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Youssef Mahmoud

Senior Adviser | mahmoud@ipinst.org

Youssef Mahmoud is a Senior Adviser IPI supporting the Africa, Middle East, and peace operations programs and serves as focal point on mediation policies and practices. Before retiring from the United Nations in January 2011, He was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). From 2007 to 2009 he served as Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Burundi (BINUB).

Prior to these assignments, he held several other senior positions, notably as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Director in the UN Department of Political Affairs, and Head of the Office of the Undersecretary-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Before joining the United Nations in 1981, Mr. Mahmoud was Assistant Professor at the University of Tunis. He teaches graduate courses at Columbia University and New York University on peacebuilding challenges in Africa and on post conflict policies in fragile settings.

Over the past two years, he has focused his attention on the post-authoritarian transitions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. He is leading an IPI initiative aimed at supporting the development of an Arab think tank to serve as a forum through which civil society leaders from these countries could exchange knowledge, experiences and lessons learned arising from their efforts to address the challenges and opportunities presented by these transitions.

Mr. Mahmoud has a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Tunis, an MS in Linguistics and a PhD in Socio-Linguistics from Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Selected Publications

• Youssef Mahmoud, "L'entreprenariat, le développement économique et la stabilité," Le Matin Geopolis, Octobre 2014.

• Youssef Mahmoud, "Lutte contre l'Etat islamique: Ses promesses et ses écueils," Le Matin Geopolis, 19 Septembre 2014.

"Building a Sustainable Future Requires Leadership from State and Citizen", Global Observatory 2014 (with Jimena Leiva-Roesch and Steve Nation).

• Youssef Mahmoud, "Le Maroc: Une diplomatie tous azimuts," Le Matin Geopolis, 20 June 2014.

"Pervasive Disconnect Between the State and Citizens Offers Two Paths: Promise or Peril," Global Observatory 2014.

“The Tunisian Constitution: Triumphs and Potential Pitfalls," Global Observatory 2014 (with Margaret Willams).

“The Crisis in the Central African Republic: Will a Woman at the Helm Enough," Global Observatory 2014 (with Mireille Affa-Mindze).

“In Egypt’s New Constitution: Are Women Equal Citizens,” Global Observatory 2013.

"Tunisia after the Uprising: Conversations and Observations," IPI Comment & Analysis 2011.

• Youssef Mahmoud, “Partnerships for Peacebuilding in Burundi: Some Lessons Learned,” in Crafting an African Security Architecture, edited by Hany Besada (London: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 129-142.

• Chandra Lekha Sriram and Youssef Mahmoud, “Bringing Security Back In: International Relations Theory and Moving Beyond the ‘Justice Versus Peace’ Dilemma in Transitional Societies,” in International Law and International Relations: Bridging Theory and Practice, edited by Thomas J. Biersteker, Peter J. Spiro, Chandra Lekha Sriram, and Veronica Raffo (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 222-235.

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Featured Publication

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October 10, 2014
Mediating Transition in Yemen: Achievements and Lessons


Yemen remains the only site of an Arab Spring uprising that ended in a negotiated agreement and an internationally supported transition process. In light of the recent conflict in the North of Yemen and Sana’a, with a constitution-drafting process underway, a referendum to approve a draft constitution, and coming elections all within the next year, the open dialogue established among key parties and factions in Yemen’s transition has become increasingly important.