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Graduate Program Alumni/ae

The MENA Program is proud of its alumni community and we encourage all of our past students to keep in touch. We are delighted to hear your news about post-graduation life, either in the Middle East and North Africa or elsewhere. Please feel free to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to let us know how you are. Additionally, you are always welcome to stop by our main offices on-campus at any time.

 marzouq-alnusf.jpgMarzouq Alnusf

 PhD Philosophy





 safa-al-saeedi-mena.pngSafa Al-Saeedi

 PhD Political Science





tarek-adam-benchouia.pngTarek Benchouia

 PhD Performance Studies

Foroogh Farhang




foroogh-farhang.pngForoogh Farhang

 PhD Anthropology





noran-mohamed.pngNoran Mohamed

 PhD French and Italian





matt-bent.jpgMatthew Randle-Bent

 PhD Theatre





azadeh-safaeian.jpgAzadeh Safaeian

 PhD Comparative Literary Studies





Sean LeeSean Lee

PhD 2019, Political Science

Dissertation Title: "Minority Communities in Times of Conflict: Civil War in Lebanon and Syria"

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Political Science, American University in Cairo (AUC)

Sean Lee is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Prior to that, he was a doctoral fellow at the Orient Institut-Beirut and an instructor at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He earned his PhD from Northwestern University and an MA from L’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His research focuses on the comparative politics of the Middle East and in particular on minority communities during times of conflict in Lebanon and Syria. He has conducted fieldwork in Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia, Germany, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Elizabeth Derderianelizabeth-derderian.png

PhD 2019, Anthropology (Graduate Certificate in Middle East and North African Studies)

Dissertation Title: “Displaying Culture: The Politics of Art, Liberalism, and the State in the UAE”

Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Council on Middle East Studies, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University

Focusing on the development of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Elizabeth's research explores the emerging ways that state actors draw on art and museums in highly transnational contexts, and on the inequities of representation and practice in a global contemporary art world. She was awarded a Fulbright IIE and a doctoral research grant from the Al Qasimi Foundation to conduct her field research. Her current project focuses on touring exhibitions of Gulf-based artists as modes of cultural diplomacy, particularly given increased focus on Gulf regimes’ human rights records and criticism of the ongoing war in Yemen. She currently serves as a contributing editor for the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s AnthroPod podcast, and co-editor of the Middle East Section of Anthropology News. In the fall of 2020, she will join the College of Wooster as an assistant professor of museum studies and anthropology.


nazli-ozkan.jpgNazlı Özkan

PhD 2018, Anthropology (Graduate Cluster in Middle East and North African Studies)

Dissertation Title: “Affective Secularism: Journalistic Coverage of Religious Differences in Turkey”

Current Position: Post Doctoral Fellow, J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences, University of Arkansas

Nazlı Özkan's primary research interests are the anthropology of religion and the anthropology of media. Her research project "The Politics of Anxiety: Possibilities and Impossibilities of Religious Minority Activism in 'Secular' Turkey" focuses on the televisual media production of the marginalized Alevi religious minority in Turkey.


Leila Tayeb

PhD 2017, Performance Studies and PhD certificate in Middle East & North African Studies

Dissertation Title: “Sonic Upheavals: Music in Libya, 2011–17”

Current Position: Stanford H. Taylor Postdoctoral Associate in Music and Islam in the Contemporary World

Leila Tayeb’s research centers on performance and politics in Africa and the Middle East with a primary focus in contemporary Libya. Her interests revolve around sound and militarism, political authority in daily life, performance ethnography, questions of indigeneity and race in/and northern Africa, Islam and the state, and state-sponsored performance. She also has a background in dance studies.

As a Stanford H. Taylor Postdoctoral Associate in Music and Islam in the Contemporary World at Cornell, Tayeb will teach courses at the intersection of Islamic studies, music, and performance studies.


Emma Chubbemma-chubb.jpg

PhD 2017, Art History and PhD certificate in Middle East & North African Studies

Dissertation Title: "Migration Forms: Contemporary Art in and out of Morocco, 1999-2012"

Current Position: Charlotte Feng Ford '83 Curator of Contemporary Art, Smith College Museum of Art

Emma Chubb is the inaugural Charlotte Feng Ford ’83 Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smith College Museum of Art. Her dissertation examined the relationship between national identity, visual representation, minority communities, and postcolonial migration in Morocco and its diaspora. She contributes regularly to exhibitions and research projects in the MENA region, most recently at L'appartement 22 (Rabat) and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha).

See: "Emma Imbrie Chubb Named Inaugural Charlotte Feng Ford ’83 Curator of Contemporary Art"


Mona Oraby

PhD 2017, Political Science and PhD certificate in Middle East & North African Studies

Dissertation Title: "The Difference that Affiliation Makes: Religious Conversion, Minorities, and the Rule of Law"

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College

Mona Oraby is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. She also serves as Managing Editor of The Immanent Frame, the Social Science Research Council's interdisciplinary forum dedicated to questions of religion, secularism, and the public sphere. Her research and teaching are in the areas of comparative law and religion, law and society, as well as global and postcolonial legal regimes. Before joining Amherst, she was the Jerome Hall Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Law, Society, and Culture at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.


Karima BorniKarima Borni

PhD 2016, Cultural Anthropology

Dissertation Title: “Embodied Authenticity in Moroccan Contemporary Dance”

Current Position: Scholar in Residence, Dance Program, Middlebury College

Karima Borni is a dancer-choreographer and dance studies scholar in the Dance Program at Middlebury College. Her research specialization is in contemporary dance practice and performance in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2008 she founded Ksibah Dance Company, an international initiative to promote dance collaborations in the MENA region. She has worked most extensively in Morocco, teaching and choreographing there for over a decade. She also served in residency on the faculty of the Algerian National Ballet in Algiers, for the Sareyyet Palestinian dance program in the West Bank, for the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, and for dance programs in Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan. She was the co-chair of Northwestern's MENA Graduate Student Association from 2010-12.