General Assembly

General Assembly

Fatima Sbaity Kassem

Former Director, UN-ESCWA Centre for Women; free-lance consultant on women and gender issues in the Arab countries

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Retired United Nations official 



PhD in Political Science with sub-specialization in political economy from Columbia University in the City of New York


Research interests: 

Political parties, religion and religiosity, empowerment of women and gender equality in the Arab countries, follow-up on implementation of international conventions and instruments targeting women and gender equality


 Latest publications:

1. “ Can Women Break Through? Women in Municipalities: Lebanon in Comparative Perspective”, Journal of Women’s Studies International Forum 35 (2012), pp. 233-255, (Elsevier Ltd), 18 June 2012,

2. “Women’s Wings in Political Parties: Marginalization or Empowerment Mechanisms”, Volume 15, Al-Bahithat , Beirut, Lebanon, December 2012

3. Party Politics, Religion and Women’s Leadership: Lebanon in Comparative perspective (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), December 2013; 

4. سياسة الأحزاب والدين والمرأة في القيادة: لبنان من منظور مقارن     (Beirut: Center of Arab Unity Studies (CAUS), March 2015. 




 Summary :

-former Director of the UN-ESCWA Centre for Women ; regional coordinator for the 1995 Beijing Conference on women and all follow-up activities until 2005; visiting scholar at the Institute of Research on Women and Gender, Columbia University; mentor in the Women in Public Service Project of the Wilson Center and the Seven Sisters, and a freelance consultant on gender and women’s issues in the Arab countries.

-served the UN for more than 35 years in Baghdad, Amman, and Beirut;

-author and editor of numerous studies, articles, and UN publications on developments in the status of women; globalization and economic participation of women; feminization of poverty; implementation of the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); history of women’s movements, women’s political leadership, and women in public office in Arab countries. 

- current research interests: exploring inter-linkages between religion and religiosity (religious extremism, particularly Islam), political parties, and women’s empowerment in leadership and decision-making. 

- recent publications: Party Politics, Religion, and Women’s Leadership: Lebanon in Comparative Perspective (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), December 2013; an updated and revised Arabic version  Siyasat al-ahzab , Aldine, almar’a fi al-qiyadah: Lubanan min manthour muqaran (Beirut: Centre for Arab Unity Studies, March 2015).  

She is a member of numerous professional associations and advisory boards, including: American Political Science Association; Academy of Political Science, Association of Lebanese Women Researchers (Bahithat); Advisory Board of the Arab Human Development Report 2005: Towards the Rise of Women in the Arab World.; and in October 2015 on the advisory board of the UN-ESCWA Justice Report in the Arab World under review. She is cited in the 56th edition of Who’s Who in America of 2012.

 She holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration; and a Masters degree in Development Administration from the American University of Beirut (AUB). She also holds a Masters degree in International Economics; an M. Phil in Political Economy; and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in the City of New York.


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