In this talk Nancy Okail will reflect on the renewed crackdown on civil society in Egypt, the closing of public space, and the continued regression in rights and freedoms. In the course of the past months the military-sponsored regime of Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has escalated its confrontation with civil society organizations by announcing a new set of investigations against prominent human rights defenders and NGOs. The talk will analyze the conditions motivating the regime’s renewed crackdown against civil society and the impact of these politically motivated investigations on the regime’s domestic and international standing and the struggle for political change in Egypt.
Nancy Okail is the Executive Director of The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP). She brings more than 15 years of experience promoting democracy and development in the Middle East and North Africa region to this role. Prior to joining TIMEP, Dr. Okail was the director of Freedom House’s Egypt program. She has also worked with the Egyptian government as a senior evaluation officer of foreign aid and has managed programs for Egyptian pro-democracy organizations that challenged the Mubarak regime. She was also one of the defendants convicted in the widely publicized case of 43 non-governmental organization employees charged with using foreign funds to foment unrest in Egypt. She was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison, and, as a result, has spent the last four years in exile. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex in the U.K. where her dissertation examined the power relations of foreign aid.