CSID 21st Annual Conference
Why the US should Support Democracy in the Muslim World, and How?
Dr. Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an assistant research professor of Islamic studies at Fuller Seminary, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. His latest book is The Problem of Democracy: America, the Middle East, and the Rise and Fall of an Idea. Hamid is also the author of Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize for best book on foreign affairs. In 2019, Hamid was named one of the world’s top 50 thinkers by Prospect magazine. He is also the co-founder and editor of Wisdom of Crowds, a podcast, newsletter, and debate platform.
Sarah Leah Whitson
Sarah Leah Whitson is the Executive Director of DAWN. Previously, she served as executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division from 2004 – 2020, overseeing the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10countries. Whitson has led dozens of advocacy andinvestigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and human rights. She has published widely on human rights and foreign policy in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and CNN.
Wa’el Alzayat is CEO of Emgage, where he provides strategic and operational guidance and management for the organization. He is based in Washington, D.C. Alzayat previously served with distinction as a U.S. Middle East policy expert at the U.S. Department of State for ten years, including as Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and Syria Outreach Coordinator with Ambassador Robert Ford. As a first generation Arab and Muslim American, Alzayat has long been a passionate advocate for protecting fundamental American values and freedoms, and increasing the civic engagement of minority communities. Alzayat was recently named Top 10 Inspiring Arab Americans Leaders by Huffington Post.
Ismail Numan Telci
Ismail Numan Telci is the Vice President and North Africa Studies Coordinator of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (ORSAM) in Ankara. ORSAM is the largest think tank in Turkeyfocusing on Middle Eastern affairs. He also works as an Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and lecturer at the Middle East Institute (ORMER) at Sakarya University. His re- search focuses on democratic transformations in the Middle East, Arab revolutions, Islamic movements and political developments in the Gulf and North African countries. He is editor of Middle Eastern Studies, a peer-reviewed journal published by ORSAM.
Damon Wilson is President and CEO of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation supporting freedom around the world. Prior to joining the Endowment, he helped transform the Atlantic Council into a leading global think tank as its executive vice president. Previously, Wilson served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council.
Amaney A. Jamal is Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. She is also the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics and a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton, and directs the Workshop on Arab Political Development and the Bobst-American University of Beirut Collaborative Initiative.
Holds the Chair of Religion and Politics at the University of Birmingham(UK) and is Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at George town University. Since 2018, she is the T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peace building at Harvard Divinity School. President elect of the European Academy of Religion (2018-19), her work on religion and politics has garnered recognition and awards: 2020 Distinguished Scholar of the religion section of the International Studies Association,Distinguished Fellow of the Carnegie Council
for Ethics and International Affairs and the Royal Society for Arts in the United Kingdom.
Monica Marks is a scholar of Islamist movements, gender, and politics in the Middle East and North Africa, Her research focuses on broad topics across the region and beyond, but especially in regards to the tensions between pluralism and state power in the two countries where she’s lived longest: Tunisia and Turkey. Prior to joining NYUAD, Dr. Marks was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She completed her PhD, an ethnographic study of post-2011 Tunisian politics based on over 1,200 in-country interviews, in 2018 at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Dr. Marks studied in Tanzania, Tunisia, and Jordan, and in Turkey as a Fulbright Scholar, before completing her Masters and PhD at Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar. During her graduate studies, Dr. Marks was based primarily in Tunisia (2011-2016) and Turkey (2016-2018), where she published academic work and more public-facing analysis for leading North American and European think tanks, along with publications like Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Andrew March is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Fellow at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University. In 2023-24 he will be a Visiting Professor at Harvard Kennedy School. He is the
author of Islam and Liberal Citizenship (Oxford, 2009) and The Caliphate of Man: Popular Sovereignty in Modern Islamic
Thought (Harvard Belknap, 2019). He is also the co-author of a forthcoming volume with Rached Ghannouchi, On Muslim
Democracy: Essays and Dialogues (Oxford, 2023).
Director of Peace and Conflict Studies BA/MA Program Associate Professor, Political Science Dept., University of Massachusetts Lowell
William Scott Harrop
Long steeped in scholarship and teaching on Jefferson, on revolutions, on Tunisia and the Arab Spring, William Scott Harrop is finishing a doctorate in Foreign Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia (UVA). His dissertation focuses on “revolutionary struggles for international legitimacy.” (Chap. 2 is on Jefferson and “a decent respect.”) Award highlights include being a Peace Scholar, US Institute of Peace, and twice a “Jefferson Fellow” with Monticello’s International Center for Jefferson Studies.
Professor of Political Science, University of MichiganWhat Does Islam Really Say about the Rights, Status and Behavior of Women? The Interpretations of Islam Embraced by Ordinary Muslim Citizens in the Arab World.
Mustafa Akyol is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, where he focuses on the intersection of public policy, Islam, and modernity. He is the author of Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance (2021), “Why, As A Muslim, I Defend Liberty” (2021), The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims (2017), and Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty (2011) — all of which have been translated into several languages. Akyol also teaches classes at the Islamic Civilization and Societies program at Boston College. He is the director of the “Islam and the Muslim World” course at the Foreign Service Institute as well.
Youssef Chouhoud is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Christopher Newport University, where he is affiliated
with the Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. His research in the US and the Middle East probes support for core democratic norms, focusing on understudied groups and contexts. Dr. Chouhoud’s work has been published in the
journal Politics and Religion, the Oxford Handbook of Polling and Survey Methods, and most recently, the British Journal of Political Science.
Lindsay J. Benstead
Lindsay J. Benstead is Professor of Politics and Global Studies and Director of the Middle East Studies Center (MESC) at Portland State University. Previously, she served as Fellow in the Middle East Program and the Women’s Global Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC (2018-2019) and Kuwait Visiting Professor at SciencesPo in Paris (fall 2016). Her research on women and politics, public opinion, and survey methodology has appeared in Perspectives on Politics, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Governance, and Foreign Affairs.
Marko Vekovic (Ph.D. in Political Science) is Associate Professor of Religion and Politics at University of Belgrade - Faculty
of Political Science (Serbia). His area of expertise is religion and politics, with a particular focus on the political behavior of Orthodox Christian Churches in Eastern Europe. He is particularly interested in the regions of Eastern Europe, the Balkans,
and the Middle East. Marko has been appointed as a Visiting Scholar at Temple University (2014), and Columbia University
(2016). He was also a post-doc scholar at University of Erfurt (2019-2020).