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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

Money in Politics Hurts MENA and US

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 10:33 PM

I think the kind of regime change the United States has brought forth over many, many years has been counterproductive. ~Senator Bernie Sanders to The Nation

All politics are local...before they grow and go global. Senator Bernie Sanders continues to draw criticism for focusing on domestic policy and...

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Peaceful Civilian Nuclear Energy Means Monitoring and Money-Making

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 5:24 PM

With or without a handshake between the U.S. and Iran, there is a "strategic advantage", satirized The Daily Show in this clip. All physical activity will be monitored, stressed President Obama in his remarks following the Iran deal. Why is Obama so confident about the monitoring clause? The...

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Playing the Extremist Card

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2015 | 3:43 PM

The US spends more than $500 million per victim on anti-terrorism efforts.~Think by Numbers

As the U.S. spends over $16.6 billion each year on counter-terrorism efforts, it is no surprise that the latest culprit (former Congressional candidate, Robert R. Doggart) was intercepted before...

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Generating Employment Opportunities Beyond Conferences

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 10:39 AM

On April 6th, another conference to generate employment in the Arab world took place: The National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) partnered with the Arab Maghreb Union and the Union of Arab Maghreb Economic Chambers to host about 50 North African government officials and private sector executives for...

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Muslim American Taxpayer Reaction to SOTU 2015

(6) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 10:29 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 | 12:09 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 | 2:03 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 | 10:08 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 | 1:52 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 | 2:00 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 | 12:25 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 | 1:39 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 | 4:56 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 | 5:48 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 | 11:21 AM

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 | 1:05 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 | 11:08 AM

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 | 10:22 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 | 4:44 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 | 3:23 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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