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Mehrunisa Qayyum
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Mehrunisa Qayyum is the founder of PITAPOLICY Consulting. She tweets about politics, interests, technology and analysis in the "pita-consuming" region as @PITAPOLICY. Regarding international affairs and trade issues, she worked at the United States’ Government Accountability Office for four years. Prior to that, she earned her MPP and Certificate in Contemporary Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in both Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Her recent writing experiences include analytical pieces on civil society, transparency & governance, human rights, political economy of Syria, and social media forums' impact. She enjoys watching the Colbert Report in her free time.

Entries by Mehrunisa Qayyum

Muslim American Taxpayer Reaction to SOTU 2015

(6) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 11:29 AM

President Obama enters into his final quarter of his big game. Watching President Obama's State of the Union Address in D.C. is like watching the Super Bowl for political junkies, foreign policy junkies and social activists. (I would like to say I fall somewhere in between, but that...

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Hajj 2015: Year of Development

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 1:09 PM

Last week, TIME magazine decided that Hajj 2014 revealed itself as the Year of the Selfie. However, PITAPOLICY predicts that Hajj 2015 will be "The Year of Development" for a variety of social, health, spiritual, and economic reasons--whether Saudi Arabia is ready or not. True, both my mother...

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Exchange Tourism Initiates a Dialogue on Smart Cities

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 3:03 PM

As a blogger, I enjoy the privilege of talking to aspiring changemakers and listening to them. Lately, a particular group pushing for change include advocates for "smart cities." Within this global movement for "smart cities" are those who believe the who held the First International Summit on Smart...

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Election Boycotts: Losing Voices and Votes

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 11:08 AM

Another version of this article appeared on the Freedom House Blog on May 16th, 2014

Usually in elections, the voters' central dilemma is deciding whether to vote for candidate 'A', 'B', or even 'C'. However, in Egypt's upcoming May 26-27 presidential elections, voters and organizing blocs...

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'Smarter' Cities in North Africa

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 2:52 PM

Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Marrakesh, and Tangier served as great movie titles and backdrops (or stereotypes, like in The Battle of Algiers) for entertainment set in North Africa. However, film shots of these cities appear stuck in "once upon a time, in a land far, far away called the Maghreb." Earlier...

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Syrian Nonviolent Movements Do Exist

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 3:00 PM

After three years of an accelerating Syrian conflict, the United States finally ordered Syria's diplomatic mission to suspend its operations in the U.S.. However, the policy and media focus on militant operations overshadow nonviolent Syrian initiatives, which overlooks the necessary factors for peace and reconciliation (as if nonviolent...

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Tunisia's Donor Assistance Glossed Over Sectors Related to Economy

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 1:25 PM

A speech given by a Tunisian Lorax on donor assistance is very much needed. On February 18th, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, made a "surprise visit' to Tunisia. However, a conversation that goes beyond a congratulations on the new constitution, and an intake on the security situation,...

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Syrian Refugees Plight Goes Beyond Funding

(2) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 2:39 PM

Whether one was for or against the U.S. strikes supporting NATO strikes on Syria last September, or one believes that the Syria conflict is a civil war rather than a revolution, Syrian refugees remain the consistent symptom of Syria's plight -- however it is described.

Remember how...

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Middle East and North Africa: Holding Public and Private Corruption Accountable

(2) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 5:56 PM

Since December 9th was "International Anti-Corruption Day", global watchdog Transparency International encouraged dialogue over Twitter using the meme #StoptheCorrupt. Unfortunately, it was hard to track down the few tweets from the Arab World, specifically using the meme #StoptheCorrupt, who responded to the TI report.


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Will Investing in MENA Technology Fuel Philanthropy?

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 6:48 PM

What will tackle the biggest social, health or economic problems in each country? Philanthropic missions? Innovative technology? Or a version of Bill Gates in each region of the world?

One lesson to take away from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis is that no country is too rich for problems...

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Tunisia and the U.S. Share Common Ground: Dissatisfied Citizens

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 12:21 PM

Millions of citizens feel disappointed in their government. In the U.S., a government shutdown continues to punish its citizens and local DC businesses. Conversely, Tunisians force their government to step down as ruling party efforts frustrate the majority of citizens and their small businesses.

Economic Priority Is a Shared...

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Listen to the Arab and American Streets on Syria Strikes

(4) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 2:05 PM

Thank heaven that there are additional intense conversations happening beyond the U.S. Senate hearing -- and in other parts of the world -- or one may have walked away thinking that there were only TWO options regarding the Syria crisis: "strike" or "no strike." Even while bowling, a player gets...

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Intrapreneurship Presents Solutions for MENA's Large Public Sector

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 12:08 PM

Last year, as many conferences described the unemployment challenges in the Middle East and North Africa region, I asked Dr. Bessma Momani about her thoughts on how intrapreneurship may help tackle the jobs problem in the MENA region -- and its somewhat bloated public sector.

We co-authored a...

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Is Assad Winning Hearts and Minds?

(4) Comments | Posted June 8, 2013 | 11:22 AM

Mubarak (noun): a psychotic ex-girlfriend who doesn't get that it's over. -Bashar al Assad, according to emails revealed by WikiLeaks

Bashar al Assad joked that Mubarak was a "noun" for "a psychotic ex-girlfriend who doesn't get that it's over." Ironically, Assad emailed this about Hosni Mubarak after his...

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Shared Prosperity Needs More Face to Face Engagement, Not Just Online

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 5:44 PM

"It takes civil society to engage on solutions," shared Lotfi Maktouf, who founded Al Madanya, which is a Tunisian-based nonprofit that helps address the number one challenge in Tunisia, youth unemployment. Through Al Madanya's simple intervention, subsidizing driver's license training, youth obtain the means to earn a driver's license which...

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Is CSR the Substitute for Government?

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 4:23 PM

Have citizens given up on government? This question applies to developing countries, like Egypt. But the question may also apply to highly developed countries, like the U.S.! In our nation's capitol, Washington, D.C. policy wonks share thoughts and "lessons learned" on corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. This week, at least...

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Social Entrepreneurship Changes Donor & Development Cultures

(1) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 6:52 PM

Traditional aid is no longer helpful, as once believed, for two big reasons. Aside from the necessity of emergency relief aid for disasters, aid as a tool for poverty alleviation or even political stability, has proven contradictory, if not disastrous. The first reason is presented by best-selling author of Dead...

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Development, Diplomacy, & Defense: Solutions via Social Media

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 6:52 PM

"Development", "Diplomacy", and "Defense" make up the foreign policy triangle, but have different approaches to engaging and sharing information. Although Social Media Week organizes some great workshops of how to promote a message, I would rather focus on how social media tools may get us closer towards solutions...

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Punishment for Non-crimes in Iran

(17) Comments | Posted March 1, 2013 | 5:54 PM

"A bad wound heals but a bad word doesn't" is the Persian proverb that comes to mind after viewing the comprehensive documentary: Forced Confessions: Non-crime and Punishment in Iran. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace held the first American screening of this documentary on how torture was and is...

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MBA Students: How Would You Solve Unemployment in the Middle East & North Africa?

(2) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 10:31 AM

MBA students: How would you feel if one of your courses tested your entrepreneurial skills abroad by requiring you to set up a business in one of the Middle Eastern or North African countries? Would you be up for the challenge?

When you graduate "go and do the craziest...

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