Joze Pelayo is a program assistant at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, where he assists in the management and research of a US-Arab Gulf counterterrorism cooperation initiative with broad implications for regional security; and the Strategic Litigation Project. Pelayo’s research focus includes transnational threats, Hezbollah, and international security. Pelayo has both living and working experience across the region and beyond.

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 internship experience in Lebanon, Russia, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.

Pelayo is also a scholarship awardee of advanced Arabic at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington DC and an alumn of the National Council of US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR). As an enthusiast of the arts and society scene in the Gulf and the broader Middle East, he also helps lead the efforts of the DC Cultural Majlis. 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.