Hometown: Miami, Florida
Research Interests: Arab exile communities within the Middle East and Latin America
Aviselle is an Accelerated Masters in Arab Studies student with a concentration in Development in the Arab World. In 2015, she graduated from King’s Academy, an international boarding school in Madaba, Jordan, and was awarded the King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein Award of Excellence. During her undergraduate career at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, Aviselle interned at the Jordan River Foundation and World Refugee School in Amman, Jordan, and volunteered in the Summer Enrichment Program at King’s Academy to help talented students from underprivileged areas across the Kingdom develop their English skills. She has recently completed a year of study in Doha and Jerusalem.
Hometown: Show Low, Arizona
Research Interests: Refugees and displacement, education in the Arab world, war ethics, peace building, diplomacy in the Middle East
Caris graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri in 2018 with a BA in International Relations and Institutions and Policy. As an undergrad, she began to learn Arabic and developed a passion for studying politics in the Arab world. In 2016, Caris studied at Oxford University through the Oxbridge Honors Program, where she wrote extensively about political theory, Christian apologetics, and regional politics. Her senior research applied war ethics principles to the Iraq War; this reflects her broader interest in applying ethics to foreign policy. While in the MAAS program, Caris is excited to concentrate in politics and work toward proficiency in Arabic. Ultimately, she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization serving refugees in the Levant or pursue a career with the US State Department.
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Research Interests: Refugees and displacement in the Arab world, sustainability and efficacy of humanitarian relief practices, conflict stabilization, the role of education and civil society in the Arab world
Caroline graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a dual BA in Political Science and Global Studies and a minor in Arabic. During her time at UNC, Caroline was a recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship and pursued intensive Arabic studies in Cairo in 2013 and Rabat in 2014. Her undergraduate honors thesis evaluated the capabilities of civil society and political institutions in the Arab world in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. After graduation, Caroline worked as a photo editor for Al-Monitor and English teacher for AMIDEAST in East Jerusalem. She was selected as a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Junior Fellow in 2016 and conducted extensive research on Palestinian politics and nationalism as well as governance and social contracts in the Arab world. Prior to her studies at Georgetown, Caroline worked in Amman, Jordan teaching world history to middle and high school students and volunteered as an English teacher for Syrian refugees in Zaatari.
Hometown: Portland, OR
Research Interests: Agrarian political economy, rural development, land tenure, Maghrib studies, customary resource management, political ecology
David graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington in 2016 with a BA in International Political Economy. During his time at Puget Sound, David studied and conducted research in Indonesia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Morocco, and after graduation he continued studying Arabic in Oman, Jordan, and Morocco. Prior to matriculating into the MAAS program, he was a 2017-2018 Fulbright US Student Researcher in Morocco, where he investigated stakeholder narratives surrounding privatization of irrigated collective land in the Gharb region. David’s research has largely focused on issues of land ownership, foodways and identity, resource-driven conflict, shifting rural social structures, and the evolution of tenure policies in the Maghrib.
- “Assembling Land Access and Legibility: The Case of Morocco’s Gharb Region.” Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 26. (Forthcoming, January 2019).
- “Agrarian Capitalism and the Privatization of Collective Land in Morocco.” Journal of Undergraduate Research, Vol. VIII. 2017.
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Research Interests: Literature, migration
Diogo is a Brazilian journalist specializing in the Middle East. He has lived in Rabat, Jerusalem, Beirut, and Cairo. During the last several years, Diogo covered the 2013 Egyptian coup, the 2014 Gaza war, and the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. He has interviewed key political figures such as Israeli President Shimon Peres and Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad. Diogo has also conducted interviews with cultural personalities including Adonis, Amin Maalouf, and Nawal El-Saadawi. Outside of the region, he has covered the earthquakes in Nepal, the genocide centennial in Armenia, and the terror attacks in Paris, London, Manchester, and Barcelona. Diogo wrote the scripts of two comic books recently published in Brazil, ‘Remy’ and ‘Rasga Mortalhas.’
Hometown: Provo, Utah and Seattle, Washington
Research Interests: Migration, international law, human security, religion and gender
Eliza graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah in 2015 after completing a thesis on internal displacement and post-conflict development in Iraq. She has worked as a research assistant with The WomanStats Project and AidData, and won honors for research on the perceptions of refugees resettled in the US. Eliza was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) scholarship for study of the Bulgarian language from 2013 to 2014, and studied Arabic in Rabat, Morocco with a CLS grant in 2014. She then moved to Amman, Jordan and completed research on the NGO sector, interning with Generations for Peace and UNICEF. From 2017 to 2018, Eliza was a Fulbright US Student Researcher in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she examined local advocacy for refugee rights and worked for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Her essays and poetry have been featured in Popula, Barrow Street Review, Rufous City Review, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere.
Hometown: Porsgrunn, Norway
Research Interests: Modern security politics of the Arabian Peninsula, the war in Yemen, Jihadi Salafism, international relations of the Middle East
Emma graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2016 with a BA in Arabic and History. She also spent a year at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. After graduating from SOAS, Emma co-founded the Refugee Utility Project (RUP), an NGO that works with refugees in Zarqa and Zaatari Village, Jordan, as well as Rukban and Dara’a, Syria. RUP started as an emergency intervention initiative but transitioned to the field of remedial and informal education for at-risk Syrian and Jordanian children. Emma interned at the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project, focusing on Yemeni security policy, and at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Amman before joining MAAS at Georgetown. After graduation, Emma hopes to work as a foreign policy analyst focusing on the Arabian Peninsula.
Hometown: Homs, Syria
Research Interest: Development, education, refugees and displacement
Grace graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 2018 with a BA in Peace and Global Studies and Comparative Languages and Linguistics. As an undergraduate, she was heavily involved in student government, serving in different roles and on multiple committees. Grace was also a strong advocate for international students’ rights and promoted awareness of the Palestinian cause. She has interned at UNRWA USA (the United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) in Washington, DC, where she served as a research and administrative intern. Grace has been serving as a selection officer and a PR manager for the United World Colleges Syrian National Committee for the past four years. Her past research has focused on finding alternative solutions to protracted camp placements and the viability and sustainability of multilingual national policies. Grace hopes that her time at CCAS will allow her to utilize lessons from those former experiences and focus on how education can be used as a tool in development work in the region.
Hometown: Rochester, New York
Research Interests: Extremism, Daesh, post-invasion Iraq, state and military penetration
Grant graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 2017 with a BA in Middle East and North African Studies and a minor in Religious Studies. During the summer of 2016, he researched the ways in which the Islamic State group manipulates religious tradition in their propaganda. Grant’s senior thesis examined the ways in which former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq professionalized the Islamic State group. This study necessitated an examination of the role of American policies after the 2003 invasion, as they were largely responsible for the marginalization of the country’s Sunni population. After graduating from Allegheny, he worked in the technology training industry before spending the spring of 2018 in Morocco studying Arabic at the Qalam wa Lawh Center. Grant hopes to continue his study of extremism in the MAAS program and to integrate the study of state and military penetration into his academic work.
Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
Research Interests: Authoritarianism, politics of the Gulf, Iraq, Turkey
Greg graduated cum laude from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois in 2012 with a BA in International Relations. He studied Arabic, political culture, and development models of the Gulf in Oman as the 2011 regional uprisings began, and his research focused on regime responses to opposition movements in Yemen, Oman, and Bahrain. Greg has also traveled in the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Cyprus, and the Balkans. He has lived in DC for six years, where he has worked for the Wyss Foundation’s Economic Security and Women’s Equality programs, overseeing a portfolio of grants and projects aimed at reducing poverty and economic inequality in the US.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Research Interests: Environmental and energy politics in the Middle East, local governance and peacebuilding in Syria, Arab-Kurdish relations
Jacob graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas in 2013 with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. In his final year at Trinity, he served as a research assistant for a joint research project between Harvard University, Trinity University, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs to identify areas of common ground between the Syrian government and Syrian opposition groups. After graduating, Jacob continued his work on peacebuilding in Syria at Conflict Dynamics International (CDI), a peacebuilding and humanitarian policy non-profit based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. At CDI, he had the opportunity to lead research projects on local opposition governance structures in Syria and to support joint workshops and research initiatives with international and local partners, including the United Nations, swisspeace, and Farik Beirut. Jacob also spent a year working as an Intelligence Analyst for UnitedHealthcare Global, assisting clients in assessing security threats to overseas operations and staff.
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Research Interests: Sharia/Islamic law, international human rights, disability studies, the human rights approach to disability, development
Jinseul graduated cum laude from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont in 2017 with a BA in Political Science. During her time at Middlebury, she was awarded two grants (Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs Study Abroad Research Grant & Academic Outreach Endowment Grant) to conduct a research project that analyzed clienteles’ practices and their impact on the implementation of rights-based disability policies in Jordan. Jinseul spent a summer in Rabat, Morocco at Qalam wa Lawh Institute in 2015 and a semester in Jordan at the University of Jordan in 2016 studying Modern Standard Arabic. She hopes to pursue a career in policy work with a focus on disability policies in the Middle East. More specifically, Jinseul hopes to address systemic disability issues and devise creative and tailored policies that will directly impact persons with disabilities.
Hometown: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Research Interests: The Israel-Palestine conflict, US foreign relations with countries of the Arab World, particularly in relation to Palestine, Islam, and democracy
Lennon graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2016 with a BA in History and a minor in Arabic Language and Culture. He wrote his senior thesis on development in Palestine and the US role in the Oslo Accords. Following graduation, Lennon taught English in Madrid before receiving a year-long fellowship from Vassar to study Modern Standard Arabic in Rabat, Morocco. Vassar has also sponsored Lennon’s studies in Amman, Jordan, and China. As a MAAS student, Lennon will be studying Islamic modernism and the history of the modern Arab world, as well as working at the CCAS front desk.
Hometown: Ipswich, United Kingdom
Research Interests: Role of the military in Arab economies, labor market dysfunction in the Arab world
Marcus graduated from Cambridge University in 2016 with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies. He then worked as an analyst for TS Lombard, an investment research firm based in London, where he advised institutional clients on Middle Eastern politics and macroeconomics, mostly looking at Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Marcus’ research interests particularly focus on the role of the military in Arab economies and on labor market dysfunction in the region.
Hometown: Yarmouth, Maine
Research Interests: Educational representations of Arabs and Muslims, Islamophobia in the United States, grassroots social movements in the Middle East
Melissa graduated summa cum laude from New York University Abu Dhabi in 2018 with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and a concentration in Arabic Language. For her undergraduate thesis, Melissa researched how political, religious, and economic factors influence the negative representations of Arabs and Muslims in American textbooks. Having studied in the UAE for the past four years, Melissa is excited to return to the United States to focus her studies on reforming American education about the Middle East and Islam in order to capture the nuance and dynamism of the region and religion.
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Research Interests: France’s ‘mission civilisatrice’ in North Africa, portrayals and justifications of violence during the Algerian War of Independence, minority groups in the Arab World, navigating colonial ‘modernity,’ emerging nationalist movements
Michael earned his BA in History from the University of Oregon, during which time he studied Arabic and French, tutored international students learning English, and spent a year in Rabat, Morocco studying politics and history. While in Rabat, Michael interned at the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca. Upon his return to Oregon, Michael completed an undergraduate thesis in which he analyzed the discourse of ‘modernity’ found in L’Avenir Illustre, a Moroccan Jewish newspaper (published 1926-1940). After completing his undergraduate degree, Michael worked for the French Ministry of National Education as an English teaching assistant and then for the American Language Center in Mohammedia, Morocco as an English teacher. As an Ibn Battuta Scholar for Peace and Diplomacy, Michael spent the fall of 2017 in Rabat, Morocco studying Arabic. While at CCAS, Michael would like to gain a greater understanding of the debates that surrounded both colonial violence and violent resistance to formal colonialism in the Arab World. Following completion of the MAAS program, he would like to put this knowledge and his regional experience to use in the field of diplomacy.
Hometown: Gaza, Palestine
Research Interests: Nationalism, political identity, conflict resolution, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, development, gender
Mohammed graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with a joint major in Public Policy and Government. As a third-generation Palestinian refugee with a passion for conflict resolution, Mohammed focused his undergraduate research on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly on the one-state solution as well as other areas of conflict such as apartheid South Africa and Northern Ireland. After graduation, he spent two years working in the Gaza Strip teaching English. Mohammed also served as the Gaza Project Manager for We Are Not Numbers (WANN), a journalistic initiative with the aim of empowering and promoting Palestinian voices and offering an alternative source of information on Palestine to the English-speaking world. At Georgetown, Mohammed wishes to gain an expertise on development, especially in areas of conflict, and he seeks a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies.
Hometown: Clifton, New Jersey
Research Interests: Security issues, conflict, regional and world powers’ foreign policy in the Levant and Iraq, Arab-Israeli conflict, authoritarianism
Rashid graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with a BA in Political Science and a minor in International Affairs. He was born to Palestinian immigrants and much of his interest in the politics, history, and issues concerning the Arab World stems from his Arab identity. Rashid has traveled a number of times within the Middle East to visit family members that live in both refugee camps and major cities in Iraq, Kuwait, West Bank, Israel, Gaza, and Jordan. His experiences in the region propelled him to take a focus on issues concerning the Levant and Iraq as an undergraduate, studying two years of Arabic and writing on a variety of topics concerning the region. Rashid’s main focus concerns the conflicts facing the Levant and Iraq and how foreign powers create policy based on the region’s insecurity.
Hometown: Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Research Interests: Human security, comparative British/US Middle East policy, foreign and military policy of the UAE, surveillance and cyberwarfare in the Arab world, identity politics, national historical memory
Robert is a current first-year MAAS candidate and is new to studying both at Georgetown and in the US. He received his BA from Durham University in History and Arabic, graduating with First Class Honors and a distinction in Spoken Arabic. There, he authored a dissertation exploring the role of the Syrian Christian expatriate community in Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Sudan in the early twentieth century. Robert spent his third year at Durham studying Arabic at the Institut Français du Proche Orient in Beirut, Lebanon and was subsequently awarded a scholarship by the Anglo-Omani Society to study at the Sultan Qaboos College in Manah, Oman. Before joining MAAS, Robert served briefly as an Arabic linguist for the British government. At Georgetown, Robert hopes to expand on his base knowledge of the Arab world, while making the most of the political and scholarly climate of DC to delve into new areas of interest such as security and cyberpolitics.
Hometown: Tulkarm, Palestine
Research Interests: State-building, the impact of political economies on conflict resolution, colonialism and religion’s impact on community and political development in the Arab World
Ruba graduated from An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine with a BA in English Language & Literature. Her previous work includes two years as an event coordinator with the USAID Rule of Law Project in Amman, Jordan, where she worked with government officials and community organizations to enhance government transparency. Ruba has also worked as a reporter for UNRWA in Jerusalem, writing about Palestinian refugee issues and contributing to advocacy campaigns, and as a volunteer program coordinator for Tomorrow’s Youth Organization in Nablus, designing and leading youth empowerment programs for 60 young people each semester. In 2017, Ruba was selected as a young leader by the US Department of State’s Community Solutions program. Through this program, she partnered with the Sunlight Foundation to study the impact of the Israeli occupation on political development in the Palestinian Authority. After the program, Ruba established ‘The First Open City in Palestine’ project. Ruba’s participation in the Arab League Youth Summit as well as the Youth Peace Initiative for Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Resolution in the Netherlands shaped her interest in Arab unity and the impact of foreign aid on development and conflict resolution.
- A scar on a child’s dreams. UNRWA website. August 14, 2015.
- The desert and its people: Building Bedouin resilience. UNRWA website. May 13, 2015.
- Community cooperation cleaning up Shu’fat camp. UNRWA website. April 29, 2015.
- Volunteers Today, Future Professionals Tomorrow: How TYO Empowers Youth for Careers. Tomorrow’s Youth Organization. February 11, 2014.
- Unlocking the door to employment opportunity. Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, April 1, 2014.
- More than Just a Diploma and a Job: Education for Girls. Tomorrow’s Youth Organization. June 9, 2013.
Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio
Research Interests: US foreign policy in the Middle East, sectarianism and identity politics in the Levant, globalization and democracy in the post-colonial Middle East, the impact of refugees on host economies
Sami Rafidi graduated magna cum laude from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio in 2018 with a BA in Political Science and minors in History and Peace, Justice, and Human Rights. Sami developed a passion for understanding the politics and history of the Arab world after extensive time spent living and traveling in the region. Throughout his undergraduate career, Sami centered his research on Western policy in the Middle East, focusing on comparative studies of foreign interventions during the 20th and 21st centuries. He was also an active member of an effort to generate a first-of-its-kind, crowd-sourced simulation for the Pentagon aimed at fighting ISIS in the narrative space. Lessons learned from this initiative were fed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff among others within the DOD, DHS, and the military and security community. While at John Carroll University, Sami was vice president of the Model Arab League Club, an active member of the Middle Eastern Student Association, and the recipient of the John V. Czerapowicz International Relations Award. Sami is currently participating in an internship with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Research Interests: Identity formation, displacement, refugees, migration, state-building
Saúl graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2015 with a BA in International Studies and Arabic Language and Culture. As an undergrad, he spent a year studying in both Jordan and Morocco. He completed research projects focusing on the educational opportunities available to Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Amman and on the gender identities of Moroccan labor migrants to Spain. After graduation, Saúl returned to Jordan to complete advanced Arabic studies over the course of one year. He interned with a migrant labor rights organization and a non-profit that provides mental healthcare to Syrian refugees in Amman. After the end of his program, Saúl decided to return to the United States and work in refugee workforce development. While at Georgetown, he would like to pursue research projects that examine the ways mass migration affects the national identities of both the displaced and those who have taken them in.
Hometown: Damascus, Syria
Research Interests: Immigration, displacement, and politics in the Arab world through an anthropological lens
Sima holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from the American University of Beirut and an MA in Conflict, Governance, and International Development from the University of East Anglia. She spent six years in Lebanon working with fellow Syrians in refugee camps as a teacher for Syrian children and a campaign and event organizer. Sima hopes to add to knowledge production in the Arab region through researching and analyzing cultural and social patterns in the diverse Arab societies.
Hometown: Boxford, Massachusetts
Research Interests: Media and journalism in the Arab World, national identity, international relations, international and civil conflict
Stuart graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2018 with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Arabic. He completed a thesis project examining different expressions of national identity in Syria, their origins in European political ideologies, and the organized political movements that encouraged them in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In his undergraduate studies, Stuart also wrote for a student-run newspaper, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, where he worked as a staff writer, night editor, and news editor. Stuart was also the beat writer for stories involving the Native American student body and community at Amherst during his last year and a half there.
Hometown: Midland, Michigan
Research Interests: Water development in the Levant, political economy structures of the Arab region, the World Bank and IMF’s relationship to Arab countries
Sydney graduated from Albion College in Michigan in 2017 after focusing her studies on environmental and economic development in the Arab world. While studying in Jordan, she worked as an intern for EcoPeace Middle East alongside Jordanians, Israelis, and Palestinians to combat environmental issues facing the Jordan Valley. Since graduation, Sydney has worked in DC for the Arab American Institute on domestic issues pertaining to Arab American communities, as well as the Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) in research and congressional affairs. Post-graduation, she hopes to apply her analytical skills to a position in environmental and economic development in the Arab world.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Research Interests: Proxy conflict, Israel-Palestine, Levantine politics
Tajae graduated from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in 2017 with a BA in Political Science and Peace Studies. During his undergraduate years, he worked as a research assistant for the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies and wrote a senior thesis that examined the impact that regime security concerns and intra-Sunni political divisions have on power politics in the Middle East. Following Notre Dame, Tajae spent a year studying the Palestinian dialect in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Arabic Immersion Program through the David L. Boren Scholarship. His goals at Georgetown include improving proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic and Hebrew, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the international politics of the region.
Hometown: Yonkers, New York
Research Interests: Contemporary literature of the Arab World, cultural institutions and the state, canonicity
Tariq graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 2014 with a BA in Comparative Literature and a focus on literary translation from Spanish to English. He continued his studies in Amman, Jordan at the Qasid Institute and the Institute for Critical Thought. For the past two years, Tariq has worked as a reporter and translator for Syria Direct, an Amman-based media organization that covers the Syrian conflict while providing training to refugees in Jordan on the essentials of journalism. While in Jordan, he also conducted research on how Amman residents interact with geography, infrastructure, and space in the capital.