Links to scholarly contributions & the current activities of Fellows of the Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS)
Research Officer at LSE
Dr Jinan Al-Habbal is a Research Officer at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is investigating the lack of judicial independence and its impact on accountability and democracy in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, as part of the “Legitimacy and Citizenship in the Arab World” project funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Jinan holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. Her research examined how consociationalism hinders democratization efforts in postwar Lebanon and Iraq. She is the co-author of The Politics of Sectarianism in Postwar Lebanon (Pluto Press, 2015).
I graduated from Damascus Law School in 2011, came to the UK in 2013 and pursued two postgraduate degrees at the University of St Andrews, one in Management and one in International Relations. After which I worked in the City of London for various law firms and humanitarian NGOs. Nowadays I am a PhD Researcher in Political Science at the University of Bath. My research focuses on terrorist rhetoric from a Socio-Psychological angle.
Recent PhD Graduate
Ferdinand Arslanian has recently earned his PhD from the University of St Andrews, School of International Relations. His thesis attempts to explain the interaction of international and domestic factors that allowed the Syrian regime to cope with economic sanctions during the Syrian crisis. He has contributed to several chapters and articles of the Center’s publications where his work mainly focuses on the country’s political economy. Ferdinand also possesses professional experience in Syrian public policy analysis and advisory.
Lecturer in Middle Eastern Politics
I am currently a Lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Institute, University of Exeter.
As point of responsibility, I am the convenor and lead for two Modules one for MA students “State and Society in the Middle East”, and the other module for undergraduate students “Home Lands” to “Host States”: Migration, Displacement and Diaspora in the Middle East”. I am working now on two projects, the first one with Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies about the demographic changes in Syria, and the second one with St Andrews university about Sectarianization in Syria.
Lecturer in International Relations
Francesco Belcastro is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Derby and a Fellow at the Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St Andrews. His main areas of research are conflict and security, foreign policy and politics of the Levant (particularly Israel/Palestine and Syria). His current research looks at external actors’ involvement in civil wars. He is also interested in the politics of Israel and Palestine and is currently working on a project that deals with sport and politics in the region. His first monograph, published by Routledge, analyses the foreign policy of Syria during the years 1963-1989.
Senior Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Edinburgh
Michelle works on a variety of aspects relating to international law across the Arab world. Her work on Syria explores the role of non-state actors pursuing international criminal accountability in relation to the Syrian conflict.
Leiden Journal of International Law, 2020.
European Journal of International Law, Volume 30, Issue 4, November 2019.
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford
Dawn Chatty is Emeritus Professor in Anthropology and Forced Migration and former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. She was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2015. Her research interests include refugee youth in protracted refugee crises, conservation and development, pastoral society and forced settlement She is the author of Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East Cambridge University Press, 2010, From Camel to Truck, White Horse Press, 2013, and Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State, Hurst Publishers, 2018. 2017).
Communication and Outreach Manager
Serene Dardari is a Humanitarian communication specialist and Art Director. She is Anera’s Lebanon communication manager and storyteller; a D.C based nonprofit organization. Her bachelor educational background is a combination of International Affairs and Communications Arts. She completed an MA in Conflictology from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Crisis Management.
Serene has been working with refugee communities, in both Syria and Lebanon, for the past 9 years. She founded Chams Network, an initiative-based nonprofit, and implemented a series of social action projects.
She is a certified grant writer and a proposal-writing trainer.
Serene is a TEDx speaker and a ‘Women Deliver’ fellow. In 2019, she received the “Exceptional Women of Excellence” award in New Delhi India, at the Women Economic Forum.
James Denselow is a writer on Middle East politics and security issues. He completed his Masters at Kings College London (KCL) on International Boundary Studies and Middle Eastern Geopolitics and is finishing a PhD at KCL into Iraqi-Syrian state building. He has worked extensively in the Middle East, including research for foreign policy think tank Chatham House, writing and reporting for several media publications and for communications and advocacy work with international NGOs. He is a contributing author to “An Iraq of Its Regions: Cornerstones of a Federal Democracy?” and “America and Iraq: Policy-making, Intervention and Regional Politics Since 1958”
Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, Korea
Jörg Michael Dostal holds degrees from NUI Galway, FU Berlin and the University of Bath and obtained his doctorate from the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College). He is the co-author of ‘Syria and the Euro-Mediterranean Relationship’, St Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria (Lynne Rienner 2008) and of ‘Analyzing the Domestic and International Conflict in Syria: Are There Lessons from Political Science?’ (Syria Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2014). His research concerns comparative politics and comparative public policy with a focus on the interaction between international organizations and transition countries and has been published in journals such as ‘Global Social Policy’, ‘Journal of European Public Policy’, ‘Korean Journal of Policy Studies’ and ‘Social Policy and Administration’.
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Central European University/Centre for Religious Studies
I am a post-doctoral research fellow at the Central European University/Centre for Religious Studies and an associate Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews/Centre for Syrian Studies. My research interests revolve around issues of identity and political violence with a specific focus on tribal communities in relation to the Syrian and the Iraqi state.
Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Senior Lecturer of Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Department of Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University. His publications includes “Early Ḥadīth Scholars and their Criteria of Ḥadīth Criticism”, “On the Origins of Ḥadīth Terminology: the Dividing Line Between Early and Late Ḥadīth Scholars”, “The Rise of Syrian Salafism: From Denial to Recognition”, “Ḥadīth Studies in Syria: Reshaping Ḥadīth Criticism in the 20th Century”, “The Development of Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth During the Seljuk Era”, “The Sunnah” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Bioethics. His research interests focus on Qur’ān, Ḥadīth, Tasawwuf and Ethics.
Graduated with an Honours degree in Arabic and Islamic studies, then worked for twenty-five years in the field of humanitarian response with a focus on the Middle East. He holds the degrees of Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, presenting research on humanitarian access and identity in conflicts and complex emergencies. Latest publication pending: Humanitarians on the Frontier. The political boundaries and the social bonds of voluntary service (Rowman and Littlefield).
|أستاذ الفقه الإسلامي في جامعة أبو ظبي|
|تخرجت من جامعة دمشق ليسانس وماستر وعملت محاضراً في جامعة دمشق كلية الشريعة ثم التحقت بجامعة القرآن الكريم للدكتوراة، ثم عينت أستاذاً في كلية الدعوة الإسلامية في دمشق، ثم انتخبت عصواً في البرلمان السوري 9 سنوات، ثم غادرت سوريا.
التحقت بجامعة أبو ظبي أستاذ مشارك للفقه الإسلامي كأستاذ متفرغ 2012، ثم انتظمت في جامعة الشارقة كلية الشريعة والدراسات الإسلامية، ومركز الدوحة لحوار الأديان وكذلك عضو في مجلس امناء الجامعة الإسلامية العالمية في إسلام آباد، وعضو في عدة هيئات جامعية.
صدر لي نحو 65 كتاباً مطبوعاً أبرزها: الإسلام والدبلوماسية، النبي الديمقراطي، إخاء الأديان، أبطال السلام في الإسلام، إسلام بلا عنف، أشواق داغستان، سيرة رسول الله، نظام الحكم في الإسلام (مقرر في جامعة أبو ظبي)
I graduated from Damascus University with a BA and MA and worked as a lecturer at Damascus University, College of Sharia, then joined the Holy Quran University for a Ph.D., then I was appointed a professor at the College of Islamic Call in Damascus, then I was elected as a member of the Syrian Parliament for 9 years, then I left Syria. She joined Abu Dhabi University as Associate Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence as a full-time professor in 2012, then she joined the University of Sharjah, College of Sharia and Islamic Studies, and the Doha Center for Interfaith Dialogue, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, and a member of several university bodies. About 65 printed books have been published for me, the most prominent of which are: Islam and diplomacy, the democratic prophet, brotherhood of religions, champions of peace in Islam, Islam without violence, longing for Dagestan, biography of the Messenger of God, and the system of government in Islam (course at Abu Dhabi University)
Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, George Mason Unieversity
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the acclaimed series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA’s Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book titled Understanding The Syrian Tragedy: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).
Janet W. Ketcham Professor of Middle East Studies, Smith College
Steven Heydemann holds the Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair in Middle East Studies at Smith College, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government. He is also a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution. From 2007–15 he held a number of leadership positions at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., including vice president of applied research on conflict and senior adviser for the Middle East.
Natosha is a PhD candidate at the University of St Andrews studying hydropolitics of conflict in Syria and holds an MSc from the University of Edinburgh in International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic. She currently works as a Research Assistant at the Fund for Peace where she is working on the Fragile State Index and authoring a Resilience Report on Iraq for the Islamic Development Bank. Previously, she was a Research Associate at LLNL’s Center for Global Security Research where she researched conflict trends in Syria and Iraq through the lens of water governance and climate change.
Author & Historian
Omar Imady is the author, co-author and editor of several books on Syria, including The Rise and Fall of Muslim Civil Society; The Syrian Uprising: Domestic Origins and Early Trajectory; Syria at War: Five Years On; Syria at War: Eight Years On; and Historical Dictionary of Syria. Imady is also the author of several articles and chapters on specialised subjects, including rural poverty, Islamist organizations, reconstruction, reconciliation, and Sufism. In addition to his scholarly activity, Imady is also a poet and a novelist; his novels have been translated into several languages.
The Unauthorised Biography of a Damascene Reformer. PEN & SWORD BOOKS LIMITED, 2021.
When Her Hand Moves. Villa Magna Publishing, 2021.
Class of 1955 Distinguished Chair in Global and Middle East Studies, US Naval Academy
My past research focused on security issues surrounding Syria. I am currently working on a book documenting the evolution of authoritarianism in Syria
Global Financial Crime Compliance – HSBC
Rashad Kattan is a multi-lingual political economist and financial crime compliance specialist. Rashad has advised various public and private stakeholders, including multinational corporations, on how to navigate complex geopolitical, security, compliance and business environments. Rashad holds MSc in Security Studies from University College London (UCL), and a BA in Business Administration from Kingston University in London. Rashad was a fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, and an Executive Board member of MENA Regional Council at the US Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).
Director, Energy Politics and Markets Research Centre, Istanbul Aydin University
Assistant Professor Dr. Filiz Katman holds a BA in Economics (in English) from Istanbul University, an MA in Political Science and International Relations (in English) from Marmara University, a PhD in International Security and Terrorism from National Defence University, certificates from Harvard University Humanitarian Assistance in Conflict and Disaster Program, Oxford University Pembroke College Changing Character of War Programme, Yale University Program on War, Conflict and Order, NATO International School, and NATO Centre of Excellence on Defence Against Terrorism. Currently, Dr. Katman is Executive Board President at the Energy Politics and Markets Research Centre (EPPAM) since 2010 (founder of the first research centre on energy politics in Turkey), Editor-in-Chief at EPPAM Policy Brief, and Erasmus Coordinator of Department of Political Science and International Relations (in English) at Istanbul Aydin University. She is the MC (country representative) of COST Project CA18228-Global Atrocity Justice Constellations and researcher at CA16232-Energy Poverty Agenda Co-Creation and Knowledge Innovation (working group 1-2-4), CA17135-Constitution Making and Deliberative Democracy (working group 2-3),and CA18236-Multi-Disciplinary Innovation for Social Change. She is recipient of several awards and scholarships in both the domestic and international arenas, and has published several articles and books on terrorism, security, political violence, cyber threats, energy policy, energy security, Kurdish politics, Syria, Eurasia and NATO. She is regularly consulted by BBC World News due to her expertise, and is Editor for National Security and Physical Geography at Editorial Advisory Group of Cambridge Scholars Publishing, a Member of TUBITAK Academic Research Funds as Observatory Panellist, TOBB(The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey) Istanbul Women Entrepreneurs Council, Executive Board of Energy Business Council at Foreign Economic Relations Board-DEIK and Honorary Advisory Board Member at Foreign Energy Investors Council.
PhD researcher / Freelance consultant
Rana Khalaf is a published Syrian scholar and activist who works on civil society and local governance issues in (post)-revolutionary contexts in the MENA region. She is a PhD candidate at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester. She is also a fellow with the Centre for Syrian Studies at the University of St. Andrews. Rana’s thesis tackles local governance at the intersection of peace and state formation, with a focus on areas of limited statehood in northern Syria.
Rana’s research is complemented by her work with civil society and by her consultancy work. Rana has evaluated projects and provided research and policy advice to key stakeholders including: the European Commission, Chatham House, UNESCWA, INGOs like the Asfari Foundation, Democracy Reporting International and Syrian organizations like the Syrian Female Journalist Network.
Line Khatib has a PhD from McGill university. She is associate professor of political science. Her publications include Islamic Revivalism in Syria: the Rise and Fall of Bathist Secularism, and Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar: the ‘Sectarianization’ of the Syrian Conflict and the Undermining of Democratization in the region, and many other journal articles and edited volume chapters. Her research interests focus on comparative politics in ‘Islamism’, secularism, authoritarianism, democratization and liberalization, and liberalism in the Arab World.
Mackey Chair of Middle East Studies
Joshua Landis is Sandra Mackey Chair and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and the Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Oklahoma in the Boren College of International Studies.
He writes and manages “SyriaComment.com,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 50,000 page-reads a month.
Dr. Landis publishes frequently in policy journals such as Foreign Affairs, Middle East Policy and Foreign Policy. His book: Syria at Independence, Nationalism, Leadership, and Failure of Republicanism will be published by the Arab Center for research and Policy studies this coming year. He is a frequent analyst on TV, radio, and in print and is a regular on NPR and the BBC.
He has received three Fulbright Grants, a SSRC Grant and other support for his research and won numerous prizes for his teaching. He is past President of the Syrian Studies Association.
He has lived 15 years in the Middle East and 4 in Syria. He spent most summers in Syria before the uprising on 2011.
He was educated at Swarthmore (BA), Harvard (MA), and Princeton (PhD).
Fred H. Lawson
Professor of Government Emeritus of Mills College and Visiting Professor of International Relations, Emirates Diplomatic Academy
My published research on Syria analyzes domestic sources of Syrian foreign policy, shifts in Syria’s relations with Iran and Turkey, the sectarianization of the 2010-11 civil war, the impact of that war on surrounding countries and the history of the People’s Party. Forthcoming work will untangle the overlapping dynamics of post-conflict state formation in Syria and Iraq.
Reader International Politics and Middle East Studies
Dr Reinoud Leenders is a Reader in International Relations and Middle East Studies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He obtained his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies from London University. His research interests and teaching focus on Middle East politics generally and Syria, Lebanon and Iraq in particular. His work deals with the political economy of corruption, authoritarian governance, refugee issues, and conflict. Reinoud authored several articles in academic journals and edited volumes and Spoils of Truce: Corruption and State Building in Post-War Lebanon (Cornell University Press 2012) and formerly worked for the International Crisis Group based in Beirut, and for the University of Amsterdam. He regularly gives advice on matters related to Syria and Lebanon to foreign policymakers, international NGOs, private companies and law firms.
Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of Middle East History
David W. Lesch is the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of History at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, USA. He is the author or editor of 16 books, including: “Syria: A Modern History” (Polity Press); “The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History” (Oxford University Press); “Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad” (Yale University Press); and “The Middle East and the United States” (6th edition, Rutledge). His next book (out in 2022) is entitled, “The History of the Middle East: From the Prophet Muhammad to the Present” (Oxford University Press). He frequently consults with the US government, the UN, and other entities on Middle East issues, has appeared in over 15 documentaries on Middle East topics, and is on the board of numerous NGOs and other organizations that deal with the Middle East.
Middle East researcher, FOI
Aron Lund is a Swedish specialist in Syrian and Middle Eastern politics. Since 2020, he researches Middle Eastern and Mediterranean security at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). He is also a fellow at The Century Foundation. Lund previously worked with the Carnegie Endowment, the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In 2018–2020, he headed the TCF project “Insurgent Fragmentation and State Attachment in the Syrian Civil War” with support from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He has an M.A. from Uppsala University and studied Arabic in Damascus, Algiers, Cairo, and Amman.
Associate professor, Østfold University College, Norway
Rania is a political scientist (University of Oslo, 1992). Her research focuses on citizenship and the relationship between religion, law and politics. She has done fieldworks in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Kuwait and Qatar. Her publications include “Gender, family law and citizenship in Syria” (Citizenship Studies, 2010); “Female citizenship in Syria: Framing the 2009 controversy over personal status law” in Syria from Reform to Revolt (2015); ” Female Citizenship under Authoritarian Rule: Baʿthist Syria and Beyond” (Bustan, 2018); and «Patriarchal Nationality laws in the Middle East ” in Routledge Handbook on Citizenship in the Middle East (2021).
Founding Chair of The Damascus History Foundation
Sami Moubayed is a Syrian historian specialized in pre-Baath Syria. He has written many books in Arabic and English, the most recent of which is The Makers of Modern Syria: The rise and fall of Syrian Democracy 1918-1958 (Bloomsbury Press 2018). His previous book Under the Black Flag (IB Tauris, 2015) was a bestseller that was translated into Swedish, Spanish, Slovenian, Korean, and Japanese. Previously he had worked as a researcher at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center. He was also a university professor in Syria during the years 2005-2012.
Dr Yasmine Nahlawi is a legal consultant with research focus on the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) doctrine and the Syrian conflict. She is also a guest lecturer at various British and American universities and delivers international law training to non-governmental and civil society organisations. Dr Nahlawi has published widely on Syria and appears regularly on television and radio forums to comment upon recent developments within the country. Her recent book is ‘The Responsibility to Protect in Libya and Syria: Mass Atrocities, Human Protection, and International Law’ (Routledge 2019). Dr Nahlawi received her PhD in Public International Law from Newcastle University in 2016.
Senior Researcher at CNRS-IREMAM
Thomas Pierret is a Senior Researcher at CNRS-IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence, France. He holds a PhD in Political science from Sciences Po Paris and the University of Louvain. He was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh (2011-2017) and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. He is the author of Religion and State in Syria. The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Islam in Post-Ottoman Syria (Oxford Bibliographies, 2016). His current research interests include political Islam, Islamic militancy, and rebel politics in Syria.
Syria’s “Sunni Question” is Here to Stay (Berkley Forum, 2021);
Sunni Islamists: From Syria to the Umma, and Back (Syria: Borders, Boundaries, and the State, Matthieu Cimino ed., Springer, 2020);
Syrian Arab Republic (Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, 9th edition, Sean Yom ed., Routledge, 2019).
Neil is a foreign affairs specialist with extensive experience consulting to government officials and corporate clients on geopolitics and energy in the Middle East. His previous positions include CEO of Castlereagh Associates and senior Energy Adviser to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is currently writing a report with Chatham House colleague Sanam Vakil on Stepping Stones: How to Manage Iran, the JCPOA and
Regional Security in the Middle East and working on a research project: Rising Regional Influencers: An Examination of Emirati-Israeli Smart Power in the Middle East.
I hold a PhD on Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Autónoma University of Madrid and have published several papers and a book on the history and evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. In addition, my research has focused on the dynamics of the Syrian revolution and I am currently focusing on narrative and memory in the Syrian context.
Ola Rifai is a fellow at the Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS) at St. Andrews University and holds MPhil degree in International Relations (2014) from the same institution, and MA degree in International Politics (2011) from City University London. Her research interests include the international politics of the Middle East, identity politics, nationalism and ethnic conflict. She is a regular contributor at CSS blog and published articles and book chapters on Syria politics. Ola is based in New York where she works as a freelance political consultant.
Rifai, Ola ‘The paradoxical role of media; a tool for sectarian polarisation and for reconciliation?’, Asian Politics and Policy Volume 6 #Issue 03, 2014 .
Rifai, Ola ‘The Kurdish identity from banishment to empowerment’ Syria Studies VOL 8 NO 2 2016.
Ola Rifai and Raymond Hinnebusch “Syria identity, state formation and citizenship” in N Butenschon and R. Meijer, ed The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World (2017) Brill; Boston .
Ola Rifai “The Sunni/Alawite identity clashes during the Syrian Uprising” in R, Hinnebusch and O. Imady The Syrian Uprising; Domestic Origins and Early Trajectory (2018)’;Routledge London .
Senior Fellow, Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center
Yezid Sayigh leads the program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States (CMRAS) at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. His work focuses on the comparative political and economic roles of Arab armed forces and nonstate actors, the impact of war on states and societies, and the politics of postconflict reconstruction and security sector transformation in Arab transitions, and authoritarian resurgence.
Linda Schatkowski Schilcher
Retired Professor, currently researcher, translator and editor
Born in Philadelphia. Graduated with BA from Indiana University as a student of P.J. Vatikiotis and Ilya Harik; MA from AUB as a student of Malcolm Kerr and Samir Khalaf; then completed DPhil as a student of Albert Hourani and Roger Owen at St.Antony’s College of Oxford University. Thanks to support of Fritz Steppat I was employed as VW Foundation research scholar in Germany at the University of Mainz and the Institute for European History under the direction of Karl Otmar von Aretin. I then worked to become a tenured professor at Villanova University in Philadelphia, where I founded the Syrian Studies Association. The shift to the University of Arkansas proved less fortunate.
My scholarly interests continue to focus on Syria prior to WWII; have published on the history of the city of Damascus (“Families in Politics” also available in Arabic translation), Syria’s agriculture and grain trade, and the conflicts in the Hauran during the Ottoman era. Have donated an extensive film archive of late Ottoman Sijlat to the German Orient Institute in Beirut, where it is available in digitalised format, thanks to the support its director, Birgit Schaebler. Presently semi-retired, I translate German works on the Middle East, and edit other publishable works. Now a German citizen, mother and grandmother, I enjoy nature, gardening, hiking and music.
Lecturer, Università Studi Internazionali (UNINT) Rome, Italy. Visiting researcher, Centro Estudos Internacionais, CEI ISCTE-IUL Lisbon, Portugal.
Aurora Sottimano specializes in Middle East politics and regional relations, with a focus on Syria. Her interests include authoritarian governance; political and economic reform; local administration, and migration. She is a lecturer at the International Studies University in Rome (UNINT, Italy) and visiting researcher in the Centre for International Studies (CEI ISCTE-IUL, Portugal). Previously she held research and lecturer positions at Leiden University (Netherlands), the British University in Egypt, the Orient Institut Beirut (Lebanon), and Amsterdam University (Netherlands). Her publications include “Syria in the resistance axis” in L. Matar and A. Kadri (eds.) Syria: from National Independence to Proxy war, Palgrave 2018.
Senior Researcher, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Faculty, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, Anders Strindberg is Senior Researcher at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) in Stockholm, Sweden, and also Senior Faculty at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California. His research interests centre on the intersection of norms, identity formation, and political violence. He is currently working on a manuscript on the political history of the Damascus-based ”rejectionist” trend within the Palestinian National Movement. Anders holds an MA and PhD in International Relations from St Andrews University and an MA in Theology from St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY.
Fellow, Middle East Program, CSIS
Will Todman is a fellow in the Middle East Program at CSIS. His research focuses on humanitarian issues, displacement, and conflict in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the Levant. His analysis on siege warfare in Syria has been published in peer-reviewed journals, by think tanks, and humanitarian organizations. Will holds a B.A. in Arabic and modern Hebrew from Oxford University and an M.A. in Arab studies from Georgetown University, where he studied Persian intensively.
I am a Professor of International Relations at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. I have been working on the role of outside powers, both state and violent non-state/hybrid actors in Syria, focusing on Turkey and Hizballah respectively. My current research focuses on Northern Syria and Turkey’s role in the region.
Professor at Lyon 2 University (France)
“Agrégation” in Arabic; PhD in political science (Paris); administrative/scientific secretary at IFEAD (Damascus, 1992-1997);
Researcher at CEDEJ in Cairo (2016-2017); specialty: Syria, Egypt, sectarianism, Arab armies;
Norm and Dissidence: Egyptian Shi‘a between Security Approaches and Geopolitical Stakes, Occasional Paper series, Georgetown University in Qatar (Center for International and Regional Studies, CIRS), Nov. 2019
Fatwâs et politique. Les sociétés musulmanes contemporaines aux prismes de la religion et de l’idéologie, Paris, Éditions du CNRS, mars 2020.
Senior research fellow at Clingendael
At Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit I leads a team that analyses the political economy of conflict in the Middle East. My own work examines the political use of armed groups in processes of state development and geopolitical conflict. In Syria, I focus mostly on the Kurdish YPG, Iran-linked ‘resistance groups’, European policy and the role of Syrian diaspora civil society.
Visual Anthropologist and Human Geographer (PhD), a Senior Lecturer in Communication for Development at the School of Arts and Communication, Faculty of Culture and Society at Malmö University, Sweden. She lived and worked in Aleppo between 1997 and 2002, and is carrying out several Swedish funded research projects with Syrian refugees. She is in the final stages of an ethnographic film project, with support from the Crafoord Foundation, documenting life histories of Syrian refugees over a period of 20 years. In 2019, she published a landmark book on the history of Syrian Documentary cinema and video activism with IB Tauris/Bloomsbury.
Senior Middle East Advisor for the Green Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag
Carsten Wieland is a diplomat, senior UN consultant, Middle East and mediation expert. He has served as a senior advisor with three UN Special Envoys for Syria and as senior Middle East advisor for the Green Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. He is lecturer at NYU Berlin, guest professor at the University Rosario in Bogotá, Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and previously at the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University. He studied history, political science and philosophy in Germany, in the US and India. His publications include Syria and the Neutrality Trap (2021).
Jordan Correspondent, The National
Khaled has been a journalist for 26 years, covering Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and oil markets from London, mostly for Reuters. He was for 3 1/2 years Visiting Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, writing research on Syria. In 2019 he became Chief Foreign Writer at The National newspaper in the UAE. Khaled is currently is the paper’s Jordan Correspondent.
Independent researcher of Syria
He received Ph.D. in Area Studies from Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan) in 2011, and B.A. from Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan) in 1998.
Previously, he served as Chief Research Fellow, the Middle East Research Institute of Japan in 2018-2019, and as Political attaché, Embassy of Japan in Syria in 2000-2003.
Professor at İstanbul Medeniyet University
Özden Zeynep Oktav is a Professor at İstanbul Medeniyet University. She is the author of the books entitled Turkey in the 21st Century Quest for a New Foreign Policy, Routledge, 2011 Limits of Relations with the West: Turkey Syria and Iran, Beta, Istanbul, 2008 and The Changing Dynamics of the Arab Gulf and Saudi Arabia-US-Iran Relations, Beta, Istanbul, 2011 co-editor of the book: Violent Non-State Actors and Syrian Civil War The ISIS and YPG Cases, (Springer, 2018), GCC-Turkey Relations: Dawn of a New Era, (GRC Press in Cambridge, 2015), She was a visiting Researcher at Cambridge University, UK and St. Andrews University, Scotland, UK in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Senior Researcher, German Development Institute
Tina’s research focuses on the political economy and state-society relations in the Middle East, especially labour markets, digitalization, social cohesion, and the renegotiation of social contracts. She holds a PhD from the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and previously worked at the University of Tübingen (Germany). Her publications include “The social contract as a tool of analysis” (World Development, with M. Loewe, A. Houdret), “Community effects of cash-for-work programmes in Jordan” (DIE study, with M. Loewe et al) and “Syria from reform to revolt” (2015, with R. Hinnebusch). Tina also provides policy advice in development cooperation.