19/03/2017 @ All Day –

The collapse of regional order has made the security failures of the Sharq region ever more apparent. State failures, violent extremism, the emergence of militia groups as central regional forces, chemical warfare, and the arms race are among the security problems of the region which call for the development of a new security architecture for the MENA. This conference will bring together experts, policymakers, and current and former officials, as well as representatives of international agencies, to share their perspectives and provide new insights on current security issues and suggest frameworks for a new security architecture in the region.

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  • Simultaneous translation will be available in Turkish, Arabic and English
  • Konferansımızda Türkçe, İngilizce ve Arapça simültane çeviri olacaktır
  • الترجمة الفورية ستكون متاحة باللغات: الانجليزيه، التركية، والعربية

Conference Description

The collapse of regional order has made the security failures of the Sharq region ever more apparent. State failures, violent extremism, the emergence of militia groups as prevalent regional forces, chemical warfare, and the arms race are among the security problems, which call for the development of a new security architecture for the MENA region.

The phenomenon of the failed state as witnessed in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya triggered the rise of violent extremism and militia forces as new security apparatuses in the region. The legitimacy concerns surrounding non-state actors, given their prevalent terrorist actions across the region, make determining legitimate actors of the new security architecture even harder.  The long-standing crises the region has been suffering seem to have created support for autocratic regimes and whether the foreign powers favored these regimes is an issue that should be discussed.  In efforts to map the road ahead for establishing the new security architecture, the role of international powers is of paramount importance especially in the issue of implementing economic and political cooperation. Additionally, the regional leadership is needed in consolidating counter-terrorism efforts without resorting to proxies to end sectarian divisions in framing this new structure.

The region witnessed change in the nature of security apparatuses and the nature of conflicts. Energy resources, nuclear efforts, technological developments, and even social media became sources of conflict, let alone the emergence of new characteristics in warfare and type of militarization. In order to determine a well-functioning new security architecture, understanding the nature of conflicts is a must. Yet, amid this surge of conflict, the issue of human rights and its importance in the new security architecture should not be overlooked. Peoples of the region have deeply suffered from the use of chemical weapons, asymmetrical force and continue to be exposed to surveillance that overrides the right to privacy. To find solutions to breach of rights, the integration of human rights into this structure through international and regional conventions should be debated. The new security architecture also needs to lay grounds for law enforcement in complying with human rights and citizenship rights in the region. The role of regional and international multilateral organizations is another point of debate. The new structure need to assess the role that global institutions such as the UN, UN related bodies, NATO, OSCE and regional institutions including the Arab League, the OIC and the GCC should play in the region.

This conference organized by the Al Shaq Forum and Afro Middle East Center (AMEC) partnership will bring together experts, policymakers, and current and former officials, as well as representatives of international agencies, to share new perspectives and provide new insights on the aforementioned security issues in order to suggest frameworks for a new security architecture in the MENA region.

Plenary 1 – Session 1
The collapsing regional order and the need for a new security architecture for the MENA region
  • The failed state phenomenon, terrorism and the emergence of militia forces as the new security and military apparatus in the region
  • Dictatorship vs. democracy: Are the long-standing crises in the region creating the backing for autocratic regimes?
  • The role of foreign interventions and foreign involvement in the collapsing security order in the region: direct military operations and indirect involvement (e.g. political, financial and military aid)
  • What is the role of military alliances and aid in fueling current military conflicts and security dilemmas in the region?
  • What should be the pillars of the new security architecture?: Economic, military and/or political cooperation?
Parallel Session 1
Determining the actors of the new security architecture
  • Who are the legitimate state actors?: Questions of the legitimate use of force and state terrorism in defining actors within the new security architecture
  • Defining legitimate non-state actors:

a) The problems associated with the legalization of non-state militia groups

b) The unlawful characteristics of militias as barriers for legitimization: terrorist acts committed by militia groups across the region

c) What should be the balance between the integration and elimination of militia groups vis a vis the new security architecture?

  • Defining stateless actors: long-term stateless actors as governing bodies
Parallel Session 2
The role of regional and international multilateral organizations in the  new security architecture
  • What can the Arab League, the OIC, the Maghreb Union, the GCC and the African Union offerthe new security architecture in the region?
  • What can the UN and other related bodies offer the new security architecture?
  • Can NATO, OSCE or the EU provide frameworks for the new architecture?
  • Can multilateral organizations help prevent the use of armed groups as proxy war and foreign policy tools in the region?
Parallel Session 3
The changing nature of conflicts in the region
  • What are the changing characteristics of war and militarization in the region:
  • The impact of the demand for a particular type of military equipment and training due to the increasing threat of civil wars, coups and internal conflicts
  • Porous borders and cross-border military entities
  • Energy resources as war targets and sources of war funding
  • Nuclear military capacity in the region: how to ensure nuclear non-proliferation within the new security architecture
  • How illicit arms trade interests in the region affect current crises and how to bring rules and standards to the arms trade in the region
  • The role of social media in recruitment for terrorism and disseminating the fear of terrorism
  • The impact of the use of unmanned devices (drones, UAVs, etc.) in the region
Parallel Session 4
Human rights and the new security architecture
  •  The tragedy of chemical warfare: preventing the use of chemical weapons in regional conflicts
  • How can we integrate human rights into the new security structure?: The role of international conventions and the need for drafting regional conventions
  • What can be the mechanisms to enforce human rights in the new security architecture?
  • How to determine the moral and ethical pillars of the new security architecture in the region?
  • Where is the line between lawful surveillance and the invasion of the right to privacy?
Final Session – Plenary Session 2
Mapping the new security architecture: the road ahead
  • Which states, actors and organizations should/could be at the nucleus of the new architecture?
  • How essential are economic and political cooperation as complementary efforts towards the new security architecture?
  • What role can international powers take in the new architecture?
  • What are the ways to end the sectarian divide under this new security framework?
  • How can we prevent the use of non-state actors as proxy war and foreign policy tools?
  • How can we create effective counter-terrorism efforts within the new security architecture?: Consolidating counter-terrorism efforts under regional leadership




Screenshot at Mar 16 14-48-44



Speakers & Moderatores

Wadah Khanfar Wadah Khanfar is the President of the Al Sharq Forum and former Director-General of the Al Jazeera Network. He is a board member of the International Crisis Group and Global Editors Network (GEN). Khanfar has been named as one of Foreign Policy›s as well as one of Fast 2011 global thinkers of 100 Top Company›s ‹Most Creative People in Business› of the year

Richard Atwood is the director for the New York based International Crisis Group, a non-governmental conflict prevention organisation. He advises Crisis Group’s president on policy in Africa and the Middle East; represents the organisation at the United Nations; and leads its cross-cutting work on al-Qaida and ISIS. Before Crisis Group, he worked across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia for about fifteen years under different local and international organizations


Frederic Wehrey is a senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He specializes in security affairs, civil-military relations, and identity politics, with a focus on North Africa and the Gulf. He holds a doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University. He studied Arabic at Cairo University, the University of Jordan, and the Yemen Language Center in Sana’a

Fatma Cere

Fatma Ceren Yazgan, currently holds the position of Deputy Director for Security and Intelligence Affairs in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey . She worked at bilateral political desks (EFTA countries; Americas) and Directorate for Security and Intelligence. She has BA in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University, Turkey, and Mlitt. in Terrorism Studies from University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Amr Darrag Amr Darrag Amr Darrag is currently Chairman of “The Egyptian Institute for Political and Strategic Studies” a think tank based in Istanbul, Turkey. He also served as Egypt’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation during Mohammed Morsi’s presidency before the military coup in 2013. He was originally a Civil Engineering Professor at Cairo University and he got his Ph.D. from Purdue University, USA in 1987.

Galip Dalay is the Research Director at the Al Sharq Forum and the senior associate fellow on Turkey and Kurdish Affairs at the Al Jazeera Center for Studies. He previously worked as a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and as a political researcher at SETA Foundation in Ankara

paolo magri

Paolo Magri is Executive Vice President and Director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and Professor of International Relations at Bocconi University. He is also Secretary of the Italian Group of the Trilateral Commission; Member of the Board of Directors of the Italy-China Foundation and of the Italy-Russia Foundation; Member of the Strategic Committee of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs


Falah Mustafa Bakir is the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations for the Kurdistan Regional Government. Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir was appointed as the first Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations in September 2006, tasked with administering KRG foreign policy and bolstering the Region’s relations with the international community for the government’s fifth cabinet. He is also representing KRG at multinational forums


Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour is the Deputy Foreign Minister for Research and Education (covers four directorate general) and president of IPIS. He was an Ambassador and a Deputy Permanent Representative for the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations. Prior to this, he was the Director of the Institute for Political and International Studies, the research branch of Iran’s foreign ministry

John Bell2

John Bell is the Director of the Middle East & Mediterranean Programme at the Toledo International Centre for Peace, and the Director of The Conciliators Guild, an organization dedicated to new foundations for policy development and excellence in diplomacy. He was formerly Middle East Director in Jerusalem for Search for Common Ground. He was also an advisor to the Canadian Government during the Iraq crisis

Taha ozhan2

Taha Özhan, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission, Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey. Previously, He served as Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey. Prior to this, He served as president of Ankara-headquarterd SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research


Na’eem Jeenah is the Executive Director of the Afro- Middle East Centre based in South Africa. Na’eem’s publications include Pretending Democracy: Israel, an ethnocratic state. He has an MA in social sciences from the University of the Witwatersrand and is reading for a PhD in Political Studies. His areas of specialisation include the Middle East, the Political Islam, South African politics and terrorism


Mohammad Affan Training Director at Al-Sharq Forum. He is also a doctorate researcher at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University. He had MA degree of political science from American University in Cairo. His dissertation was translated into Arabic and published as a book titled: “Wahhabism and the Brotherhood: the conflict on the concept of the state and the legitimacy of power.” His research Interests include comparative MENA studies, Islamism and State-theory


Zeynep Coskun Koc is a Research Fellow at Al Sharq Forum. Prior to joining Al Sharq, she was a Dr. Herchel Smith Fellow at the University of Cambridge conducting Economic and Anthropological research about the MENA region. Zeynep has an MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. from Williams College in Economics and Arabic Studies. Her current work focuses on the US-Middle East relations

Ömer Aslan

Dr. Ömer Aslan is an Associate Fellow at Al Sharq Forum and an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Security Sciences at the Turkish National Police Academy (TNPA). He received his PhD from Bilkent University. His current research interests are military and politics in the Sharq region, external actors and military cou ps d’état, media and military coups, radicalization and foreign fighters

Yacoob Ab

Yacoob Abba Omar is the Head of Strategy and Communications at the Banking Association of South Africa. He graduated with an M.Phil in South African Political Economy through the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is currently completing his PhD on ‘Sovereignty and National Identity in South Africa’ through Wits University. From January 2013 to December 2016 he worked at the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA), a Johannesburg-based research institute


Ezzeddine Abdelmoula is the Manager of Research at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, Abdelmoula holds a PhD in politics from Exeter University, a Masters of International politics from SOAS and a Masters of political philosophy from La Sorbonne, Paris. He edited and translated books and contributed research papers and book chapters including “Al-Jazeera & Televised Revolution” in Routledge Handbook of the Arab Spring 2014

Omar Ashour

Dr. Omar Ashour is a Senior Lecturer in Security- Military Studies and Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter. He is also the Director of the Doctoral Programme at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ashour is a regular contributor to media outlets including the BBC, al-Jazeera, CNN and others. His op-eds were published in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post and The Guardian


Ranj Alaaldin is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), King’s College London. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr Alaaldin consults on regional trends in politics, energy and security, with a particular focus on Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria

Sami Atro

Sami Atroshi is a researcher at University of Duhok, Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, Former Member of Iraqi Parliament (2006- 2010), founding member of (Kani) Organization for Coexisting in Duhok/Iraq, a member of the Steering Committee of Center for Peace and Human Security of American University of Kurdistan (AUDK). He is a PH.D student in peace studies in Sudan University of Science and Technology

ibrahim turhan photo

Ibrahim Turhan is a member of Turkish Parliament. He previously served as the Chairman and CEO of the İstanbul Stock Exchange, 2012 – 2015. Mr. Turhan was also a member of the Leaders’ Circle as well as the Advisory Board of the Global Economic Symposium organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Prior to these roles, Mr. Turhan served in a number of capacities with the Central Bank of Turkey, including Deputy Governor post

Mohammad Sarmini

Mohammad Sarmini is the director general of Jusoor for Studies Center is an independent institution specialized in publishing information, conducting studies and research concerned with political, social, economic, and legal affairs in the Middle East with a .special focus on Syrian affairs


Sinan Hatahet is currently a consultant working with a number of think tanks on Syria. His research is concentrated on governance and local councils, anti-radicalization, Islamism, the Kurdish National Movement, and the new regional order in the Middle East. He previously worked as the executive director of the Syrian National Coalition (SC) media office from its creation .in late 2012 until September 2014


Resul Serdar Atas has been serving as Editorial Director at TRT World since 2015. During the same year, he was assigned as a member of Editorial Board of Euronews on behalf of TRT. He also conducts Program and Newscast Coordinator of TRT World. Currently, he is continuing his Master program at Department of Sociology in Bogazici University

Usman Muha

Usman Muhammad Bugaje, born in Nigeria, earned his PhD in intellectual History of West Africa, graduating in 1991 from Institute of African and Asian Studies, University of Khartoum . From 2007 to 2010 Usman Bugaje was the National Secretary of the Action Congress, one of the major opposition parties in the country. His research interests includes: epistemology and policy issues, especially on education, poverty and good governance

Yury Bar

Yury Barmin is a risk consultant whose work focuses on issues related to the Middle East and Russia’s positioning in the region. Mr Barmin holds an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. He is an Expert at the Russian International Affairs Council covering the Middle East and North Africa, Moscow’s policy towards the region as well as the conflict in Syria


Barzegar is the Director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran. He is also Associate Professor of International Relations and the Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Science and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University. Dr. Barzegar was a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. Dr. Barzegar is Editor-in-Chief of Discourse: An Iranian English Quarterly


Luca Bader is Senior Advisor for International Affairs of the Prime Minister of Italy. 2014- 2016 Chief of Staff of the Foreign Minister of Italy. After finishing undergraduate and postgraduate studies in International Relations at the London School of Economics in 2000, Luca Bader moved to Rome to take up the position of Senior Research Fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs (IAI)z


Adam Atauallah Bensaid is a Researcher at SESRIC, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, where he conducts policy and strategy design for OIC member states in the fields of security sector reform, CVE, national security capacity building and deradicalization. He completed his Msc in Strategic and Defense Studies from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, and is currently completing an MA in International Relations and Contemporary War from King’s College London

marandi (1)

Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran

Bayar Dosky

Dr. Bayar is an assistant professor at the College of International Studies at the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) and has 14 years of expertise in supervising and teaching undergraduate and master degree students in various universities, he taught Turkey and Iran’s Politics, Politics of Kurds and Kurdistan, and international Issues. He obtained his PhD focusing on the Kurdish Question in American Policy toward Turkey 1991-1999 from Mosul University


Osama Farid is an economic and political Advisor. He served as an advisor to President Morsi as the head of international relations

Said Ferj

Said Ferjani is currently the advisor to the Head of Ennahdha politburo, member of the policies formulation committee of the shura council, and a member of the shura council. He is also the former advisor to the Secretary of state justice after being exiled for 22 years and a victim of torture under Ben Ali’s rule

thembisa fakude

Thembisa Fakude is the Head of Research Relations at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies in Doha. He holds a master’s degree in politics from the university of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the former Bureau Chief of Al Jazeera Media Network in Southern Africa and the former Chairperson of the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa

yavuz gu

Yavuz Güçtürk is a research assistant at Law and Human Rights Directorship, SETA. He is studying doctorate in Department of Political Science at Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University. Previously, he worked with various non-governmental organizations in the field of human rights as a reporter and expert. He graduated for both bachelor and master from ODTU (Middle East Technical University), Department of History


Nurşin Ateşoğlu Güney is professor of international relations and head of international relations department at Yıldız Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. Prof. Güney is also vice president and security and nuclear energy fellow at the Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies (BILGESAM). She contributes to BİLGESAM every month by writing one analysis on security related matters. She has extensively published on Middle East, security studies, American foreign and security policies


David Hearst is the Editor-in-Chief of the Middle East Eye, an independent website based in London covering the Middle East in English and French. He writes a column for the Huffington Post’s The World Post and appears as a commentator on the Middle East for Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, TRT, Alaraby TV, Russia Today, Masr Al-Aan TV


Ihtisham Hibatullah is the international relations manager at Al Jazeera Media Network, and board member of the Al Sharq Forum. Prior to this role he has held various positions within the Al Jazeera including as head of international relations and project manager for marketing and communications. He continues to attend and contribute to international forums and seminars on issues related Middle East and wider region

Leonid M. Issaev

Leonid M. Issaev is a member at the Scientific Council of the Russian Political Sciences Association (RPSA). He earned a PhD in 2014 from Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department for Political Science of the National Research University Higher School of Economics. He has published more than 100 publications in Russian and English

M. Akif

M. Akif Kayapınar is an assistant professor in political science and international relations at Istanbul Şehir University since 2009. He completed his PhD at SUNY Binghamton University. His research interests include comparative political theory, comparative politics, and theories of international relations. Recently he has focused on Islamic political thought, with special reference to Ibn Khaldun


Gilbert M. Khadiagala is the Jan Smuts Professor of International Relations and Head of Department of International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He previously taught comparative politics and international relations in Kenya, Canada, and the United States. Prof. Khadiagala holds a doctorate in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C. . His research focuses on governance, leadership, conflict management

Vassily Kuz

Vasily Kuznetsov is the head of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Head of the Centre for Political Systems and Cultures, Faculty of World Politics, Moscow State University. He tries to combine researches in the field of classical Arabic studies to analysis of the current political process in the Arab World

Fuat Key

Fuat Keyman is the Director of Istanbul Policy Center and a Professor of International Relations at Sabancı University. Keyman is a leading Turkish political scientist and an expert on democratization, globalization, international relations, Turkey – EU relations, Turkish foreign policy, and civil society development. He is a member of the Science Academy. He also serves on advisory and editorial boards for a number of international organizations

ammar Ka

Ammar Kahf is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Omran for Strategic Studies, and a Board Member of the Syrian Forum. He earned his Ph.D at the Interdisciplinary Program for Islamic Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles with a subfield focus on political science, history and sociology. His dissertation research was entitled “Syrian Authoritarianism: Persistence or Change?” His research work focuses on geopolitical political studies, transitional period comparative studies, local governance, and economic development

Monica Mark

Monica Marks is a Visiting Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a doctoral candidate at St Antony’s College, Oxford University, where she is a Rhodes Scholar. Ms. Marks specializes on the comparative politics of violent and non-violent Islamist movements and Muslim democratic parties. She is now based in Istanbul, where she has also been a Visiting Professor at Bogazici University

Jamal Abdullah

Jamal Abdullah is currently an Academic Visitor at the Middle East Centre, Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford in the UK. Before joining the University of Oxford in October 2016, he worked for five years (from May 2011 to May 2016) as Researcher and Head of Gulf Studies Unit at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, part of Al Jazeera Media Network in Doha, Qatar

Ahmet Okmus

Ahmet Okumuş is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Istanbul Sehir University. Dr. Okumus received his PhD in political science from Sabanci University. Dr. Okumus is also currently the president of Bilim ve Sanat Vakfi (Foundation for Sciences and Arts). His research interests include contemporary political theory, democratic politics, religion, politics and secularism, theories of modernity and comparative political theory

Mesut Ozcan

Mesut Özcan is the Chairman of Center for Strategic Research at Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also defended his dissertation at Boğaziçi University Atatürk Institute. Studied at Oxford University, St. Antony’s College with Scholarship. He published articles and book chapters on Turkish Foreign Policy, Middle Eastern Politics and Iraq. Worked at İstanbul Commerce University, Department of International Relations as Assistant Professor

Nihat Ali

Nihat Ali Özcan, completed his undergraduate studies in the Turkish Military Academy and in Istanbul University Law Faculty. He received his MA and Ph.D from Dokuz Eylul University in İzmir. His doctorate thesis is on the “PKK, (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), it’s history, ideology and methods”. It was published as a book in 1999. He completed his post-doctoral studies in Oxford University Faculty of History

 Ali Osman

Ali Osman Öztürk is the Public Diplomacy Coordinator & Chief Advisor to the Turkish Prime Minister. Ali Osman Öztürk received his BA and MA at Istanbul University. He earned his Ph.D. in Public Administration at North Carolina State University (2005). Dr.Öztürk has been working with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Numan Kurtulmuş as a senior advisor since late 2014

soli ozel

Soli Özel is a professor of International Relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul and a columnist at Habertürk daily newspaper. He worked as a guest lecturer at Georgetown, Harvard, Tufts and other US universities and has taught at UC Santa Cruz, SAIS, the University of Washington and the Hebrew University. He is also a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations

saadet orus

Saadet Oruc started her journalistic career in Ankara as a diplomatic correspondent in 1995. From 2002 up until 2013 she was based in France. She worked for different news organizations until late 2015. On November 2015, she was appointed as the Chief Advisor to the President of the Turkish Republic by President Erdogan. She writes for the daily Star newspaper and the Daily Sabah(English), and hosts a daily radio program at TRT Radyo Haber

Garth le

Garth le Pere is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Pretoria and a Senior Associate of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection based in Johannesburg. Having served for 12 years, he is also the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Global Dialogue. His areas of interest and publications include international relations theory, multilateral trade and emerging markets

Ferhat Prin

Ferhat Pirincci is a faculty member in the Department of International Relations and the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Uludağ University. He has worked as an Advisor at the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) based in Ankara


Patrick Milton is currently employed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Brendan Simms. He won the 2013 annual joint essay prize of the German History Society and the Royal Historical Society. He has since worked on a collaborative project at the University of Cambridge


Samuel Plumbly is a Political Officer with The Shaikh Group (TSG), focusing on its Syria Track II Dialogue Initiative, a project that aims to build consensus among key Syrian actors in support of a political process to end the conflict. Prior to joining TSG he worked with IOM in Lebanon and as a senior research assistant at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center


Günter Seufert is a senior fellow with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, where he focuses primarily on political developments in Turkey and the region. For several years he was based in Istanbul working as a correspondent for German, Swiss and Austrian newspapers. He also taught in the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cyprus

Muhanad Salom

Muhanad Seloom is an expert in ethno-sectarian conflicts. He is a criminologist in training and a linguist [Arabic, English, and Kurdish]. His research focuses on ethno-sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, terrorism and mechanisms of securitization. In his PhD thesis at the University of Exeter, his hypothesis examined the relationship between designating violent groups “terrorist” and the choice to use violence in an ethnic conflict context

schmidd Dorothee Schmid is an expert on Mediterranean and Middle East issues. Schmid joined IFRI (The French Institute for International Relations) in 2002 in Paris. She has produced extensive analysis on EU and French policies in the region, induced democratization, the political economy and regional balance of powers. She has carried out various consulting missions for public institutions
Adnan Tab

Adnan Tabatabai is the co-founder and CEO of the Germany-based think tank CARPO – Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient. As an expert on Iranian affairs, Tabatabai is consulted by institutions of the EU, German Federal Ministries, members of the Bundestag as well as by research institutions and political organizations on Iran-related issues. Tabatabai is author of the book “Morgen in Iran”.

Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı

Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı is the director of GMF’s office in Ankara, Turkey. Prior to joining GMF, he was the manager of the Resource Development Department of the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey. Previously, Ünlühisarcıklı worked as the director of the ARI Movement, a Turkish NGO promoting participatory democracy, and as a consultant at AB Consulting and Investment Services

Hakki Uy

Hakkı Uygur is the Deputy Director of İRAM (Iranian Studies Center). He was born in Berlin, Germany in 1975. After being graduated from high school in Istanbul, he went to Iran for higher education. He received his master’s degree from IKUI Tehran University in History of Islamic Culture and Civilization. He got his PhD program in Persian Language and Literature from Tehran University in 2015

ahmet uysal

Prof Ahmet Uysal was born in Sekarya, Turkey in 1972. He finished his undergraduate at METU in Sociology department at 1994. He then continued his masters in Political Science at Bilkent University in Ankara. Later on Dr. Uysal conducted research in the Department of Sociology at the Southern Illionis Univerisity in Carbondate Illionis at 1999. He finished his Ph.D. at the same institution in the department of Sociology in 2003

victor willis Victor Willi is currently an Advisor to the World Economic Forum’s Middle East practice and the Academic Director of two interdisciplinary Master programmes at the Graduate Institute in Geneva J. Willi holds a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Arabic, Islamic Studies and Middle East History from University of Zurich. He is fluent in English, German, Arabic and French

Mariya Petkova is a Bulgarian journalist covering the Middle East, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. She is currently deputy editor at Al Jazeera English


Tarik M. Yousef is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development program and the Director of the Brookings Doha Center. His career has spanned the academic world at Georgetown University and the Harvard Kennedy School; the public policy arena at the IMF, the World Bank and more recently the NGO space at Silatech. He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University


Murat Yetkin was born in 1959 in Gaziantep. He graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Middle East Technical University. He worked as reporter and news editor in media outlets such as BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, AFP, Turkish Daily News, Kanal D, NTV and Sabah. Since February 2001, he served as Ankara Correspondent of Radikal daily until the newspaper was closed in 2016. Currently, he is the editor-in-chief of Hürriyet Daily News


Mahlatse Mpya is the events and publications coordinator for the Afro-Middle East Centre, based in South Africa


Haldun Yalçınkaya graduated from Kuleli Military High School and later Turkish Military Academy. During his military service as an officer, he completed his post-graduate studies in International Relations at İstanbul University. After having served more than ten years at the Turkish Military Academy, as of 2013 he became an Associate Professor in International Relations at TOBB University of Economics and Technology


Dr Arzu Yılmaz is Chair of Department of International Relations at American University of Kurdistan based in Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Dr. Arzu Yılmaz has obtained her PhD in International Relations from Ankara University in Turkey, where she wrote her dissertation on Kurdish refugees and the political identity of the refugee agent. Her research interests are : Kurdish Question, Middle East Politics, Migration/ Refugee, Gender and Conflict Resolution


Saban Kardas is the President of ORSAM and a faculty member at the Department of International Relations at TOBB ETU. He received his PhD in political science from the University of Utah. Dr. Kardas also holds a master’s degree in international relations from the METU in Ankara, and a second master’s degree in European Studies from the Center for European Integration Studies in Bonn, Germany


Yılmaz Ensaroğlu Chief Advisor to the Turkish Prime Ministry. He previously served as the president of MAZLUMDER, and director of Law and Human Rights Department of SETA Foundation. He has authored many articles in various books, journals and newspapers on issues of human rights, civil society, democratization, security sector reform, civil-military relations, coup d’états, freedom of religion, secularism, Kurdish question, and hate crimes among others


Yaser Sayed Omar is the Administrative Director at Al Sharq Forum. Yaser has a +10 Years’ Experience in the field of Management, Human Development, and Nonprofit Organizations. He also co-founded a number of civil society organizations working to provide support in the fields of education, charity, and human rights. He is a blogger and writer in many .websites, including Huffington Post Arabi

Abdullah-Masri Abdullah Masri is the Program Coordinator and a Junior Research Fellow at Al Sharq Forum. He is completing his studies at Istanbul Sehir University

Firdause Amri Executive Secretary at Al Sharq Forum. She completed her undergraduate program in History department at Istanbul Sehir University


Yasser Tabbara Senior Researcher at OMRAN Center for Strategic Studies. Prior to that, he served as the spokesperson and legal advisor for the President of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (SOC), and the Syrian National Council (SNC). He also served as Executive Director of the Syrian American Council (SAC), Syrian American Council

Ambassador Mohamed Dangor

Mohammed Dangor As an ambassador Mohammed Dangor is the Middle East and North Africa advisor to the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. He previously served South African ambassador to Syria and to Libya. Ambassador Dangor has a long history in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, and served in the underground movement of the .African National Congress

David Jalilvand

David Ramin Jalilvand works at the Middle East and North Africa Department of the Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung in Berlin. He specializes in energy and international politics. Holding a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin, his doctoral research examined the role of the energy sector in the political economy of Iran. Previously, he studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and Erfurt University

Jawad Abazeed

Jawad Abazeed is currently the Webmaster for Al Sharq Forum. He was the Community Coordinator for Al Sharq Youth Network from 2015 to 2016. He studied accounting at the University of Science and Technology in Yemen. Previously, he has worked in accounting, operation management, and was an IT instructor


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