Engseng Ho | انج سنج هو
Visiting Professor and Director

Engseng Ho is Director of the Middle East Institute, and Muhammad Alagil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Arabia Asia Studies at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. At Duke University, he is Professor of Anthropology and Professor of History. He is a leading scholar of transnational anthropology, history and Muslim societies, Arab diasporas, and the Indian Ocean. His research expertise is in Arabia, coastal South Asia and maritime Southeast Asia, and he maintains active collaborations with scholars in these regions. He serves on the editorial boards of journals such as American Anthropologist, Comparative Studies in Society and History, History and Anthropology, Modern Asian Studies. He is co-editor of the Asian Connections book series at Cambridge University Press. He has previously worked as Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University; Senior Scholar, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies; Country and Profile Writer, the Economist Group; International Economist, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation/Monetary Authority of Singapore. He was educated at the Penang Free School, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago.

Ali Kadri | علي القادري
Senior Research Fellow

Before joining the Middle East Institute in 2011, Ali Kadri was Visiting Fellow at the Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and previously head of the Economic Analysis Section at the United Nations regional office for Western Asia. His current research is on the political economy of development in the Arab World. During his work at the United Nations, he was the lead author of the UN flagship publication dealing with the economic and social conditions of Arab Western Asia, and he has published widely on aspects of the labour process in the Arab world. His recent book, Arab Development Denied (2014), discusses the formidable obstacles facing development in the Arab world. His latest edited volume is Development Challenges and Solutions After the Arab Spring (2015).

Charlotte Schriwer | شارلت شريفر
Senior Research Fellow

Charlotte Schriwer’s research has focused mainly on the history of the Levant, (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon), in particular on its agricultural history from the 12th century to the 1800s. She has also explored the question of ethnic identity in the Ottoman architecture of the Levant. Since joining MEI in 2011, she has started a project documenting the history of protest art in the Arab world, with a focus on the Arab Uprisings. She holds a PhD in History and an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and an MA in Islamic Art and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Charlotte Schriwer co-edited Converging Regions: Global Perspectives on Asia and the Middle East (2014) with Nele Lenze, Media in the Middle East: Activism, Politics, and Culture (2017) with Nele Lenze and Zubaidah Abdul Jalil, and wrote Water and Technology in Levantine Society, 1300-1900: A Historical, Archaeological and Architectural Analysis (2015).

Fanar Haddad | فنر حداد
Senior Research Fellow

Fanar Haddad is a Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. He previously lectured in modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Exeter and, most recently, at Queen Mary, University of London. Prior to obtaining his PhD, Haddad was a Research Analyst at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he worked on North Africa. He has since published widely on issues relating to historic and contemporary Iraq. His main research topics are identity, historical memory, nationalism, communal conflict and minority politics. He is the author of Sectarianism in Iraq: Antagonistic Visions of Unity (London/New York: Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2011). His research at the MEI will focus on historical memory and narratives of state in the Middle East.

Linda Matar | لندا مطر
Senior Research Fellow

Linda Matar is a Senior Research Fellow at NUS’s Middle East Institute. She is also a Lecturer at NUS’s College of Alice and Peter Tan. Her research and teaching involves the political economy and economic development of the Arab Near East and Southeast Asia. She is the author of The Political Economy of Investment in Syria (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Her other recent publications include ‘Syria’s Economic History: Bumpy Road from National Economy to Neoliberalism’ in Hanssen, J. and Ghazal, A., (eds). Handbook Of Contemporary Middle East History (Oxford University Press, 2017) and ‘Investment and Neoliberalism in Syria,’ in Kadri, A. (ed.), Development Challenges and Solutions after the Arab Spring (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). She obtained her PhD in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Mattia Tomba | متيا تومبا
Senior Research Fellow

Mattia Tomba is a multi-disciplinary investment professional based in Qatar with a track record of investments and acquisitions in different asset classes, sectors, and geographic areas. He has extensive experience in evaluating, negotiating, and structuring direct investments globally across all parts of the capital structure, in public and private markets.In 2008 he joined Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (Qatari Diar), where he has been managing an equity portfolio, and working on large private equity and real estate transactions worldwide.Previously he was part of the Goldman Sachs Group in the Principal Investment Area (Whitehall Real Estate Funds), where he was involved in portfolio management, and in strategic planning of large European acquisitions. He began his career with the Private Wealth Management team of Merrill Lynch. He is a graduate of Fletcher School, Tufts University (Boston, US), and Bocconi University (Milan, Italy)/Science Po (Paris, France).

Nele Lenze | نيلي لنزا
Senior Research Fellow

Nele Lenze’s research focuses on the cultural online sphere in the Gulf. Her main research interests include literature published in social media, cultural production online and online participation culture. She holds a PhD in Middle East Studies and Media Studies from the University of Oslo where she lectured on the Arab online sphere. She obtained her master’s in Arabic literature from Freie University Berlin. She co-edited Converging Regions: Global Perspectives on Asia and the Middle East (2014) with Charlotte Schriwer as well as The Arab Uprisings: Catalysts, Dynamics, and Trajectories (2014) with Fahed Al-Sumait and Michael Hudson, Media in the Middle East: Activism, Politics, and Culture (2017) with Charlotte Schriwer and Zubaidah Abdul Jalil. She is working on her first monograph Politics and Digital Literature in the Middle East. Perspectives on Online Text and Context (forthcoming 2018).

Victor Kattan | فكتور كتن
Senior Research Fellow

Victor Kattan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore, where he is completing a book on the Reagan administration, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the ideological origins of the “war on terrorism”. Before he moved to the Middle East Institute, Victor was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Law where he was also the convener for the course on the use of force in international law. Before Victor moved to Singapore, he was a legal adviser to the Government of Palestine in Ramallah on secondment from the United Nations Development Program in Jerusalem. Previously, Victor taught international law to Masters students at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, where he completed his doctorate. Victor has acted as a consultant for the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Oxford Research Group, and a number of governments. He has lectured extensively overseas and taken parts in workshops organized by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Victor is the author of numerous articles on various aspects of international law and is the author of the critically acclaimed book From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949 (London: Pluto Press, 2009) and editor of The Palestine Question in International Law (London: The British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2008).

Nisha Mathew | نيشى ماثيو
Research Fellow

Nisha Mathew is Joint Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute and Asia, Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She received her PhD in History from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2014 where her research explored the methodological possibilities of Indian Ocean studies in the making of a contemporary urban space as Dubai. She is currently working on her book

Shuang Wen | شوان ون
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Using Arabic and Chinese language primary sources from multi-sited research in China, Egypt, Syria, Taiwan, the UK, and the US, Shuang Wen’s first book project investigates the transformative processes of global interactions from around the mid-nineteenth century to the end of WWII. During this period, non-adjacent non-western societies that do not fit neatly into the existing historiographical units, such as the Arabic- and Chinese- speaking societies in Africa and Asia, formed intertwined intellectual, economic, labor, and religious (both Islam and Christianity) connections because they occupied a similar position in the world order as colonies or semi-colonies. As a result, in response to their comparable circumstances, knowledge, commodities, labourers, and practices (both religious and medicinal) were transferred along the way in multiple directions through the enmeshed imperial networks. These interactions, however, were not all about robust reticulation and accelerated exchanges, but rather, oftentimes attenuated and mediated. The metamorphosis that emerged from the process of mediated mobility and connectivity embodies a prominent feature of Afro-Asian connections in the age of late imperial capitalism. This project and her other research at MEI has been featured in the American Historical Association Member Spotlight

Shuang earned a PhD in Transregional History (modern Middle East and East Asia) from Georgetown University and an MA in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. She also received additional Arabic language training from the University of Damascus and Middlebury College. Before switching career to the academy, she was a broadcast journalist for Phoenix Satellite Television InfoNews Channel in Hong Kong (2003-06), covering events in the Middle East, such as the humanitarian crisis during the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel conflicts, and worked as a Chinese-English simultaneous conference interpreter in Beijing (2001-03).

Zoltan Pall |زولتان بال
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Zoltan Pall is an anthropologist specialising in transnational Islamic movements in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. His main research topics include social movement theory, the structure and function of transnational networks, religious authority and sectarianism. His current research in MEI focuses on Salafism in Lebanon and its networking in the Arabian Gulf and Europe. Before obtaining his PhD from Utrecht University he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) in Leiden and a Research Fellow at Utrecht University. He has published articles on Salafism in Kuwait and Lebanon, and is the author of Lebanese Salafis between the Gulf and Europe: Development, Fractionalization and Transnational Networks of Salafism in Lebanon (2013).

Serkan Yolacan | سرخان يولاجان
Research Associate

Serkan Yolacan is a research associate at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on the role of diasporas and networks in the transformation of state and society. His book manuscript, entitled Order Beyond Borders: The Azerbaijani Triangle across Iran, Turkey, and Russia, employs diasporic analytics to explore transnational networks of religion, education, and business across West Asia. He holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University and a master’s in Sociology and Social Anthropology from the Central European University. Prior to obtaining his doctoral degree, he worked as Projects Officer at the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) in Istanbul. 

Fahed Al-Sumait | فهد السميط
Honorary Senior Fellow

Fahed Al-Sumait is Assistant Professor of Communication and Department Chair at the Gulf University for Science and Technology, where he also serves as an Advisor to the Vice President of Academic Services. He was previously a Fulbright-Hays research fellow before serving as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore. His notable publications include Terrorism's cause and cure: the rhetorical regime of democracy in the US and UK (2009); as well as chapters in Transforming International Communication: Media, Culture and Society the Middle East (2014) and State Power 2.0: Authoritarian Entrenchment and Political Engagement Worldwide (2014). He is also co-editor, with Nele Lenze and Michael C. Hudson, of The Arab Uprisings: Catalysts, Dynamics and Trajectories, 2014, Rowman & Littlefield), and Covering bin Laden: Global Media and the World’s Most Wanted Man (2015, University of Illinois Press). He holds an MA from the University of Washington and a PhD from the University of New Mexico, both in Communications.

Francesco Mancini | فرنسيسكو مانسيني
Honorary Senior Fellow

Francesco Mancini is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). His work focuses on geopolitics, global governance, international peace and security, armed conflicts and the means to prevent and solve them. Francesco is also a Non-resident Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute (IPI), where he was Senior Director of Research before relocating to Singapore in June 2014. As Director, he focused on conflict analysis, prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding in Africa and the Middle East. He also led IPI’s largest program, Coping with Crisis, Conflict, and Change, that aimed at strengthening multilateral response capacity to crises and conflict. He launched the daily policy analysis website The Global Observatory. Francesco is a member of the Board of Directors of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), a member of the Research Committee of the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Peacebuilding. Prior to joining IPI, Francesco served as an Associate at the EastWest Institute in New York, where he co-managed the Worldwide Security Initiative, a program designed to enhance international cooperation in addressing new security threats, particularly transnational terrorism. Earlier in his career, he was a management consultant at Group CRCI in France, Italy, and Morocco.

Susanne Dahlgren | سوزان دالغرين
Academic Scholar

Susanne Dahlgren is an anthropologist interested in moral questions, law and politics. She studied anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Helsinki where she received her PhD in 2004. She has been a fellow in the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and at the Academy of Finland. Her PhD project was published as Contesting Realities. The Public Sphere and Morality in Southern Yemen (2010). Her recent work has involved theorizing the Arab revolutions as part of a project on ‘Geographies of Gender in the Arab Revolutions’, convened by Frances Hasso and Zakia Salime. A recent photo essay was published in on ‘Rebels without Shoes: A Visit to South Yemen’s Revolution Squares.’ At MEI she has worked on a project entitled ‘Post-Socialism in the Arabian Peninsula: the Politics of Islam and Modernisation in South Yemen.’

Francesca P. Albanese
Research Affiliate

Francesca Albanese is a human rights lawyer (LL.M, SOAS) who spent 12 years working in the field of human rights, including with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and more recently with the UN Agency for Relief and Work of Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Her legal expertise includes research, policy advice and capacity building on various human rights issues -mainly in Asia and the Mena region. This includes the protection of refugees and irregular migrants, the international human rights system, transitional justice and the establishment of national human rights institutions and mechanisms for the prevention of torture.

Francesca is currently leading the research for the revisited edition of Lex Takkenberg's seminal work on "The Status of Palestinian Refugees in International Law", first published by Oxford University Press in 1998 (new edition expected by 2018). The research covers the genesis and evolution of the Palestinian refugee Question, including the legal status and treatment that Palestinian refugees enjoy in host and destination countries (i.e., in the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, America, Asia and Africa), the normative, institutional and protection frameworks applicable/applied to them and possible just and durable solutions to their claims.

Francesca is an Associate Researcher at the Institute for the Study of International Migration, (ISIM) Georgetown University and Affiliated Scholar to the Refugee Program of the Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut.

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