Yara Shawky is a grants officer in the Cairo office. She has worked in program management, political analysis, and policy reporting for more than 20 years.

Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2020, Yara worked with the European Union delegation in Cairo as a policy advisor, focusing on political and socio-economic developments in Egypt, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. She has worked with both the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute and the British Embassy as a program officer leading work on political and media reforms in Egypt.

Before this, Yara was a program manager at Save the Children in the regional program Naseej, focusing on youth development through community engagement. She started her career with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ regional office in Cairo, working in several roles involving refugee status determination, family unity, and community integration for the urban refugee community in greater Cairo.

Yara has conducted and published research on the status of civic space and internal governance of civil society organizations in the Middle East and North Africa. She studied political science at Cairo University and earned a master’s degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Malta and another master’s in public policy with focus on nonprofit management from the American University in Cairo. She was recently selected as an Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity with the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics.