Sami Atallah, Director, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, will discuss key recent policy challenges and policy debates in Lebanon, including decentralization, the electoral law, and gas policies. He will also focus on the ways the research, debates, and advocacy efforts of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies have affected the direction of national policy.

About Sami Atallah:

Sami Atallah, who is trained in economics and political science, is the director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS).  Prior to joining LCPS, he served as a consultant for the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations Development Program in Lebanon and Syria. Atallah also served as an advisor for the Lebanese Ministries of Finance, Industry, and Interior and Municipalities, as well as in the Prime Minister’s Office.  In addition, he taught economics and political economy at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

At LCPS, he is currently leading several policy studies on the governance of the gas sector, electoral behavior, monitoring the Parliament and political parties, economic diversification and industrial policy, and decentralization and service delivery. From November 2012 till April 2014, Atallah served on the Committee established by the Lebanese Prime Minister to draft a decentralization law.

He has several policy and academic publications. He is the editor of Towards Achieving a Transparent and Accountable National Budget in Lebanon (Beirut: LCPS 2013), and co-editor of Democracy, Decentralization, and Service Delivery in the Arab World (with Mona Harb, Beirut, LCPS forthcoming). Atallah has also co-authored a paper on the emergence of highly sophisticated export products: Evidence from Lebanon (with Ilina Srour, ERF working paper, 2014). As for his academic work, he is author of “The Gulf region: Beyond oil and wars – the role of history and geopolitics in explaining autocracy” (in Elbadawi and Makdisi, Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit, Routledge 2011). Additionally, he is the author of “Linking England to India: How Geostrategic Trade Routes have Shaped the Political Institutions in the Arab World” (ERF working paper, 2014).

He has two Masters degrees in International and Development Economics from Yale University (1996) and in Quantitative Methods from Columbia University (2004). He is currently completing his PhD in Politics at New York University.