Dr. Jessica Ashooh is a former nonresident senior fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. She is based in San Francisco, where she is Director of Policy for Reddit, the online discussion platform. In this capacity, she addresses a range of online and technology policy issues, from fake news to online terrorist recruiting. Previously, from 2015 to 2017, Ashooh served as Deputy Director for Madeleine Albright and Stephen Hadley’s bipartisan Middle East Strategy Task Force at the Atlantic Council. In this position, she focused on long-term strategy to more comprehensively address state failure and violent extremism in the Middle East and set the region on a more positive trajectory.
From 2011 to 2015, Ashooh worked as a senior analyst in the UAE Foreign Ministry’s Policy Planning Department in Abu Dhabi. She specialized on the crisis in Syria, and worked in close cooperation with the UAE special envoy for Syria to support the Geneva II peace process and with moderate elements of the Syrian political opposition. Ashooh also spent time in Erbil, Iraq in 2010 working as a consulting adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Planning.
Ashooh is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds a doctorate in international relations from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College), which she attended as a Marshall Scholar. Her doctoral research focused on ideological and bureaucratic infighting in US foreign policy toward the Middle East. Ashooh did her undergraduate studies at Brown University and also spent time at the American University of Beirut and at the Bourguiba Language Institute in Tunis. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, and others.