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Joze Pelayo is an associate director at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, where he manages the China-Middle East line of work & podcast and the US-Gulf Arab states security cooperation portfolio with broad implications for regional and national security. Pelayo was listed by the Middle East Policy Council’s 40 Under 40 awards for rising Middle East experts. His research focuses on the politics, security, and diplomacy of the Gulf Arab states.

Prior to joining the council, Pelayo worked for the Arab Gulf States Institute, where he supported programming and digital media and conducted an independent research project on Iran and Hezbollah’s transnational network. He also led a research project on Arab Gulf-Latin America economic relations and partnerships. Previously, Pelayo worked at the Arab Center Washington DC, where he researched US foreign policy towards MENA during the Arab Spring. He has gained prior working and living experience in Lebanon, Russia, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the UAE, among others.

Pelayo is proficient in Modern Standard Arabic and the Lebanese dialect and is a former recipient of the Sultan Qaboos Arabic Language Scholarship (2018-2021) and an alumnus of the National Council of US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR). He completed his MA in International Development from the University of Oregon with a certificate in Nonprofit Management and a BA in Political Science from Southern Arkansas University.