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Major Positions

Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
Researcher at several Universities including: North Carolina State University and Georgetown University.

Major Accomplishments

Dr. Rita Stephan is a research fellow at The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University and the Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at the U.S. Department of State with an over 8-year track record of successful strategic and tactical leadership within the public sector. She was previously Deputy Director of Data Analytics and senior analyst for Syria and Lebanon at the State Department. During her tenure at the U.S. Census Bureau, she played a significant role in galvanizing community support for the Middle Eastern and North African ethnic origin checkbox campaign. Stephan has had several teaching and research positions including a visiting researcher at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, a lecturer of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, a research associate at the Lebanese Emigration Research Center at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, and a research fellow at the American University of Beirut.

She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin with a Portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was among the first scholars to highlight women’s activism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the demographics of the MENA population in the United States. As a public intellectual, her publications focus on women’s activism, social movements, Arab-Americans, and peace and conflict. Stephan has also served as an advisor to the Arab American National Museum, senior demographer with the Arab American Institute, a Member-at-Large at the Association for Middle Eastern Women Studies, cofounder and a Member-at-Large at the Arab American Studies Association. She is also a member of the National Advisory Council for the Institute for Women's Leadership and Social Responsibility at Cottey College in Missouri.

Last modified: 01/09/2019

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