What Does New Opinion Survey Data from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan Tell Us?

June 26, 2019 - 10:00 am

1030 15th St NW, 12th floor

The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and the Arab Barometer invite you to join us for a panel discussion to mark the release of new public opinion survey data on the state of the economy, institutional trust, migration, government performance, media consumption, corruption, and foreign relations in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. The survey data was collected by the Arab Barometer, a nonpartisan research network that provides insight into the social, political, and economic attitudes and values of ordinary citizens across the Arab world. 

A presentation of the survey data will be followed by a moderated panel discussion to discuss the implications for US policy and the region. 


Dr. Mark Tessler

Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor, Department of Political Science

University of Michigan

Dr. Kathrin Thomas

Research Associate

Arab Barometer

Dr. Abbas Kadhim

Director, Iraq Initiative

Atlantic Council

Mr. Faysal Itani

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

Atlantic Council

Moderated by:

Ms. Vivian Salama


The Wall Street Journal


Mark Tessler is one of the founders and a principal investigator of the Arab Barometer. He is the Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. Between 2005 and 2013, he also served as the University of Michigan’s Vice-Provost for International Affairs. Professor Tessler is the author, coauthor, or editor of fifteen books. These include: Public Opinion in the Middle East: Survey Research and the Political Orientations of Ordinary Citizens (2011); and his most recent book, supported by a Carnegie Scholar award, Islam and Politics in the Middle East: Explaining the Views of Ordinary Citizens (2015). Professor Tessler helped to found and served for nine years as president of the American Institute for Maghreb Studies, working closely with its research facilities in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. He has also directed or co-directed social science training programs in Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain; led multi-year institutional capacity building projects in Algeria, UAE, and Qatar; and organized programs that brought several dozen Arab social scientists to the University of Michigan for training. Professor Tessler has consulted for the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and other national and international organizations. He has also conducted research and written extensively on the Israel–Palestine conflict. He is the author of A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2009, 2nd edition), the first edition of which won national awards and was named a “Notable Book of the Year” by The New York Times.

Kathrin Thomas joined the Arab Barometer as research associate in February 2018. In collaboration with the director, she is responsible for the survey research design and management as well as data processing, cleaning, management, and documentation. She previously worked at the University of London as a research associate in survey methodology with the European Social Survey and other survey data. She has also worked on the Austrian National Election Study and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. Kathrin obtained her PhD at the University of Exeter in 2013 as Early Stage Marie Curie Researcher on the ELECDEM Initial Training Network on Electoral Democracy.

Abbas Kadhim leads the Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative. He is an Iraq expert and author of Reclaiming Iraq: The 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State. Most recently, he was a senior foreign policy fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He was formerly an assistant professor of national security affairs and Middle East studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University. He also previously held a senior government affairs position at the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, DC. His books includeGovernance in the Middle East and North Africa and The Hawza Under Siege: Studies in the Ba’th Party Archive. He earned a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Faysal Itani is a nonresident senior fellow with the Middle East programs at the Atlantic Council, where he focuses primarily on the Syrian conflict and its regional impact. He is also an adjunct professor of Middle East politics at George Washington University. Itani was born and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and has lived and worked in several Arab countries. Before joining the Atlantic Council, he was a risk analyst advising governments, corporations, and international organizations on political, economic, and security issues in the Middle East. Itani has repeatedly briefed the United States government and its allies on the conflict in Syria and its effects on their interests. He has been widely published and quoted in prominent media including The New York Times, TIME, Politico, The Washington Post, CNN, US News, Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Itani holds an MA in strategic studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a certificate in public policy from Georgetown University, and a BA in business from the American University of Beirut.

Vivian Salama joined The Wall Street Journal in May 2018 to cover the White House. She previously worked at NBC News, where she also covered the Trump White House and national politics. Vivian moved to Washington in 2016, having worked as a foreign correspondent for over a decade, reporting from more than 60 countries. Her byline has appeared in dozens of publications, including the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Foreign Affairs and Time. She served as the AP's Baghdad bureau chief from 2014 to 2016 at the height of ISIS's blitzkrieg across Iraq and Syria.