13Fatima Sbaity Kassem is the former Director of the United Nations Centre for Women at the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA). She was the regional coordinator for the 1995 Beijing Conference on women and all follow-up activities until 2011. She served the United Nations for more than three decades in Baghdad, Amman, and Beirut. She was also a visiting scholar at the Institute of Research on Women and Gender (IRWaG), Columbia University in the City of New York.

She is a 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.

Dr. Sbaity-Kassem is author and editor of numerous studies, articles, chapters in books, and UN-ESCWA 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 in municipalities, women’s wings in political parties, women’s political leadership, and women in public office in Arab countries.

Her current research interests lie in exploring the inter-linkages between on the one hand religion and religiosity (religious extremism, particularly Islam) and on the other hand political parties and women’s empowerment in leadership and decision-making. Her most recent book Party Politics, Religion, and Women’s Leadership: Lebanon in Comparative Perspective (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), December 2013; an updated and revised Arabic version of the book was released in spring 2015 (Beirut: Centre for Arab Unity Studies, March 2015).

She is a member of numerous professional associations including the American Political Science Association (APSA); Academy of Political Science; Association of Lebanese Women Researchers (Bahithat).

She was also a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Arab Women Training and Research (CAWTAR); the Arab Human Development Report 2005: Towards the Rise of Women in the Arab World; and the UN-ESCWA Justice Report in the Arab World (forthcoming).

She is cited in the 56th edition of Who’s Who in America of 2012.

Dr. Sbaity-Kassem holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration; and a Master’s degree in Development Administration from the American University of Beirut (AUB). She also holds a Master’s 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.