Samer Anabtawi, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Samer Anabtawi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the George Washington University studying comparative politics and quantitative research methods. His primary research focuses on marginalized groups, social movements, gender rights activism and public attitudes toward marginalized groups in the Middle East and North Africa. He is currently working on other research projects on judicial autonomy under authoritarianism. Samer holds a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from the University of Chicago. He received his B.A. in Politics and Economics in 2012 from Illinois College.
Sara Awartani, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies
Sara Awartani is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of American Studies at George Washington University. She is a broadly trained U.S. social movement historian whose research interrogates Latinx and Arab American radical politics, interracial solidarity, and critiques of U.S. hemispheric and global hegemony. Her dissertation, “Geographies of Liberation, Geographies of Empire: Puerto Rico, Palestine, and the U.S. Imperial Project, 1967-1999,” traces the cultural and political history of how the ongoing foreign policy dilemmas of the “Palestine problem” and Puerto Rico’s “status question” produced novel solidarities among U.S. social movements, while simultaneously enabling the expansion of U.S. empire and statecraft. An inaugural member of MERIP, NACLA, and Jadaliyya’s “Latin East” project, her research has also been supported by the Arab American National Museum. She has published in Radical History Review, Arab Studies Journal, Middle East Report, and La Respuesta, with forthcoming contributions toKalfou and Critical Diálogos in Latina and Latino Studies. She is a proud alumna of the University of Florida, where she received a B.A. in History summa cum laude.
Elham Bakhtary, Ph.D. Candidate in History
Elham Bakhtary is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation, "Mirrors for Ulama: Kabul at the Crossroads of Reformism and Revivalism," examines the interplay of reformist and revivalist intellectual trends in the state propaganda of nineteenth-century Afghanistan. This research has been funded by a number of fellowships and grants, including a CLIR/Library of Congress Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, a John F. Richards Fellowship from the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, and a research grant from George Washington University's Sigur Center for Asian Studies. His research has led him to multiple archives and libraries in Afghanistan, England, India, Tunisia, and the United States.
Leore Ben-Chorin, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Leore Ben-Chorin is a Ph.D. student in GW’s Department of Political Science focusing on international relations. Her research interests include: security studies, political violence, and the Middle East region. Before joining GW, Leore was a Research Assistant to Professor Graham T. Allison at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. At the Belfer Center, she focused on U.S. foreign policy and security issues, with a focus on Iran and Israel. Previously, Leore was a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at The Brookings Institution where she worked with Robert Einhorn and Ambassador Steven Pifer in the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mark Berlin, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Mark Berlin is a PhD student in Political Science at George Washington University, where he studies political violence, Islamist movements, and comparative politics. He completed an M.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2016 and an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in 2018. Mark has studied Arabic intensively in Oman, Morocco, Jordan, Jerusalem, and Beirut and volunteered as an English teacher for Palestinian students in Hebron.
Alyssa Bivins, Ph.D. Candidate in History
Alyssa Bivins is a PhD student in the History Department at GWU. Her research interests include the history of education systems in the 20th century Levant, with a particular focus on Palestinian education development. Her advisor is Professor Shira Robinson. Alyssa received her BA in History and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago, where she wrote her Bachelor's thesis on the development of the system of education in Palestine after the Oslo Accords. Most of her work outside of academia has been in the education field: from the U.S. Department of Education to Chicago Public School classrooms to NGOs abroad. When she isn't working, she enjoys letting history inspire her artistically through creating mosaics, painting, and sketching!
Matthew DeMaio, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Matthew DeMaio is a PhD student in sociocultural anthropology. His research focuses on the community of Palestinian refugees from Syria currently living in Beirut, Lebanon as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria. In particular, he is interested in the incorporation of this community into the spaces occupied by their Palestinian co-nationals from Lebanon. His research aims to highlight the ways that different experiences of place and humanitarian practice produce distinct segments within single refugee diasporas and shape encounters between these varied communities.
Thomas Dolan, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies
Thomas Dolan is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies at George Washington University, focusing on Middle Eastern diaspora and race. A recent recipient of the Calouste Gulbenkian Global Excellence Scholarship, Thomas' research has also been supported by the Institute for Middle East Studies, Dr. Philip M. Kayal Fund for Arab American Research, Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, Bentley Historical Library Bordin-Gillette Fellowship, Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom and the Armenian General Benevolent Union. He is an alumnus of NYU, the New School's Institute for Critical Social Inquiry, and Yale University. Thomas recently worked as a visiting researcher at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and published in Huffington Post, Muftah, and HowlRound. Prior to returning to graduate school, Thomas performed and produced work at Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Studio 54, among others.
Lillian Frost, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Lillian Frost is a pre-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at George Washington University (GWU). Her research interests include comparative citizenship, forced migration, nationalism, identity, and Middle East politics. Focusing on cases in Jordan, her dissertation examines variations in the sets of rights and forms of citizenship statuses host states offer to protracted refugee groups, including shifts in formal laws as well as the enforcement of these laws in practice. She has received support for her research from the Fulbright Program, American Center of Oriental Research, and Maastricht University Centre for Citizenship, Migration, and Development. She received her M.P.P. as well as her B.A. with high distinction from the University of Virginia.
Michael Kaplan, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Michael Kaplan is a Ph.D. student in GW’s Department of Anthropology. His research interests include Islamic reform and revival movements, refugees and displacement, post-colonialism and human rights discourses. Prior to joining GW in Fall 2018, Michael completed a B.A. in History at the New School and an M.A. in Islamic and Near Eastern Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. His M.A. research explored the nature of transnational relationships between a religious reform movement in Northern Nigeria and Salafi movements in Arab countries. Following his undergraduate career, he spent several intermediary years reporting as a journalist on issues related to religion and refugees in Turkey, Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Zaynab Quadri, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies
Zaynab Quadri is a PhD student in the American Studies Department. She received her B.A. in History with honors from Northwestern University in 2015, where she was also a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Working at the intersection of diplomatic history, critical theory, and cultural studies, her research interests center around domestic and transnational U.S. empire, popular culture, and security politics between the U.S. and the Middle East, vis a vis the "War on Terror" and the colonization of Palestine.
Naz Yücel, Ph.D. Candidate in History
Naz Yücel received her B.A. in International Relations with an Economics minor from Boston University in 2011 and her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago in 2014. She also attended the American University of Beirut in the summer of 2016 for Arabic language study. Her research interests include Ottoman history, colonialism and post-colonialism in the Middle East, with an emphasis on changes in law and society. Her dissertation will focus on legal, social, and economic history of Ottoman Iraq and the British mandate in Iraq in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.