Maro Youssef is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on gender politics, social movements, and democratization in the Middle East and North Africa. She earned a BA in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a MA in Middle East Studies from the George Washington University. She was a Thomas R. Pickering fellow with the U.S. Department of State from 2006 to 2014 and served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), and at U.S. Embassy Tunis and U.S. Embassy Ankara.
Her dissertation examines Islamist and secular feminist civic associations that emerged after the 2010-2011 Revolution in Tunisia, and their relationships with the government, and foreign donors during the democratic transition. She draws on ethnographic methods, with a special focus on interviews and has conducted fieldwork in Tunisia and Washington D.C. Maro’s current research has been supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the Kisco Spirit Foundation, the University of Texas at Austin, the Association for the Study of Religion, and P.E.O. International.
Maro serves as a tutor and mentor to young women interested in politics, government, and academia. She wishes to see more women of color represented in politics and hopes to become a Congresswoman from California someday. Maro enjoys yoga and swimming breaststroke and butterfly in her free time.