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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

Biographical Profiles of Participants


Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)

Seventh Annual Conference


The Challenge of Democracy In the Muslim World


May 5-6, 2006

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC  20008


Biographical Profiles of Participants

Profiles are listed in alphabetical order 


Abdallah Schleifer, ( is currently the Spokesman for Al Arabiya in America. Professor Emeritus in Journalism and Mass Communication at the American  University in Cairo will address a number of the issues facing American Muslims, in the wake of terrorist attacks that have been launched in the name of Islam in America, England, Spain and the Middle East over the past decade. Schleifer is the publisher of Transnational Broadcasting Studies, a bi-annual journal devoted to Arab and Islamic world satellite television, produced by the Adham  Center at AUC (which he directed for the past20 years) and the Middle East Centre at St. Antony’s College, Oxford  University. An e-journal for the past seven years at its new print edition is distributed by the AUC Press. Schleifer is the former NBC News bureau chief in Cairo, former chairman and now honorary chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Cairo. He is a senior fellow at the Ahl al Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan which organized the historic Amman Initative taken by leading ulema and Muslim intellectuals last May and he has published frequently on Arab, Islamic and related media issues including an article in one of the earlier issues of AMSS’s journal. His eyewitness account of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, The Fall of Jerusalem, is considered an underground classic by Middle East scholars. Schleifer is no stranger to Philadelphia: A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Schleifer has guest lectured at Temple‘s department of Religion on several occasions over the past few decades as well as at Penn’s Middle East  Center. Schleifer is also an Associate Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Center here in Philadelphia.


Alan Cordova, (, is a senior political science and astronomy double major at Williams  College.  A former research associate for the Washington, DC-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs and correspondent the Mexico City bureau of Newsweek International, he recently published an article in Current Magazine.  His research focuses on the political expressions of interests and identities, including grassroots organizations, cultural policies and political rhetoric.  In addition to his research on Granada, he has authored a study comparing the leadership styles of two prominent Mexican politicians and has just completed an honors thesis analyzing the failures of democracy promotion programs in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Mongolia, based on three months of interviews.  He is looking to start a political development project in North Africa, applying new techniques of community resource mobilization recently pioneered in American urban neighborhoods to rural villages.  He enjoys backpacking, skiing, jazz trumpet and Spanish literature.


Alberto Fernandez, ( has been Director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Near East Affairs from May 2005 until the present.  He was Director for Public Diplomacy in NEA’s Office of Iraq Affairs from July 2004 until May 2005.   Over the past year, Mr. Fernandez has been a frequent participant on Arab media commenting in Arabic on a wide range of US foreign policy issues. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Mr. Fernandez joined the United States Information Agency in 1983.  He was a Junior Officer in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  From 1986 to 1988, he served as Press Attach‚àö¬© at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua.  In 1988, he transferred to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait to serve as Public Affairs Officer.  He departed Kuwait, on the eve of the Iraqi Invasion, on August 1, 1990.  He was then assigned to Washington, D.C. where he served as Country Affairs Officer for Egypt, Yemen and Sudan in the USIA/NEA Area Office.  After Advanced Arabic Training, he served as Public Affairs Officer in Damascus, Syria (1993-96), Guatemala City, Guatemala (1996-99), Amman, Jordan (1999-2002), and Kabul, Afghanistan (2002-2003) where he was the first permanent Public Affairs Officer since the fall of the Taliban.    He was a member of the State Department’s 46th Senior Seminar at the Foreign Service Institute from 2003 to 2004. Mr. Fernandez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1959.  He served in the US Army and Reserves from 1976 to 1981.  A graduate of the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Ft.  Huachuca, he studied Arabic at the Defense  Language  Institute-Foreign  Language  Center from 1976 to 1977.  From 1977 to 1979, he served in the 519th Military Intelligence Batallion/18th Military Intelligence Group/18th Airborne Corps in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1981 with a B.A. in Middle East Studies.  In 1983, he obtained an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the University of Arizona. Mr. Fernandez has received several departmental awards including a Superior Honor Award in 2003 for his work in Afghanistan, Senior Foreign Service Performance Pay for 2003, 2 Sustained Superior Performance Awards, several Group Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards and USIA’s Linguist of the Year Award for 1996.  He is fluent in both Arabic (4/3+) and Spanish (5/5) and is an active member of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), presenting papers at annual conferences (1997, 2001).  He has published in the Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society, Middle East Quarterly and the Newsletter of the David  Rockefeller  Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard.


Alon Ben-Meir, (, is currently Professor of international relations, The Center for Global affairs at NYU. His exceptional knowledge and insight gained by more than 25 years of direct involvement with foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East, have allowed Dr. Alon Ben-Meir to offer a unique and invaluable perspective on the nature of world terrorism, ethnic conflict, and international negotiations. A noted journalist and author, Dr. Ben-Meir is the Middle East Director of the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research, and a professor of International Relations and Middle-Eastern studies at the Center for Global Studies at NYU and at the New School.  Born in Baghdad and currently residing in New York City, he holds a masters degree in philosophy and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford  University. In addition to his essays on contemporary global conflict oriented issues, Dr. Ben-Meir writes a weekly syndicated column about current international policies and events, which is published by United Press International. Fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, Dr. Ben-Meir began his career as a journalist.  His frequent travels to the Mid-East and conversations with highly placed sources in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, and Palestine provide him with an exceptionally nuanced level of awareness of and insight into the developments surrounding breaking news. Dr. Ben-Meir is the author of numerous books, including: The Middle East: Imperative and Choices, Israel: The Challenge of the Fourth Decade, In Defiance of Time, Framework for Arab-Israeli Peace, The Last Option, and A War We Must Win. He expects to publish his latest book Defeating Terrorism in the summer of 2006. Dr. Ben-Meir’s views on contemporary international affairs are often sought out by major television and radio networks, and he is a frequent speaker before groups and organizations at venues as varied as world affairs councils and town hall meetings. He is a popular lecturer on international relations at a variety of universities besides the New York  University and the New  School.


Amr Hamzawy, (, is a noted Egyptian political scientist who previously taught at Cairo  University and the Free University of Berlin.  Hamzawy has a deep knowledge of Middle East politics and specific expertise on European efforts toward   political reform in the region.  His research interests include the changing dynamics of political participation in the Arab world, including the role of Islamist opposition groups, with special attention both to Egypt and the Gulf countries. Hamzawy’s  studies at Cairo  University focused on political reform and democratization in the Arab world, civil society, Islamism, and the cultural impacts of globalization processes.   He received his Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin, where he worked at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.


Anas Malik, (, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Xavier  University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He does research on political economy and religion and politics in the Middle East and South Asia.


Asma Afsaruddin, ( received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1993 and is currently associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and a fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her fields of specialization are the religious and political thought of Islam, Qur’an and hadith studies, Islamic intellectual history, and gender. She is the author of Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002), the editor of Hermaneutics and Honor: Negotiation of Female “Public” Space in Islamic/ate Societies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1999), and co-editor (with Mathias Zahniser) of Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East: Essays in Honor of Georg Krotkoff (Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, Ind., 1997). She has also written over fifty research articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on various aspects of Islamic thought and has lectured widely in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Afsaruddin is currently serving on the editorial board of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and the Bulletin of the Middle East Studies Association (Cambridge University Press). Previously, she served on the editorial board of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Medieval Islamic Civilization (2006), the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, and the Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2002). In fall 2003, she was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Islamic Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies, London, UK, and was previously a fellow at the American Research Center of Egypt in Cairo, Egypt and the American Research Institute of Turkey in Istanbul, Turkey.  Afsaruddin is chair  of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and serves on the advisory board of Karamah, a human and women’s rights organization, and on the advisory committees of Women’s Global Initiative, Peace X Peace and of the Muslim World Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace, all based in Washington, D.C.  She has been a consultant to various US governmental and private agencies on contemporary Islamic movements, inter-faith, and gender issues.  Among her current research projects is a specially commissioned monograph on the history of early Muslims (forthcoming from Oxford: OneWorld Publishers, 2007) and a book manuscript about competing perspectives on jihad and martyrdom in Islamic thought. Among others, her research has won funding from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and she was named a Carnegie Scholar for 2005 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Carl Gershman, ( is President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), where he has presided over the development of grants programs in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America. Under his leadership, NED created the quarterly Journal of Democracy in 1990, the International Forum for Democratic Studies in 1994, and launched the World Movement for Democracy in 1999. Mr. Gershman was formerly Senior Counselor to the U.S. Representative to the UN, a Resident Scholar at Freedom House, and Executive Director of Social Democrats, USA.


Carola Richter, ( is a teaching and Research Assistant at the Chair for International and Comparative Communication Studies at the Department of Media and Communication Studies at Erfurt University  since April 2004. She was born in 1977. from 1997-2004 she studied at University of Leipzig (Germany) Arab Studies (major), Journalism und Political Science (minors) – 2004 M.A. in Arab Studies . in 1999 she had practical work in a social project in Israel . In 2000 she studies in Birzeit University (Palestine) Arabic Language, Journalism and Philosophy. 2001 Internship at the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC) in Jerusalem. In 2002 she had an Internship at the German Institute for Middle East Studies in Hamburg. She also had research and work trips to Libya, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Oman, Russia, Mongolia. From1999-2004 she won Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation Scholarship. Her current PhD Project is to study Islamism and Democratization in Egypt: The Inter-Relations between Egyptian Islamists, their Media and the Public.


Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, (, She received her B.A. Magna cum laude from Harvard and her Ph.D. from Princeton.  She is Associate Professor of Political Science at Emory  University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she teaches courses on political Islam, social movements and democratization, as well as a survey course on politics in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2004 Professor Wickham received an Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching, the University’s highest award for excellence in teaching. Professor Wickham’s research analyzes the origins and evolution of political protest and opposition in developing countries, with a regional focus on the Middle East.  She is the author of Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism and Political Change in Egypt (Columbia University Press, 2002)  and has published articles in Comparative Politics; PS: Political Science and Politics; Middle East Policy; and the on-line journal Muslim World Journal of Human Rights.  Wickham was selected as a Carnegie Scholar for the period 2004-2005.  With support from the Carnegie Corporation and the United States Institute of Peace, she has launched a new research project on democratization and the “auto-reform” of Islamist opposition goals and strategies in the Arab world.  Wickham conducted fieldwork for the project in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait in 2004; made a follow-up research trip to Egypt in 2005; and will conduct research for the project in Morocco and the United Kingdom this year.  Her research will eventually culminate in a new book, Islamist Auto-Reform and the Future of Opposition Politics in the Arab World. Professor Wickham has presented guest lectures at the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Defense University, the Smithsonian Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and several universities, including the University of California-Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Ohio State, University of Utah, Old Dominion University, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Los Angeles, and Dartmouth.  She has also given numerous talks on U.S.-Muslim relations at local schools, synagogues and churches.


Husain Haqqani, ( is currently Visiting Scholar at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate professor of International Relations at Boston  University. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Haqqani acquired traditional Islamic learning as well as a modern education in International Relations. His journalism career started with work as East Asian correspondent for Arabia‚Äö√Ñ√ÆThe Islamic World Review during the turbulent years following the Iranian revolution. During this period he wrote extensively on Muslims in China and East Asia and Islamic political movements around the world. Later, as Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, he covered the war in Afghanistan and acquired deep understanding of militant Islamist Jihadi groups. Haqqani also has a distinguished career in government. He served as an advisor to Pakistani Prime ministers Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Nawaz Sharif, and Benazir Bhutto. From 1992 to 1993 he was Pakistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka.Haqqani writes a regular column, which is syndicated throughout South Asia and the Middle East in addition to contributing regularly to international publications. He appears frequently on television news shows in both Pakistan and the United States


Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, ( Born on August 11, 1948 at sea as his mother fled Irgun terrorism in her homeland of Palestine, Dr. Ahmad was raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1970 and in 1975 obtained a Ph. D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona. He holds a position as senior lecture teaching honors courses in “Religion and Progress” and on “Religion, Science, and Freedom” at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. He has also taught a college course on “Islamic Thought and Practice” at Georgetown University and graduate courses in Islam and Development and Theory of Social Change at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, and has been invited to teach a course on “Islam, Development and Science” at Georgetown for the Center on Christian-Muslim Understanding. Dr. Ahmad is a frequent guest lecturer on Islam at the Foreign Services Institute and an adjunct lecturer for the Joint  Special  Operations  University‘s Middle East Orientation Course. He is currently President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, an Islamic think-tank in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Ahmad is an internationally sought-after speaker on matters relating to Islam and Muslims. He is author of Signs in the Heavens, co-editor of Islam and the West: A Dialog, and co-author of Islam and the Discovery of Freedom. He is also the Islamic chaplain at the Perkins  Hospital, Imam of the Dar-adh-Dhikr Mosque, President of the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation, and arbitrator for the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. Dr. Ahmad‚Äö√Ñ√≤s essay “An Islamic Perspective on the Wealth of Nations” appears in the International Library of Critical Writings on Economics series #129 The Economics of Property Rights. He is President of the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation, serves as Muslim Chaplain at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup, Maryland, and leads a Qur’an study group at the Dar-adh-Dhikr Mosque in Bethesda where he resides with his wife Frances Eddy.  Dr. Ahmad has received the “Star Cup for Outstanding Public Service” award from the Montgomery County Civic Federation, the “Champion of Democracy Award” from Marylanders for Democracy, the “Samuel P. Chase Freedom Award” from the Libertarian Party of Maryland, and the “Sentinel Award” from the Montgomery County Civic Federation.


John Keane, ( Born in Australia and educated at the Universities of Adelaide, Toronto and Cambridge, John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Westminster and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). In 1989 he founded the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) . Among his many books are The Media and Democracy (1991), which has been translated into more than twenty-five languages; Democracy and Civil Society (1988; 1998); Reflections on Violence (1996); Civil Society: Old Images, New Visions (1998); the prize-winning biography Tom Paine: A Political Life (1995); and a study of power, V‚àö¬∞clav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts (1999). Among his most recent works are Violence and Democracy (2004), and Global Civil Society? (2003). In recent years, he has held the prestigious Karl Deutsch Professorship in Berlin and served as a Fellow of the influential London-based think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The Times of London has ranked him as one of Britain‘s leading political thinkers and writers whose work has “a world-wide importance”. The Australian Broadcasting Commission recently described him as “one of the great intellectual exports from Australia“. His current research interests include the future of global governance; fear, violence and democracy; citizenship and civil society in Europe; the history of secularism; public life and freedom of communication; eighteenth-century republicanism; the post-communist regimes of central and eastern Europe; and the philosophy and politics of Islam. A member of the American-based Institutions of Democracy Commission, he is currently writing a full-scale history of democracy – the first for over a century.


John P Entelis, (, is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Fordham  University. He has been awarded several Fulbright awards including a U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship to conduct research in Lebanon (1968-1969), a Senior Fulbright Professorship at the University of Algiers in 1977-1978 and one at the University of Tunis in 1985, and a Fulbright Regional Research Award to Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia in 1989. He has also directed three National Endowment for the Humanities summer institutes and seminars. Professor Entelis is the author or co-author of numerous scholarly publications on the comparative and international politics of the Middle East and North Africa including: Pluralism and Party Transformation in Lebanon (1974) Comparative Politics of North Africa (1980, 1984), The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa  (1980, 1986, 1995, 2002), Political Elites in Arab North Africa (1982), Algeria: The Revolution Institutionalized (1986), Culture and Counterculture in Moroccan Politics (1989,1996), State and Society in Algeria (1992), and Islam, Democracy, and the State in North Africa (1997). He has also written scores of book chapters, articles and book reviews that have appeared in the leading scholarly journals in the fields of political science, international relations, Middle Eastern affairs, and North African studies. He has also published analytic pieces in The New York Times and Le Monde Diplomatique, among many others. He is editor of the Journal of North African Studies and Secretary of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) and editor of Westview’s series on “State, Culture, and Society in Arab North Africa.”


Joshua Muravchik, (, is a resident scholar at AEI and studies the United Nations, neo-conservatism, the history of socialism and communism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, global democracy, terrorism, and the Bush Doctrine. His articles appear frequently in Commentary, The New Republic, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His newest book, The Future of the United Nations: Understanding the Past to Chart a Way Forward, was published in September 2005 by the AEI Press. He is also the author of Covering the Intifada: How the Media Reported the Palestinian Uprising (Washington Institute for Near East Policy 2003); Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism (Encounter Books 2002); The Imperative of American Leadership (AEI Press 1996); Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America’s Destiny (AEI Press 1991); News Coverage of the Sandinista Revolution (University Press of America 1988); and The Uncertain Crusade: Jimmy Carter and the Dilemmas of Human Rights Policy (Hamilton Press 1986). He serves as an adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and is an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics.


Laith Kubba, ( is senior program officer for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He formerly was director of International Relations at the Al Khoei Foundation in London and he was the founder of the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue, a London-based network of liberal Islamists. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Wales.


Leigh Graham, ( is a Ph.D. student in Comparative and International Education with a specialization in Anthropology at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY. After completing her masters studies in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations at Georgetown  University, she completed her master of education studies in Conflict Resolution and International Educational Development at Columbia  University. While studying Arabic at the American  University in Cairo, she taught English to displaced Sudanese youth and conducted follow-up research on the Sudan Peace Act at USAID and the Africa Subcommittee on International Relations on Capitol Hill. During her studies of education and development in the Muslim World, she has concentrated on cross-national policy attraction and patters of borrowing and lending in Islamic education throughout the Muslim World. Her current research focuses on Islam in Africa and the confluence of Islam, politics, and culture in education policy and practice. Her dissertation examines the role of Islam in post-conflict educational reconstruction strategies in Sudan and to what extent the Sudanese madrassah system fosters the spirit of democracy.


Louay Safi, ( ) was born in Damascus, Dr. Louay M. Safi has B.Sc. in Civil Engineering and M.A. and Ph.D. from Wayne State Unversity, Detroit, Michigan. Executive Director of ISNA  Leadership  Development  Center (ILDC), Plainfield, Indiana.  He serves on the board of several leading Muslim organizations, including the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), the Islamic Horizons, and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS). He also serves on the steering committee of the Muslim-Christian Initiative on the Nuclear Weapons Danger.Has published extensively on such issues as socio-political development, modernization, democracy, human rights, and Islamic resurgence, including eight books and numerous academic papers. He received a doctorate of philosophy in political science from Wayne  State  University, Detroit, Michigan, 1992.


Mariam Memarsadeghi, ( Senior Program Manager for the Middle East and North Africa Region at Freedom House.  Ms. Memarsadeghi has studied and worked in the fields of democracy and governance, Islam and women’s rights, conflict mitigation, and humanitarian assistance.  Prior to working at Freedom House, Ms. Memarsadeghi worked in the Balkan region for the International Rescue Committee and the International Organization for Migration.  In addition to her direct experience working with civil society and human rights groups in Kosovo and Macedonia, Ms. Memarsadeghi is familiar with the politics of the MENA region, particularly in Iran.  She has studied political theory, with a focus on liberalism and totalitarian regimes.  She travels regularly to Iran and has written on women’s rights and democratization issues there.  Ms. Memarsadeghi has a BA and MA in political science from Dickinson  College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, respectively. She was born in Iran and emigrated to the US at the age of seven.  She is fluent in Persian and proficient in French, German and Italian.


Maimul Ahsan Khan, ( is professor in the School of Law at the University of California at Davis, and former Chair Law Dept., Dhaka  University. Dr. Khan earned a Ph.D. in law at Tashkent  State  University and most recently was a visiting professorwith the University of Illinois. College of Law.


Marina Ottaway, ( is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project, a research endeavor that analyzes the state of democracy around the world and the efforts by the United States and other countries to promote democracy. Her newest book, Uncharted Journey: Democracy Promotion in the Middle East (co-edited with Thomas Carothers), was published in January 2005. Her current works focus on political transformation in the Middle East and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is also a lecturer in African Studies at the Nitze  School for Advanced International Studies at Johns  Hopkins  University. Ottaway carried out research in Africa and in the Middle East and taught at the University of Addis Ababa, the University of Zambia, the American  University in Cairo, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa


Maryam Knight, ( is currently a Visiting Scholar at New York  University in the Department of Classics. Her previous appointment was at the American  University in Cairo (1999-02), during which time she completed a study of the practice of female genital mutilation in antiquity. In 2003 she returned to Egypt, which she first visited as a Fulbright scholar in 1994-95, to investigate youth opinion for an article published in the May 2004 issue of Natural History magazine.


Mohamed Berween, ( is currently an Associate Professor of Politics and Administration at Texas  A&M  International  University. He completed his B.A. in management at the University of Ghar-younis, Benghazi, Libya. He has two Master’s degrees: Master in Public Administration (M.P.A), and Master in Urban Planning (M.U.P) at Portland  State  University, Portland, Oregon. He has a Ph.D. in comparative politics at the University of North Texas. Dr. Berween research interests focus on: Human rights from Islamic perspective, the Islamization processes in the Middle East, and the role of political leadership in societies. He has published numerous articles in Arabic language and he published a book   entitled: “Political Pluralism in the Islamic State.” He has also published numerous articles such as: “The Democratization of the United Nations: Isn’t it time for structural Reform to the U.N.. In The Review of International Affairs Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2. Fall 2003. Ankara, Turkey; “The Political Belief System of Al-Qaddafi: Power Politics and Self-fulfilling Prophecy.” The “Journal of Libyan Studies.” Vol. 4, No. 1, Fall 2003. Published by: the Society for Libyan Studies. Oxford, UK. And other articles on human rights from Islamic perspective. Three of Dr. Berween articles have been translated into the Turkish language. Dr. Berween has a forthcoming book entitled: “Crisis of Political Leadership: The Role of  Political Leadership in the Societies and the Cost of its Failure. A Case Study of the Arab Rulers (1970 to 1990). It has been accepted by The Edwin Mellen Press for publication, Fall 2006).


Mustapha khalfi, (, is currently A visiting sholar, carnegie endowment for international peace. Mustapha Khalfi, editor-in-chief of the Moroccan daily newspaper “ATTAJDID,” writes on Moroccan politics, regional politics and political Islam. He is also a visiting scholar in Carnegie’s Democracy Rule of Law project, where he will analyze political reform trends in the region and the changing role of Islamist movements and parties.Khalfi’s three-month residence begins a year-long Fulbright/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow studying U.S. policy in the Middle East, with a focus on democracy promotion efforts. Khalfi has published more than 200 articles and reports for a number of newspapers and journals.


Neil Hicks, ( he is the  Director of International Program, Human Rights First. In addition to supervising Human Rights First’s international work, including the work of the International Justice program, Neil Hicks directs the Human Rights Defender program. The Defenders program assists human rights advocates – lawyers, judges and other activists – who have come under attack for defending human rights. Neil supervises defender campaigns that include overseas missions, diplomatic advocacy, public education, and grassroots lobbying. Before joining Human Rights First, Neil worked as a researcher for the Middle East Department of Amnesty International in London, where he worked between 1985 and 1991. He has also served as human rights project officer of Birzeit  University in the West Bank. In 2000-2001, Neil took a year-long sabbatical from Human Rights First; he spent his leave as a Senior Fellow in the Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. Neil is the author of many reports and scholarly articles, most recently, The Impact of Counter Terror on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: A Global Perspective, in Richard Wilson (ed.) Human Rights in an Age of Terrorism; Cambridge University. Neil holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St. Cuthbert’s Society, University of Durham (1983) and a certificate from the Arabic Language Unit of the American  University in Cairo (1982). He studied international refugee law at the Refugee Studies Program, Oxford  University (1991). Neil has taught Human Rights in the Middle East at Fordham  Law  School. Neil has published articles on human rights in such publications as The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Al-Ahram Weekly.


Nilofar Sakhi, ( is a Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. She was the executive director and one of the founders of Women Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA), the first women’s NGO in Herat, Afghanistan. WASSA is active at the local, national and regional level to advocate for the legal rights of women and to create strong networks among women groups within Afghanistan and internationally.


Peter F. Mulrean, ( is the Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Regional Office in Tunis.  He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1988 and has served in Europe, South Asia and the Middle East.  Prior to his current assignment, he was Deputy Director of the Office for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in the Department of State, responsible for policy direction and assistance programming in support of human rights and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia. 


Philip Seib, ( is Lucius W. Nieman Professor of Journalism at Marquette  University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  As holder of this endowed chair, Seib focuses on international news coverage, media ethics, and new technologies.  He is also the director of Marquette‘s Nieman Symposia, examining current journalism issues.  Seib is author or editor of fifteen books, including: Headline Diplomacy: How News Coverage Affects Foreign Policy; The Global Journalist: News and Conscience in a World of Conflict; and Beyond the Front Lines: How the News Media Cover a World Shaped by War.  His next book, Broadcasts from the Blitz: How Edward R. Murrow Helped Lead America into War, will be published in May 2006, and he is working on two books about media in the Middle East.  He is the series editor of the Palgrave Macmillan Series in International Political Communication and is co-editor of the journal Media, War, and Conflict, published by Sage.  Seib holds degrees from Princeton  University and Southern Methodist University.


Rachel Scott, ( is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the Religious Studies Program (Interdisciplinary Studies Department), at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State  University. Her research interests include modern Islamic thought, political Islam, and Muslim-Christian relations. She received her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), the University of London (2004), her M.Phil. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St Antony’s College, Oxford (2001) and her B.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Pembroke  College, Oxford (1998).


Saad Dine el Otmani, ( he was born in 01/16/1956  in MOROCCO, he  is a Psychiatrist,  had a  master in  1999, he is a specialist of knowledge Islamic. and is the General Secretary of Party (PJD) Justice and developpement party in Morocco, and has since 1996 held various posts within the party, and member of the first chamber of parliament.


Sarah Swick, ( ) is currently the Program Assistant at the Minaret of Freedom Institute, a Muslim think tank which seeks to educate Muslims on the importance of liberty and free markets to a good society, while also educating non-Muslims about the beliefs and contributions of Islam. Sarah earned a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of South Carolina. She has also studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) in France and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Her research interests include women in Islam, civil liberties, North African politics, and the differences among Western Muslim communities.


Sean Brooks, ( was graduated magna cum laude from Davidson  College in 2004 with high honors in political science.  At Davidson  College, he wrote an honors thesis on moderate Islamist parties and began studying Arabic.  Immediately following graduation, he moved to Cairo, Egypt where he worked in the President’s Office of The American University in Cairo and continued his study of Arabic.  During this time, he also spent a considerable amount of time teaching English at a refugee center that primarily assisted refugees from Sudan.  Moved by this experience, he now works at the Save Darfur Coalition in Washington, D.C. as the executive assistant to the executive director of this alliance of over 100 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations.  He plans to begin a joint JD/MA in Middle Eastern Studies degree program in the fall of 2007.


Shadi Hamid, (, was, this past year, a Fulbright Fellow in Amman, Jordan, researching Islamist participation in the democratic process. He was previously Legislative Fellow at the Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, where he worked on foreign affairs. His articles on US foreign policy and Arab politics have appeared, most recently, in the Carnegie Endowment’s Arab Reform Bulletin, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Post, The Jordan Times, The Daily Star, and Insight Turkey. In 2004, he was co-founder of Muslims for John Kerry as well as the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association. Hamid is currently Special Assistant on Muslim outreach to Dina Powell, Deputy Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. In this capacity, he has served as a key member of the interagency Public Diplomacy working group, which advises Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes on how to more effectively connect with Arab and Muslim audiences. A David L. Boren Fellow, Hamid is completing his Master’s degree at Georgetown  University‘s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. He was recently awarded a Marshall Scholarship to pursue his PhD in Politics at Oxford, where he will be focusing on the role of Islamist parties during democratic transitions. 


Shaznene Hussain, ( Currently a Master’s Candidate in Political Science Areas of specialization: Comparative Politics (with an emphasis on the Middle East) and International Relations.Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Political Science, Fall 2004 to Spring 2006. Expected graduation date: May 2006.Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Middle East & Islamic Studies from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 2004.


Vanessa Ruget, ( Vanessa Ruget currently teaches comparative politics at Bentley  College ( Massachusetts, USA). Her research focuses on citizenship and democracy in Kyrgyzstan. Previously, she taught political science at the University of Bordeaux in France, and at the American  University in Kyrgyzstan (as a Civic Education Fellow). She received her Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Bordeaux.


Victoria Zyp, ( ) is a Masters student at Georgetown  University.  Until recently she served as the International Programs Coordinator at Street Law, Inc, a non-profit specializing in law, democracy and human rights education.  Victoria will spend the summer studying in Damascus, Syria.


Wael Nawara, ( is a co-founder of El Ghad Party and the Party Secretary’s General. He writes in El Masry Al Youm Independent Daily Newspaper, El Ghad Weekly, Economic Reform Bulletin published by CIPE and “Together” published by EJB. Wael was graduated as an Engineer in 1984 and earned a Masters degree in International Marketing from University of Strathclyde in the UK in 1991.

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