American Univesity of Beirut

Affiliates Program
​​​​​​​​​Out of our commitment to expanding and deepening knowledge production and to creating a space for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas among researchers, civil society actors, and policymakers, the AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) has established an affiliation program divided into four different categories:

  • Visiting Scholar
  • AUB Faculty Fellow
  • Senior Policy Fellow
  • Distinguished Senior Fellow

IFI affiliates contribute in their areas of expertise to our research programs and participate in the intellectual life of the institute. The specific requirements, interactions, and contributions made by affiliates, differ depending on the specific needs of each research program.

Affiliate applications for Visiting Scholars and Faculty Fellows are accepted annually in the spring term and start the following fall term.

    Visiting Scholars

    A post-doctoral scholar or a PhD candidate who is finalizing their dissertation and whose current research project is relevant to one of the institute’s research programs. Although office space is currently unavailable for affiliates, the affiliation gives the scholar an institutional home at the university and the ability to access the AUB libraries, as well as other campus resources. Most importantly, this affiliation offers the scholar the opportunity to collaborate with researchers and staff from the institute and share their ongoing research for feedback and support. The duration of this affiliation may vary from a short stay up to one full academic year. To apply, visit the​ visiting scholar application process​ page.​​

    Current Visiting Scholars

    Ali ​Ali


    Ali is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He works on the Responsible Deal project, an inter-regional collaboration of seven universities, coordinated by the LSE. The project investigates the protection and management of Syrian refugees in frontier countries in the Middle East. Ali’s research also examines the relationship between refugees and states in the contemporary Middle East, considering the relationship between displacement and state-transformation in Iraq, and how frontier states have managed and instrumentalised Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

    Ali is also a Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University where he was previously a Departmental Lecturer in Forced Migration, and a postdoctoral researcher. He conducted comparative fieldwork in Lebanon and Jordan in 2016 and 2017, investigating the national and local politics of the Syrian refugee crisis.

    Julie Bernath​

    Dr. Julie Bernath is a visiting researcher in the Program “Refugee Research & Policy in the Arab World” of the Issam Fares Institute. She is conducting a post-doctoral research project entitled “The Political Geographies of Transitional Justice Perspectives in the Context of Ongoing Armed Conflict: The Case Study of Syria”. For this project, she is researching the transitional justice perspectives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Germany, from a political geography perspective. The project runs from June 2018 until November 2019 and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. During this time, she is also hosted by the Center for Conflict Studies of the Philipps University in Marburg, Germany. 

    Julie is a senior researcher and program officer of the Dealing with the Past Program of the practice-oriented peace research institute swisspeace, an institute affiliated to the University of Basel in Switzerland. Julie’s research specializations include the politics of transitional justice, victims’ participation in transitional justice processes, dealing with the past in Cambodia and qualitative research methods. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Basel, Switzerland, and a MA in Political Science from the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, France. She conducted her PhD on resistance to transitional justice at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. 

    Julie is also Chair of the Steering Committee of the Standing Group on Human Rights and Transitional Justice of the European Consortium for Political Research. Prior to joining swisspeace in 2012, Julie worked as a consultant in the Public Affairs section for the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia.

    ​Dania Koleilat Khatib

    Dr. Dania specializes in US-Arab relations. Her research spans sectarianism, extremism, governance as well as media biases.

    She authored a book on the Arab lobby and the factors for success and for failure. Her book is published by Routledge UK. The Arabic version is published by the Center of Arab Unity for Studies in Beirut. Her upcoming book, which she co-edited, also published by Routledge, handles the West perception of the Arab Gulf. She is a regular publisher on the US relation with the Arab Gulf in several regional newspapers. She is a weekly columnist in the Bahraini newspaper Al Watan. Dania had regular appearances on a series of Middle Eastern TV stations. Dr.Khatib has co-directed, participated, presented scholarly papers and spoken in numerous workshops and conferences. She has been a guest speaker on several high-profile platforms such as NATO, European Parliament and the Heritage Foundation. She is a member of the Arab Council of Social Studies. Dania holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Exeter and both an MA and a BA in Business Administration from the American University in Beirut.​

    Derya Ozkul​

    Derya Ozkul is a postdoctoral research officer at the University of Oxford, Refugee Studies Centre. Her work is concerned primarily with the construction of the vulnerability criteria in refugee status determination and resettlement. She is working for the project, ‘Refugees are Migrants: Refugee Mobility, Recognition and Rights’ project, which examines various refugee recognition processes in Lebanon, Turkey, Kenya, and South Africa.

    Previously, Derya Ozkul worked as a lecturer and tutor at the University of Sydney where she also completed her PhD thesis in the Department of Sociology. Her PhD thesis explored the changes in diaspora movements in line with the changes in migration and diversity policies as well as homeland politics. She worked as a researcher in various Australian Research Council-funded projects including ‘Syrian-Conflict Refugee Settlement in Australia’ and ‘Social Transformation of International Migration’. This latter project examined international migration in Australia, South Korea, Turkey, and Mexico in the context of the wider processes of social transformation.

    Ozkul holds an MSc degree in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and a BA degree in Political Science from Bogazici University in Turkey. As a DAAD alumnus, she has held fellowships at Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and Bielefeld University in Germany.

    Omar S​irri

    Omar Sirri is a PhD Candidate in political science at the University of Toronto. His doctoral dissertation is an ethnography of security practices and urban checkpoints in contemporary Baghdad. Omar is also leading a research pr​oject with the LSE Middle East Centre that investigates transformations in Baghdad's market spaces.​

    Dag Tuastad​

    Dag Tuastad holds a doctoral degree in Anthropology and is a First Lecturer at the Department of Oriental Languages and Culture Studies at the University of Oslo (UiO).

    His research has been on the role of kinship in politics in the Arab world, on refugee representation and misrepresentation, on (un)popular camp committees, on the international clientelism of foreign aid, on Hamas's concept of a long term cease-fire, on PLO and democratization, on implosions of the Arab spring and on cultural and political aspects of football in the Middle East.

    He has recently published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Middle East Critique, Third World Quarterly, The International Journal of the History of Sport, Die Welt des Islams among others. In 2014 he published the monograph Palestinske utfordringer (Palestinian Challenges).

    He is the leader of the Rebel Governance in the Middle East (RebelGov) project at the UiO (2017-2021). From 2015-16 he was the leader of the Center for Islamic and Middle East Studies at the UiO and “The New Middle East, Emerging political and ideological Trends" project.​

    AUB Faculty Fellows

    Faculty Fellows are AUB faculty members who are appointed for a full academic year in order to substantively contribute to one of its research programs or work on a policy relevant project of interest to the institute. Faculty Fellows are expected to contribute to publications, organize policy dialogues, facilitate discussions and as much as possible, participate in the daily life of the institute.

    AUB Faculty Fellows can come from a variety of academic disciplines and backgrounds but must have the ability to bridge their research to policymaking. They are expected to publish at least one research paper as part of the institute Working Papers​ series or a Research Report​ before the end of their fellowship.

    The application process of this fellowship takes place in the spring term and starts the following fall term. Faculty Fellows will receive compensation in accordance with AUB policies to support their research while with the institute. To apply, visit the  AUB fellows application process​ page.​​

    Senior Policy Fellows

    An accomplished academic or senior practitioner with extensive experience in public policy, international affairs, or related field. Practitioners, such as former civil servants, diplomats, senior administrators from international organizations, journalists and public intellectuals, are ideal candidates for this fellowship. The Senior Policy Fellow can also be a senior scholar who has made significant academic contributions in the areas of public policy and/or international affairs. Senior Policy Fellows are expected to work closely with research programs on relevant research, reviewing publications, facilitating discussions, and publishing relevant policy papers, articles, and other publications. This fellowship is designated through nomination process.​​

    Current Senior Policy Fellows​

    Karma Ekmekji​

    Karma Ekmekji is the Lead Advisor on IFI's research project entitled “Democratizing the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda​” supported by the UN Women Regional Office for Arab States.

    Karma is a Mediation Advisor with UN Women and the founder of #Diplowomen, an initiative to share knowledge, develop mentorship opportunities, and strengthen networking in the field of diplomacy, peacemaking, conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation. She is a member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network and a member of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks, which she participated in launching during the 74th UN General Assembly in New York. 

    Prior to this, she was the International Affairs and Relations Advisor to former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri, where she served as the focal point for all international dossiers for eleven years. Before joining PM Hariri’s office in 2009, Karma was the National Political Officer at the United Nations Special Coordinator’s office in Lebanon. She had also served at the UN Secretariat’s Department of Political Affairs in New York.

    She is a Munich Young Leader, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, member of the British Government’s International Leaders Program and a “Personalité d’avenir” – selected by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2012, Karma was named one of the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 years of age by the Diplomatic Courier. 

    Karma holds a Master of Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where she was a Fulbright student. She is a fourth-generation graduate of the American University of Beirut and a Penrose Award recipient. 

    Ziad El Sayegh

    Ziad El Sayegh is an expert and adviser on public policies. His research focuses on several issues among them the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the Middle East peace negotiations, Syrian refugees, labor policies, and social protection.

    El Sayegh is a member of the Political National Committee working on the refugee issue at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. He is a policy adviser for Adyan Foundation and coordinator of "Better Lebanon Initiative", as well as policy and communication adviser to the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). He has also served as the senior national policy and communication adviser to the Ministry of State for Displaced Affairs (February 2017 – January 2019), was the CEO of the Civic Influence Hub (July 2012 – January 2016), and the policy and communication strategies adviser for the Chairman of the Lebanese – Palestinian Dialogue Committee at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (2006 – 2009).

    ​Heba Elgaz​zar

    Heba Elgazzar currently serves as a program leader and senior economist at the World Bank, based in Ankara. She holds a PhD and MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a BA from Columbia University in New York. Her work and publications focus on social protection and labor policies, investment programs, economic evaluation, and governance. She has previously worked in the Middle East, Africa, and Washington, DC. She was also a researcher at LSE, and served as director of global economics in the private sector, focusing on Europe and the Americas.

    Khalil Gebara​

    Khalil Gebara is a researcher, academic, and government official expert in governance, local development, and public policy. He holds a PhD in Political Economy from Exeter University in the United Kingdom and is currently teaching economics at the Lebanese American University (LAU). He is a consultant in governance and public policy, in addition to being an active member of several organizations, including the Common Space Initiative.

    Between February 2014 and February 2019, he was the international affairs adviser to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities. He also served as the head of the Good Governance Unit at the office of Prime Minister Saad Hariri between 2010 and 2014. In December 2008, he was appointed by the Lebanese government as a member of the first Supervisory Commission on the Election Campaign. Gebara was also the director of the Lebanese Transparency Association-Transparency International Chapter in Lebanon between 2005 and 2008.

    Mahmoud Haidar​

    Mahmoud Haidar has more than twenty-five years of experience in business strategy, innovation, and public policy. He has held various senior management and advisory roles with international, government, and private entities in telecom and media, digital services, trade, policy evaluation, and regulation, as well as institutional development. In public policy and international affairs, he has first-hand experience with numerous governments in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and has extensively supervised research in policymaking. He is currently an adviser to the Civil Society Actors & Policymaking program at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs - AUB.

    Haidar studied engineering and arts & sciences in AUB, business and management in EDHEC, France, and international law and diplomacy in TUFTS, USA. Mahmoud is a regular lecturer of international affairs and public policy in St. Gallen University, Switzerland, the PPIA program of AUB, and at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, ENA, Lebanon. He currently sits on a number of advisory and management boards, consults for the UN ESCWA, and chairs an advisory board for the New Zealand government in the Middle East and Africa.

    Maysa Jalbout​

    Maysa Jalbout is a leader in international development and philanthropy, with 25 years of experience in building organizations and developing solutions to help the most vulnerable people around the world. She is currently a visiting scholar and special adviser on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at MIT and ASU and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was the founding CEO of the Abdulla AlGhurair Foundation for Education and the founding CEO of the Queen Rania Foundation. She was the head of Education Policy at Global Affairs Canada. Jalbout serves on the boards of the International Baccalaureate Organization and Generation by McKinsey.

    Albert Kostanian​

    ​An economist and an expert in strategy. He is also the content producer and host of “Vision 2030”, a leading TV show on LBCI that provides a platform for an in-depth debate around politics and policy making in Lebanon.

    Albert has founded and is heading the Beirut office of Arthur D. Little, the world premier strategy consulting firm, after having spent years with the firm in France. His main areas of expertise are in infrastructure, public transportation and telecom. He worked for major international corporations and governments in a dozen of countries. Albert has also established a boutique consultancy “Levant Consult”, where he advises regional companies on their strategy, governance, M&A and financial and operational restructuring projects.   

    Albert is committed to promoting reforms in Lebanon and regularly publishes articles and studies in various domains in addition to having been active in politics and policy making, with a focus on electoral laws. He is the co-founder of “Les Plus Beaux Villages du Liban”, an NGO aiming at the preservation of rural heritage in Lebanon. He holds an MSc from the HEC School in Paris and a BA in Economics from the Saint-Joseph University in Beirut.

    Sami Mahroum​

    Sami Mahroum is currently the director of research and strategy at Dubai Future Labs and professor of innovation studies at the Free University of Brussels. He completed a PhD in business and social studies from the German Armed Forces University in Hamburg (2002). Mahroum was a senior lecturer teaching executive education at INSEAD and the founding director of the INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative. Over the course of his career, he has worked as a policy researcher and an adviser on innovation policy issues, allowing him to gain a strong policy experience at high profile organizations, including the European Commission, the OECD, the Rand Corporation, and the Ontario Government.

    Mahroum’s writings have appeared in peer-reviewed journals as well as in high-quality journalism including the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and Project Syndicate. He is also the author of a book entitled “Black Swan Start-ups: Understanding the Rise of Successful Technology Business in Unlikely Places” (Palgrave MacMillan, March 2016) and several Harvard Business Press case studies on innovation and location. Sami sits on the editorial board of the Journal Science & Public Policy and on the scientific committee for the Geography of Innovation conference.

    ​Robert Watkins

    Robert Watkins is the Former UN Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon.  Early in his career, Mr. Watkins worked for the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and other international organizations.  Mr. Watkins holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the Carleton University School of International Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Toronto. He has been posted both in headquarters and in the field, serving in Gabon, Sudan, Iraq, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, and Jordan prior to joining the United Nations.

    Distinguished Senior Fellows

    The most senior affiliation of the institute, is reserved for those who have already contributed significantly to the institute or the university in the areas of public policy and international affairs and who intend on continuing to be part of IFI’s research programs and activities. This fellowship is an honorary appointment but is also intended to keep senior scholars and practitioners involved with the institute. This fellowship is designated through an internal nomination by IFI.​

    Current Distinguished Senior Fellows​

    Rami Khouri​

    Former Director at the Issam Fares Institute, political columnist and book author,  professor of journalism and journalist-in-residence at AUB, and a non-resident senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

    Tarek Mitri​

    President of Saint George University and former Director at the Issam Fares Institute.

    John Waterbury​

    Former AUB president.

    Jam​​al Saghir

    An economist and expert in infrastructure, energy, water, climate change and international finance and policy, with over 25 years of experience at the World Bank Group.

    Saghir is currently professor of practice at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University, Montreal, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Payne Institute, Colorado School of Mines.

    Saghir also served as director of sustainable development and senior regional adviser at the World Bank, resident adviser to the Prime Ministry in Tunisia, and country director for Scientex Corporation. Saghir held the positions of economic adviser and chief of staff to the associate minister of finance and privatization in Quebec, Canada. He was appointed in 2009 by the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon as core member of the United Nations Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group, and member of the Global Energy Assessment from 2008-2011. He contributed to the delivery of major reports to the UN Secretary General and international community on energy and climate change.

    Mr. Saghir has contributed to over 40 publications, essays and books.​​


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