CIP Names Gazan Analyst Omar Shaban as Inaugural Leahy Fellow

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Center for International Policy (CIP) is honored to award renowned Palestinian analyst and scholar Omar Shaban as CIP’s inaugural Leahy Fellow for Human Rights and Security.

Shaban, founder of Gaza-based think tank PalThink, is the first recipient of CIP’s Leahy Fellowship, which was established in 2023 to carry the legacy of Senator Leahy’s work by supporting the research and professional development of foreign policy professionals working to enhance global security and human rights. Bringing his experience and knowledge of Middle East affairs to CIP’s work, Shaban will help advance CIP’s goals of accountability and transparency for U.S. security assistance, and consistent application of U.S. laws that preserve human rights such as the Leahy laws. 

 “CIP is thrilled to welcome Omar Shaban, whose decades of work to advance peace and democracy have helped illuminate the rich tapestry of the Palestinian experience, a hopefulness and quest for dignity, while offering sound analysis and real solutions,” said Nancy Okail, CIP’s President and CEO. “At this critical, defining moment for U.S. relations with the Middle East, Omar Shaban embodies the human-centered policy work that is needed to achieve true security. His dedication to accountability and human rights in foreign policy and to diplomacy over militarism is a tribute to Senator Leahy’s incredible legacy.”

During his fellowship, Shaban will work closely with CIP’s experts and contribute to the Center’s research initiatives, including policy analyses and policymaker and public education. His research will focus on promoting economic development, social justice, and peacebuilding in the Middle East.

“I am honored to join CIP as its first Leahy Fellow to ensure more constructive exchanges with U.S. institutions to elevate the experiences and voices of people in this region as a factor in U.S. policy making,” said Omar Shaban. “Like all human rights struggles, the Palestinian peoples’ struggle for dignity and self-determination can be a tide that lifts all boats.”

As Senator Leahy commented when it was announced the fellowship would be named after him, “defending human rights and promoting democratic values in US foreign policy is critically important at a time when those rights and values are under assault around the world.”

CIP has been a leading progressive voice on U.S. foreign affairs for nearly 50 years. The Center works to make a peaceful, just, and sustainable world the central pursuit of U.S. foreign policy by promoting greater cooperation, transparency, and governmental accountability. Critical to this mission is the inclusion of diverse perspectives and the integration of new voices into research and policymaking circles.