Patricia Karam

Regional Director, Middle East North Africa Division, International Republican Institute

Patricia Karam is the regional director of the Middle East North Africa Division at the International Republican Institute. She is responsible for the strategic oversight and leadership of the MENA division, a multimillion portfolio with programs focusing on citizen-responsive governance, political party development, legislative strengthening, and civil society capacity building. The MENA division conducts programming in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia. Karam has held senior managerial positions in nongovernment organizations over the past 15 years. Most recently, as MENA director at the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Karam was responsible for over 30 projects in the region taking the form of research, advocacy, grant making, technical assistance, and capacity-building efforts targeted at government and nongovernment actors toward improving natural resource governance. Previously, Karam served as deputy director of the policymakers/civil society unit at the International Center for Transitional Justice, where she designed and oversaw multilingual educational and training and transitional justice-focused programs, including intensive courses focused on truth seeking and memorialization. She also spearheaded the expansion and professionalization of the Documentation Affinity Group, a global network of action-oriented grassroots groups engaged in human rights documentation.

Karam has worked in a combination of programs development, management, fundraising, and grant-making roles at the United States Institute of Peace, the Iraq Foundation and the Embassy of Iraq in Washington, DC, and New York University’s trauma studies program. She holds a dual BA from Brown University and a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University. Her PhD work at NYU’s law and society program revolved around identity politics and indigenous people’s rights in Western Sahara.