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Since the 2013 coup, Egypt has seen massive and spreading human rights violations, part of a counterrevolution stretching across the Middle East. LGBTI Egyptians have been among the victims. Egypt today keeps more people imprisoned for their gender expression or for same-sex sexual conduct than any other country in the world.

Why? Why has a panic over sexuality and gender become a tool of the counterrevolution, and how do these abuses relate to other state crimes in Sisi’s repressive Egypt? This talk will also examine the role of the Obama administration in supporting the Sisi regime, and the contradictions in its declared support for LGBTI rights globally.

Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.


Introductory remarks

Ambassador Andras Simonyi, Managing Director, CTR


Scott Long,¬†founding director of Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program

Ahmed Hafez, founding member of Shayfeencom (Egypt), Atlas Corps fellow


Mihai Patru, Senior Fellow, CTR


Scott Long served as founding director of Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program until 2010, and since has been a human rights fellow at Harvard Law School. For the last three years he has lived in Cairo, working with Egyptian activists on responses to the mounting crackdown on sexuality and gender. Long has investigated and advocated against human rights abuses in countries including Albania, Egypt, Jamaica, Iraq, Romania, Russia, South Africa, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Ambassador Andras Simonyi joined SAIS following a successful career in multilateral and bilateral diplomacy, international non-governmental and governmental organizations, and in the private sector. He served as the Hungarian Ambassador to NATO and to the United States.

Ahmed Hafez is a founding member of Shayfeencom, a Human Rights NGO based in Cairo to enable the public to observe, monitor and report violations and government corruption. @Shayfeencom is also one of the leading organizations in defending political prisoners and arrests under the @Haqaneya project. Prior to 2011, he served in environmental protection, and community development work, especially in Sinai. Following the Egyptian revolution in 2011, Hafez became more and more active in gender equality, as well as protection of LGBT people in the Arab World. He is currently serving as an Atlas Corps fellow in Human Rights Campaign.

Mihai Patru is a Senior Fellow at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations. He is a former U.S. State Department Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellow. He writes broadly on the Middle East, with a particular focus on human rights, foreign policy and Arab leadership.