About Us |  Staff |  Experts

Menapolis is a programmatic and research consultancy specializing in governance and development in the Middle East and North Africa, based in Istanbul, Turkey and Beirut, Lebanon. We have our roots in the region, and we understand its unique needs and challenges.


Menapolis’ competitive advantage is rooted in its commitment to an integrated approach to research that informs key decision makers while adequately addressing constituent needs. Complimenting and informing its programmatic work, Menapolis has conducted extensive policy research and advisory work, in Arabic and English, facilitating local knowledge production on regional and global levels.


Backed by a strong team of experts with extensive regional and international portfolios across diverse industries including international law, cyber-security, international development, research and governance, Menapolis has a proven track record in providing integrated solutions to complex issues. In addition to its team of experts, Menapolis’ roots in the MENA and its growing regional presence guarantees access to a wide network of consultants, journalists, lawyers, and activists.

Marwan Maalouf,
Principal and Co-Founder

Marwan Maalouf is a human rights lawyer focusing on the rule of law and political reforms in the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to founding Menapolis, Marwan oversaw programs on human rights and democracy in Syria, Tunisia and Algeria for the Washington, D.C. based human rights organization Freedom House. Later on he became the Tunisia Country Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, where he managed projects focused on building media journalism capacities across Tunisia. Marwan holds a law degree from the Université Saint Joseph in Beirut, and a LL.M. in International Legal Studies from Georgetown University Law Center. His writings on the transitions in the Arab world have appeared in publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and POMED, the Project on Middle East Democracy.

Katherine Maher,
Principal and Co-Founder

Katherine Maher is the Chief Communications Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia and world's fifth most popular website. She is an expert on the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy, and international development. Prior to joining Wikimedia, Katherine was Advocacy Director for the international digital rights organization Access, an advisor to the World Bank on technology for accountability and good governance, internet Freedom Program Officer with the National Democratic Institute, and a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team. She studied at the American University in Cairo, IFPO Damascus, New York University, and THNK: the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership.

Nizar Ghanem,
Principal and Co-Founder

Nizar Ghanem is qualitative research consultant with more than 9 years experience in policy research and training. Nizar was the leading research analyst for multiple needs assessment and baseline surveys for UNICEF, Search for Common Grounds, World Learning and Save the Children. Before founding Menapolis, Nizar was previously a Senior Analyst at the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies. He has served as a consultant with various international organizations, including the World Bank, UNICEF, and Save the Children. Nizar has authored reports and published scholarly articles on a variety of topics related to governance and development in the Middle East region, and lectured on conflict resolution at the Lebanese American University in Lebanon. He holds a Masters in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University, The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). 

Frederic Froger,
Finance Officer

Frederic Froger is in charge of all financial aspects of the projects and programs conducted by Menapolis. He started his career as economic analyst in the French Trade Commission in Ankara, and then built a 10-year experience as credit analyst in Corporate & Retail Banking industry, both in France and Turkey. Frederic holds a BA in Business Economics from Teesside Business School (UK), as well as a Masters in Macroeconomics from La Sorbonne University (France).

Wael Kays,
Program Assistant

Wael Kays coordinates communications and training implementation with our local partners. Wael previously worked as director of distribution for various Syrian publishing houses. Wael is a published author with articles featured in several Syrian and Arabic newspapers, including Al-Quds Al-Arabi and Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspapers. Wael initially joined Menapolis as researcher and editor for Menapolis’ Arabic language publications.

Nizar Amine,
Good Governance & Advocacy Expert

Nizar Amine is an expert trainer in citizenship, non-violent tactics, social organizing and strategic planning. He has more than 11 years of experience working in capacity building for political and social movements. With deep roots in regional civil activism, Nizar has led and organized several civil campaigns on gender, memory and reconciliation, death penalty, civil marriage, electoral law, and civic education. Nizar has conducted hundreds of trainings for various local and international organizations, including UNFPA, UNHABITAT, and the European Institute for Cooperation and Development (IECD). Nizar has also published several training manuals on citizenship and youth work. 

Sami Halabi,
Development & Public Policy Expert

Sami Halabi is a development policy consultant who specialises in analysing policies and programmes to provide evidence-based recommendations to policy-makers and international development agencies, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. His clients include several UN agencies, International NGOs, government and media outlets. Sami holds a Master of Public Policy with Distinction from The University of Edinburgh.

Monica Leonardo,
Rule of law & Transitional Justice Expert

Monica Leonardo is a consultant on transitional justice, justice and security sector reform, gender, HIV and LGBT rights. She has served as a consultant to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and worked on security and justice sector development programs for the United Nations Development Program. She has collaborated extensively with international non governmental organizations such as the International HIV/Aids Alliance and Counterpart International. Monica has helped spur numerous local and national human rights reforms in her native Guatemala. She received her Law degree from Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala, and her LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, in Washington, D.C., where she attended as a Fulbright Foreign Scholar.

Maher Abou Shackra,
Quantitative Research Expert

Maher Abou Shackra is a research consultant specialized in socio-economic and socio-political research with 9 years experience on social, political, economic, and media research in Lebanon and the Middle East. Maher worked as a research manager in ARA Research and Consultancy handling many of its biggest accounts. He also worked as a research consultant for projects with various corporations, organizations, and governmental sector such as Al Iktissad wal Amal Group, Dar Al Amal, War Child Holland, Ministry of Social Affairs in Lebanon, and TeKnow Group Ltd.

Maysa Mourad,
Education Expert

Maysa Mourad completed her BA in Peace and Justice Studies and minor in Economics from Wellesley College. She then pursued her Ed.M in International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her interests are in peace-building, conflict transformation, citizenship education, human rights education, and writing case studies.

She has worked across the region in multiple avenues: capacity building of NGOS, designing training workshops, professional development of teachers, and educational program development.