Fatma Sayed

Fatma Sayed
  • Ph.D., Political and Social Science, The European University Institute in Florence
  • M.P.A., Master of Public Administration (specializing in  Urban Environmental Policies and International Organizations  & Comparative Administration), The American University in Cairo
  • B.A., Mass Communication, School of Management from The American University In Cairo

Biographical Information

Dr. Sayed is a specialist in development assistance, policy analysis, governance in the Euro-Mediterranean region and welfare and social policies. She is an international consultant to UNDESA (United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Development) on governance and innovation in public administration in the Euro-Mediterranean region.  Dr. Sayed obtained her PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute and her BA in Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo; and a Master in Public Administration MPA from the same University in February 1999.  She authored several publications on governance, education reform, development assistance, public policy reforms, and innovation in public administration.

As an international consultant to UNDESA, Dr. Sayed, has been conducting some major studies on innovation in governance and produced case studies on innovation in public administration, under the  Programme for the Promotion of Exchange  of Administrative Innovation between Europe and the Mediterranean Region.  She also co-edited a key report on Governance in the Mediterranean Region (covering all MENA and the Eastern Balkan Countries).

Dr. Sayed is a founding member and member of the Steering Committee of Innovmed The Network of Innovators in Governance in the Mediterranean Region, launched by UNDESA in collaboration with Formez  (Italian Government Agency for Training and Research) and The World Bank Institute.  Besides, she is a member of the Polibius research team under the European Thematic Network in Public Administration working on higher education in the field of governance in the Euro-Mediterranean Region; and a founding member of the Arab Forum for Basic Education Reform (established by the Lebanese Association for Education Studies and the Kuwaiti Society for Advancing Arab Childhood).


  • "The Contested Terrain of Educational Reform in Egypt" in World Yearbook of Education 2010: Education and the Arab ‘World': Political Projects, Struggles, and Geometries of Power; André Mazawi and Ronald Sultana. (ed.), Routledge Publications, London, 2009.
  • Governance and Political Stability: the Cases of Egypt, Lebanon and Palestinian Territories; Adriana Alberti and Fatma Sayed (ed.) VDM publishing, work in Progress.
  • Governance in the Middle East, North Africa and the Western Balkans: Challenges and Priorities in Reforming Public Administration in the Mediterranean Region,  Alberti, Adriana; Fala, Laila and Fatma Sayed (ed.) United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, 2008.
  •  "Challenges and Priorities in Reforming Governance and Public Administration  in the Middle East, North Africa and Western Balkans", EGPA Conference on Public Administration and the Management of Diversity,  INAP, Madrid, September 2007.
  • Transforming Education in Egypt: Western Influence and Domestic Policy Reform, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, 2006.
  • "Security, Donors, and Education Policy in Egypt", Mediterranean Quarterly, Duke University Press, Volume 16, Number 2, Spring 2005.
  • "Educational Reform Within Contexts of Conspiracy Fear and the Absence of Participation", in Reform of General Education in Arab Countries, Adnan El-Amine (ed.); UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States:Beirut, 2005.
  • "Inventory of Academic  Resources in the field of Governance and Public Administration in the Mediterranean Region: The Case of Egypt," The European Public Administration Network- Polibius Project, December 2005.
  • "Democratizing Development: Integrating Local Communities in the Provision of Basic Education in Egypt;" Journal of African Administrative Studies; CAFRAD; issue No. 65, July 2005.
  • Innovation in Public Administration: The Case of Egypt; UNDESA  Programme for the Promotion of Exchange  of Administrative Innovation between Europe and the Mediterranean Region; Naples' Meeting of Experts; unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN015904.pdf;  May 2004.
  • International Organizations and Domestic Policy Reform: The Case of Basic Education in Egypt in the 1990s; The European University Institute; Political and Social Science Department; Ph.D. Thesis; June 2004.

Comparative Middle East Politics (POL 372):
The course offers students an overview of contemporary Middle East politics with a comparative perspective, and  covers the period starting from the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the close of World War I. It emphasizes the historical, political and economic roots of contemporary events.  The course martial and class discussions focus on the processes of state building and struggles for self-determination across the region and look into the domestic, regional, and international factors shaping the foreign policies of the Middle East states.  The Middle East is taken to comprise Iran, Israel, Turkey and the Arab states, but discussions will also cover countries that take part of the "Greater Middle East" such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. 

Students will be encouraged to keep an eye on current political developments in the region and actively follow up the news coverage about the Middle East. 

Method and Objectives:
The aim is for students to become familiar with the region as a whole, and to better understand selected case studies that present the constitutive elements listed above. The course material focuses mostly on Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, but participants will also gain some knowledge about less covered areas and countries of the region.  Participants will acquire a clearer understanding of the origins of the conflicts that constantly undermine the stability of the region. Moreover, the participants should acquire through this course a more nuanced and complete understanding of the Middle East, its states, its political cultures and its peoples. On top of assigned readings, the course will also be based on taught lectures, the analysis of a variety of audiovisual documents and open discussion with participants.

Students will explore and debate on many issues about the politics of the region (or the implications that politics in the region may have on the rest of the world, in particular the USA and Europe), For that matter, students will be required to get acquainted with the BBC World Service website whose coverage of the Middle East should provide a good starting point for this part of the class (available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/default.stm, or http://news.bbc.co.uk. It will be very interesting to also look at the websites of Al-Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/), Al-Masry-al-Youm (Egyptian Daily newspaper's English version on line (http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en) and the Haaretz (Israeli Daily newspaper's English version on line (http://www.haaretz.com/).