Shaha Riza is an activist striving for democracy and reform in the Arab world. She graduated from the London School of Economics and St. Antony’s College, Oxford, writing her thesis on the subject of Tunisian-Egyptian relations from 1956 to 1965. Riza is currently a Gender Specialist at the World Bank, where she has been working in different capacities since 1997. For over 25 years, she has focused on engaging and supporting civil society in developing countries, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa with a special focus on women and women’s organisations. Prior to that she worked at the US National Endowment for Democracy, where she created and directed its Middle East programme. On many occasions, she has provided guidance and advice to funding entities both in the US and Europe interested in initiating political development programmes in the Middle East.