DAWN's advocacy-driven research aims to uncover the anti-democratic practices and human rights violations of MENA governments supported by the United States, exposing the officials who serve as the agents of repression and the U.S.-based lobbyists promoting the interests of these abusive governments, and seek to hold them accountable. DAWN's foreign policy analysis examines political developments in the region and the impact of US policies on democracy, human rights, and national interests. DAWN also seeks to critically examine the approaches and methodologies to the region by the U.S. foreign policy community, including its role in maintaining support for militarized, abusive U.S. policies in the region, and offer recommendations for change.


We bring to light anti-democratic practices and human rights violations, analyze current social, political and cultural developments, and work to promote a new vision for the future of the Middle East and North Africa through our online publishing platform, "Democracy in Exile", featuring experts on, and exiles from, the region.

We seek to inform public opinion on matters related to democracy and human rights that otherwise would have been missed, forgotten, or overlooked.


DAWN'S advocacy is centered on accountability for human rights violators and reform of US policies and practices that currently support authoritarian, apartheid governments in the region. We work to hold abusers accountable by seeking sanctions and punishments against them. We expose the lobbyists who promote the interests of these abusive governments and urge reforms for the lobbying industry. We advocate for legislation to limit arms transfers to abusive MENA regimes, prohibit the access of foreign government lobbyists to our elected representatives, and bar U.S. officials from working for foreign governments after leaving their jobs.


Our online journal, Democracy in Exile, provides a platform through which democracy activists and analysts from the region can not only speak freely, but be heard by those in power, alongside leading international experts and policymakers. We seek to inform public opinion on political developments and U.S. foreign policy in the MENA region, while magnifying the voices of activists, political exiles, and analysts from the region. Their work is essential in generating political and societal pressure for change, raising public awareness, and improving political conditions in the region. Through our convenings and publications, we help create a network for voices supporting democracy and human rights and connect them to the broader discussions about the region.


The process of democratization, enhancing the rule of law, and building respect for human rights are fundamental aspirations of people worldwide, including in the MENA region.

Unrepresentative, abusive governments buttressed by international actors are not a law of nature and can and must be challenged. Despite the enormous challenges, we believe that change — however incremental — is possible through sustained advocacy and pressure.

We continuously monitor and evaluate our programs to ensure our approach toward change is clear and compelling. We believe in partnerships to strengthen our actions and enhance a common understanding of the issues in which we are involved.  

"Is there no other way for us? Must we choose between movie theaters and our rights as citizens to speak out, whether in support of or critical of our government's actions? Do we only voice glowing references to our leader's decisions, his vision of our future, in exchange for the right to live and travel freely — for ourselves and our wives, husbands and children too? …"

- Jamal KhashogGI, Washington Post, May 21, 2018

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We’re fighting for a ceasefire and accountability for Israeli and U.S. officials responsible for war crimes in Gaza.