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BCARS Experts Network

BCARS is honored to draw on its Expert Network as advisers, collaborators, and educators to better inform our research on the Arab Region. Their subject matter expertise spans the fields of human security, anthropology, conflict resolution, and humanitarian and refugee studies. 

Leen worked at the UNHCR in Jordan and co-founded the Refugee Empowerment and Awareness Campus Task Force (REACT) at Northeastern. She has presented her research on work authorization for Syrian refugees in Jordan at Northeastern, Harvard, and Boston University. Leen holds a Dual BA in International Affairs and Economics with a minor in Global Social Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University.

Amira Ahmed Mohamed 


Currently a professor in the Sociology, Anthropology, and Egyptology Department at the American University in Cairo, Amira Ahmed Mohamed's career includes experience across academia, international development, and the humanitarian sector. Both her Masters and PhD degrees focus on the nexus between gender, migration, and globalization, and her current research focuses on examining gender, sexuality, and human rights challenges among female migrants, particularly those who are vulnerable to trafficking and domestic abuse. 

Zahra is a Senior Researcher at the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. She specialises on the nexus between statelessness and forced displacement, and the interlink between discrimination and statelessness, including work on gender inequality in nationality law. She holds an LLM in International Law from Leeds University, and enjoys teaching and training on the issue of statelessness.

Allison Hodgkins

Allison Hodgkins (PhD,  The Fletcher School, 2010) is an Assistant Professor of International Security and Conflict Management at the American University of Cairo. Her research interests lie at the intersection of power and international norms, specifically the impact of sovereignty and state privilege on the resolution of internal armed conflict, state to state security cooperation, and the survival strategies of weak actors.  She holds a PhD from the Fletcher School, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies, and a M.P. Affs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas in Austin.

Sana Tannoury Karam
Dr. Sana Tannoury Karam has extensive archival and research experience in the Middle East, with particular focus on field research in Lebanon. Her latest research focused on the Arab left during the interwar period. She has served as a council member of the Worldwide Alumni Association of the American University of Beirut (WAAAUB).
Dr. Karam holds a PhD in World History from Northeastern University.
Sarah is a professor at the Watson Institute of Middle East Studies at Brown University. She was a Carnegie visiting scholar and Assistant Director of BCARS. Her work explores transformations in religious and economic life, identity construction, and personal piety at the intersections with gender, Islamic authority and normative Islam, public ethics, and Islamic authenticity. She hold a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Boston University.
Danilo Mandić
Dr. Danilo Mandić is a comparative historical sociologist and Lecturer on Sociology. His interests include social movements, nationalism, social theory, ethnic relations, civil war, and organized crime. In the summer of 2016, he helped lead a BCARS research team to study Syrian refugees in five countries: Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Germany. Danilo holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Anna-Elisabeth Schmitz

Anna-Elisabeth is currently pursuing her PhD in political science in her home country of Germany, where she conducted research for BCARS on the Syrian refugee crisis. Her interests include political culture research and the cultural and psychological factors of conflict.  She holds an M.S. in Global Studies from Northeastern University. Her previous experience includes working for the German Consulate General in Boston. 

Lecturer, Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. Mr. Aftandilian spent 21 years in U.S. Government service, worked for 13 years as a Middle East analyst at the U.S. Department of State where he was a recipient of the Department’s Superior Honor Award for his analyses on Egypt, and has done analytical work for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Library of Congress. He also held fellowships  at Harvard  and at the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Aftandilian holds a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Chicago, and an M.S. in international relations from the London School of Economics.

Dima Toukan

Dima Toukan is the Founder and Managing Partner of INTEGRATED International, a Jordan-based consulting firm working to advance innovative and effective development in the Middle East. She is a development practitioner with over 15 years experience in the region, and her consulting assignments include positions with Jordan's National Strategy for Women, UNDP, USAID and Oxfam, among others. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and holds a Master's degree from the Fletcher School.

Yasser El-Shimy
Yasser is a research fellow at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative and a Boston University teaching fellow. His areas of specialization include international relations, comparative Middle East politics, U.S. foreign and national security policies, and Egyptian politics. El-Shimy holds an MA in International Relations from the American University in Cairo.
Charles is a program administrator at the Feinstein International Center. Prior to joining Feinstein, Charles was Assistant Director of BCARS, where he managed the Consortium's activities around the world.  Charles holds an MS in Security and Resilience Studies, summa cum laude, from Northeastern University.
 Marcella is Associate Professor at University of Pavia, Italy, where she holds a chair in International Economics and Policy. Her research interests are in the fields of international economics, industrial organization, and energy economics. She is currently focusing on trade and migration flows in the Middle East and Europe. She hold a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Milan, Italy.
Shamiran Mako
Shamiran was a Carnegie visiting scholar BCARS. Broadly, her interests lie at the intersection of comparative politics and international relations, with a focus on state formation and statebuilding in the Middle East, institutions and authoritarian governance, communal conflict, and governing in divided societies. She holds a Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations from the University of Edinburgh.
David Scales
David Scales, MPhil, MD, PhD is a sociologist and physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School, and the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. David brings expertise on data science and mapping to BCARS refugee projects. David’s clinical interests focus on providing care to the medically underserved both in the US and in the Middle East. David holds an MD and a Ph.D. from Yale University.
Dogus Simsek

Dogus Simsek currently works as a post-doctoral research Fellow at Migration Research Centre (MireKoc) at Koc University. Her research interests broadly cover refugee studies, transnationalism, diaspora, racism, ethnicity and identity. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from City University London in 2012.

Ilke Sanlıer Yuksel

Ilke Sanlıer Yüksel  is an assistant professor at the School of Communications at Çukurova University. Her current project deals with Syrian refugees and their media practices. She has previously worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Migration Research Center at Koç University, Istanbul. Ilke has a Ph.D. in Communications from Anadolu University.

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