The aim of the research committee is to provide a platform for empirical research on questions related to politics in the Middle East and North – Africa both in regional and global context. The unit of analysis varies in each case, depending on the specific research topic and can embrace individuals, countries or international organizations. The focus of the committee is very broad and include 1) security issues (terrorism, radicalisation, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional wars (intrastate and interstate), military interventions), 2) geopolitics (natural resources and their implications on regional political dynamics, strategic geographic locations and their influence on foreign policies of the MENA states), 3) political economy (interregional trade, economic growth/decline, development initiatives), 4) political islam (questions of reform, branches of the religion and their synthesis with contemporary political movements across MENA).
The committee seeks to bring together students, researchers and practitioners with a particular interest in the MENA region to realise joint research projects, participate in international conferences and facilitate the exchange of ideas. Members come from diverse backgrounds and multiple countries, forming the multicultural cooperative environment, which is the basis of its work.
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Rafaa Chehoudi is MA student majoring in International Relations at the Institute Social Sciences, Tunis. He started his undergraduate studies at University of Sousse where he had the opportunity to focus on American and British history and civilization. Having succeeded at Tunisian National Competitive exam for Entry to Ecole Normale Superieure, the most prestigious and eminent university Tunisia, he had the opportunity to teach in different Tunisian schools in the form of pedagogical training. Currently, he has had several research activities undertaken, ranging from his MA thesis to other several articles targeting Tunisian democratic transition. Rafaa has different research interests, such as terrorism, strategic studies and democratic transitions. Having succeeded his MA with first class honours, he looks forward to start a PhD in International Relations.
Toms Rātfelders holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations – European Studies from Riga Stradiņš University (Latvia) with thesis titled “Regional role of Iran in the Middle East after the beginning of the “Islamic State” crisis in April 2013”. He is currently an intern in the Latvian Institute of International Affairs and has also done internship in the Ministry of Defence of Latvia. His research interests include security issues (interstate and intrastate wars, terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, military interventions) and geopolitics in the MENA region. Toms has published several articles in different platforms both in Latvia and abroad and will continue his studies at the University of St. Andrews in autumn. Additionally to his native proficiency in Latvian, he is fluent in English and is improving his French and German. He is also looking forward to learn Arabic.
Mihai holds a BA in International Relations and European Studies and has recently graduated from the MA in Security Studies and European Integration at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania.
His eagerness to gain more knowledge and experience in international affairs enabled him to study in Portugal and Israel as well as participate in a broad range of workshops, conferences and simulations across the globe. His academic interests include international politics, regional security focused on Middle East, diplomacy and conflict resolution. Being very keen in researching in the field, he has published several articles and he would like to pursue a PhD program. In addition to his native Romanian, he is fluent in English, has a good knowledge of French and Portuguese and he is improving his Norwegian and Hebrew skills. He has been involved in internships in several NGOs, the Romanian Government and is always keen for new challenges.
Sabah Khadri holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Economics from Georgetown University – School of foreign service, with her thesis titled “Educational Attainment of children of illegally migrated parents in the USA”. She is currently a Bioethics Researcher working on a Human rights research project in Qatar. With previous experience of working and studying in the Qatar, she has in-depth understanding of economic and politics trends in the GCC and MENA region. Her interests entail geopolitics and economic affairs, gender issues and human rights issues.
Melanie is currently obtaining a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Oslo. She is writing her Master Thesis within a project at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) on violence against aid workers. Besides her interests in conflict dynamics, insurgent strategies, terrorism and the role of religion in conflicts she is also passionate about causal inference in quantitative methods. During internships for small NGO’s in Ethiopia and Ghana as well as the UN headquarters in New York she gained experience in fieldwork and international diplomacy.
Jacopo Scita holds a Bachelor’s degree with honours in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs from the University of Bologna and he is concluding the MSc in Middle East Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – University of London. His master’s dissertation is titled ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran 1979 – 2001: Towards a Theory of Resistance against the International System’. Jacopo collaborates with several journals and, as next step of his career, he aims to start a PhD focused on the Sino-Iranian nuclear partnership. His academic and research interests include Iran’s foreign policy, with a specific focus on Iran-US and Iran-China relations, the economic and power relations within the Persian Gulf, Nuclear policies and non-proliferation, and International Relations Theory.
Florian Zabel has completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Hamburg und the University College London. He is currently pursuing his graduate studies at Humboldt University of Berlin und the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris. His specific academic interests include political sociology and political economy (microfinance, active labor market policy, private sector development) as well as security sector reform and counter-terrorism policy; especially within the context of the MENA-Region.
Alice Martini holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from the University of Barcelona and a Master’s degree in International Relations and African Studies from the Autonomous University of Madrid. She has worked at the Human Rights Office of the Foreign Affairs Ministery of Spain and now she is pursuing her PhD at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies jointly with the Autonomous University of Madrid. She is currently focusing on International Relations theories, above all critical and post-colonial theories and specializing in “International Terrorism” from different theoretical points of view. Her area of research is the MENA region.