arab youth today?

Ms. Merissa Khurma, director of the office of HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, FIFA Vice President representing Asia, will be joining us for an informal discussion from Amman, Jordan via skype to shed a light on these questions and more. Born to a family of diplomats and a diplomat herself, she is a firsthand witness to Arab politics and women’s achievements in the public sector particularly in Jordan. Drawing on her experience and participation in the Jordanian government Ms. Khurma will enlighten us with a unique perspective on the current developments in the region and the way forward therein. The discussion will highlight the unique gender dimensions in the field of diplomacy and political participation in the Middle East. We anticipate a robust discussion during the Q&A section, moderated by Lysistrata’s Co-founder and International Relations Concentration Leader, Jumana Kawar.

Ms. Merissa Khurma is currently the director of the office of HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, FIFA Vice President representing Asia. She served as HRH Prince Ali’s campaign manager for his candidacy for FIFA Vice President (October 2010 to January 2011) and has been HRH’s chief of staff since his victory in these elections in January 2011. Ms. Khurma previously served as the Press Attaché and Director of the Jordan Information Bureau at the Embassy of Jordan in Washington D.C. from 2003 to 2010. Prior to joining the Government sector, Ms. Khurma was a research associate at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy where she focused on democratization in the Arab world, Arab media, and terrorism studies.

Merissa holds a B.A. in political science and French from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her honor’s thesis focused on the civil society development in Jordan under HM King Hussein’s reign. She also holds a Master’s of Science in International Security and Foreign Policy from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.