Class of 2022
Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan; Damascus, Syria
Research Interests: authoritarianism, historical institutionalism, political economy, regime change, social power, sectarianism, tribalism, and ideologies in the Fertile Crescent
Descending from a Palestinian refugee family in the Bureij camp, Gaza Strip, Motasem was born and raised in Khartoum, Sudan, then Damascus, Syria. Following the uprising, he permanently settled in Istanbul, Turkey and earned his B.A. cum laude in psychology with a double major in management in 2015 from Istanbul Şehir University. Recently he completed his M.A. in sociology at the same institution. In light of the successive waves of migration to the city and the country at large, Motasem took an active interest in the development sector: he created an online platform teaching Turkish to Arabic-speakers, interned with the UN development Programme (UNDP) in their engagement strategy of the private sector, and, since 2017, worked as a coordinator/instructor at the LIFE project—a business incubator managed by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and a consortium of partners to economically empower and integrate immigrants and refugees in Turkey via entrepreneurship. In 2019, he co-launched a nonprofit virtual incubator, Bedar, that channels the potential of regional experts and offers extensive mentorship to social enterprises targeting Palestinian communities throughout the Levant. Academically, Motasem is primarily concerned with social power and regime change. His M.A. thesis explores the politicization of the sect and tribe in post-colonial Syria and Iraq as inter-institutional compact actors. At the MAAS program, he intends to further explore how variance in regimes can be determined through the interaction of these actors with social power forces and institutions.