Manal Fatima is a program assistant at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative. In her role, she coordinates and facilitates the program’s activities while providing administrative support, particularly in overseeing the Iran Strategy Project and the broader initiative. Fatima’s focus lies in exploring the intersection between security and development, concerning protracted conflicts in the Middle East region and the complexities of development under nonstate actors, which often elude traditional Westphalian paradigms.

Before joining the Atlantic Council, Fatima interned at the National Council on US-Arab Relations and The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Fatima also worked for Limbik, a cognitive artificial intelligence company, where she used Limbik’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to counter misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation threats on social media platforms.

Fatima holds a Bachelor of Arts in quantitative economics and Middle East studies from Smith College. She also spent a year at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) as a General Course student. During her time at Smith and LSE, Fatima was actively involved in research pertaining to development economics in the Global South and the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). While in London, she also served as a MENA correspondent for LSE’s international affairs journal, the London Globalist.

Originally from Pakistan, Fatima’s approach to her work is characterized by a commitment to understanding the intricacies of the MENA region. She firmly believes that robust policy recommendations can only stem from a comprehensive understanding of both individuals and the societies they choose to be part of. In pursuit of this vision, she founded Fusayfsa’ (Mosaic) at Smith College, a journal dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of the MENA region through its people, and successfully published three issues as its editor-in-chief from 2020 to 2023.