SISMEC Director Leila Hudson and the 2010-2011 SISMEC Research Associates
Dr. Leila Hudson
Dr. Leila Hudson, SISMEC Program Director, is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. A graduate of Yale College (BA) and the University of Michigan’s Anthropology Department (MA) and Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History (PhD), she researches and teaches about culture and political economy in the Arab Mashreq. She is the author of Transforming Damascus: Space and Modernity in an Islamic City (IB Tauris, 2008) and Middle Eastern Humanities: An Introduction to Middle Eastern Cultures (Kendall Hunt, 2010) as well as articles on gender, culture, and power in the Ottoman and contemporary Middle East. She is currently co-editing a volume on Media Evolution in the Middle East and working on a monograph on global and local capital flows in the Arab Middle East.
SISMEC Academic Advisory Board
David Dunford retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1995 following completion of his assignment as Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. He served from 1988-92 in Saudi Arabia as Deputy Ambassador, including 15 months as Acting Ambassador. His other Foreign Service assignments included Director of Egyptian Affairs in the Department of State in Washington, DC, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President.
Ambassador Dunford is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Arizona where he teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Middle East Business Environment. He was an Adjunct Professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management from 1998- 2000. He is on the Governing Board of the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow with visits to small colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Over the past six years he has traveled to Korea, Germany and to various military bases in the U.S. to assist in the training of U.S.
forces being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
During 1997-8, Ambassador Dunford was Coordinator of the Transition Team for the establishment of the Bank for Economic Cooperation and Development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENABANK). The Team offices were located in Cairo. From April to June of 2003, he worked for the Organization of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, and later the Coalition Provisional Authority, in Baghdad as Senior Ministerial Liaison to Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Faten Ghosen
Dr. Faten Ghosn received her BA and MA from the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on the interaction of adversaries, be they conflictual or cooperative. A common theme
running throughout her professional interests is the importance of the choice of strategy that is picked by the adversaries to manage their conflicts. Her main areas of interest include: conflict, conflict management, negotiations, as well as Middle East politics. Her publications include "Getting to the Table and Getting to Yes: An Analysis of International Negotiations," in
International Studies Quarterly; "Israel and Lebanon: A Precarious Relationship," in The Middle East-Peace by Piece: The Quest for a Solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, edited by Hassan Barari. "The MID 3 Data Set, 1993-2001: Procedures, Coding Rules, and Description," in Conflict Management and Peace Science; and "Negotiations, Guns and Money: Do Constrained Leaders Do Better?" in Causes and Consequences of International Conflict: Data, Methods and Theory edited by Glenn Palmer.
SISMEC Research Fellows
Dylan Baun is PhD student in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies atthe University of Arizona. His research interests include conflict studies, historiography and state-society relations in the Middle East and North Africa. He recently finished a short-term fellowship at the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, where he was researching the causes for conflict variation in the ongoing Arab Uprisings. His dissertation research focuses on the history of modern Lebanon and the interaction between state/nation-building policies, the solidification of communal solidarities and the development of armed identity groups.
Johann Chacko is an MA student at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona, and a current Fellow of the US Department of Education’s “Foreign Language and Area Studies” program. His thesis subject focuses on the Deobandi movement's relationship with the question of nationalism in South and Central Asia. Johann won the 2001 “Spirit of Inquiry” research grant from The University of Arizona as a geography senior to explore the possibility of combining GIS technology with media reports to map conflict intensity in Sri Lanka. He worked (2001-05) as an open source intelligence analyst in the private sector, focusing on military crises and campaigns in the Middle East and South Asia. Some of his work was re-published by the Center for Defense Information (CDI), and has been cited in the US Army War College’s journal Parameters and other military academic publications. He also researched and co-wrote articles on terrorism, nuclear issues and international relations published in the Asia Times and the Australian Journal of International Affairs. Johann taught introductory political science and international relations courses at Christ University’s School of Law in Bangalore, India (2007-08), where he also collaborated with retired practitioners to design and teach a course for international exchange students on the diplomatic history of India’s relationship with S.E. Asia.
David Callen is a PhD student in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona with a graduate minor in Comparative Politics. His research interests include the contemporary history of the Levant, in particular Syria and Lebanon, and the nexus of religion, politics and economy in the study of conflict. Callen retains a functional knowledge of Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic, which he attained and honed while living in Israel and Lebanon and traveling the region of the Middle East. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at Texas Christian University in History and Biology while taking numerous courses on area studies and foreign policy before earning a Master of Arts in Middle East History, with honors, from Tel Aviv University. During his time in Tel Aviv, Callen had the opportunity to work on topics ranging from Radical Islamic Movements to Oil Politics in the Persian Gulf to Religion and State in the Modern Middle East. In between his academic ventures, Callen worked for a financial services company, where he did fiscal and economic analysis, and in security, where he implemented his observational and analytical skills in a practical environment.
Matt Flannes is a MPA candidate in the School of Government and Public Policy and a recent graduate of the Masters program at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. His masters thesis, successfully defended in May 2011, was entitled “Neoliberalism, Creative Destruction and the Economic Reconstruction of Iraq, 2003-2004.” He received his Bachelors degree in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Middle Eastern Studies and Journalism. He has interned for the the Bureau of Near Eastern at the US Department of State and the Washington D.C. offices of US Senator Dianne Feinstein. Flannes works for the Middle East and North Africa Graduate Student Association at the University of Arizona as the Web Editor. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, and is currently teaching second semester Arabic to undergraduate students.
Gulsum Gurbuz-Küçüksari is a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona’s School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies majoring in Turkish Studies. Her research focuses on the rise of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey in early 20th century and how various actors such as Kurdish intelligentsia, Kurdish shaiks, Kurdish madrasas and Kurdish press played a part in this rise. She is also interested in the continuity, transformations and different manifestations of Kurdish consciousness in contemporary Turkey and its relationship to Turkish politics. She received her BA in English Language and Literature in Turkey, and her MA in Islamic Studies and Christian- Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary, CT. She worked as an adjunct faculty teaching World Religions at Mesa Community College, Mesa, AZ. She also served as a chaplain at Mount Holyoke College, MA, and later at Banner Desert Medical Center, Mesa, AZ.
Ilker Hepkaner, holding a BA of International Relations from Galatasaray University in Turkey, joined the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies Master’s program in 2010. He is currently working on Turkish Cinema’s metamorphosis after 1980 Coup d’état beside his efforts in translating some literary works from Turkish to English. He is also interested in representation of Jews in Turkey, minority cinema and literature, and Sephardic Jews in Israel. He speaks English, Turkish, French, and Hebrew.
Lyndall Herman is a PhD student in the School of Middle Eastern and North Africa Studies at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include civil-military relations, the role of international aid organizations in conflict, and political elite theory in relation to the Levant, in particular Syria, Lebanon, and Israel-Palestine. Lyndall received her BA with honours in Political Science and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, before moving to London to attend King’s College where she received her MA in Intelligence and International Security. While living in London Lyndall worked for the One World Trust and Future Events News Service, as a Research Analyst on the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia desk. From 2007-2009 Lyndall worked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip, before returning to London to work for Conciliation Resources, a peacebuilding NGO.
Feras Klenk is a recent graduate from the University of Utah. He obtained his Master of Arts degree in Middle Eastern Studies-Political Science from the MEC (Middle East Center). He received his Bachelors degree in International Studies Middle East/African Studies from Texas State University. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and his interests include Middle East politics and history specifically Yemen and Lebanon, nationalism, identity politics, military conflict/cultures of violence, and Islamic origins (or history of Islam).
Colin Owens served in the U.S. Army (1999-2003) and the U.S. Air Force Reserve (2004-2007). After leaving active duty he attended the University of New Mexico and was awarded the Fred Harris Scholarship to intern under Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to work for the Senator’s foreign affairs legislative assistant. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the Department of School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. His research interests include: insurgency and counterinsurgency, illicit transnational networks, the use of violence, and propaganda/recruitment for insurgent movements. While at the University of Arizona Colin has created a dual degree program between the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the School of Government and Public Policy. He has been active in promoting the study of the Middle East through the Middle East and North African graduate student association and is dedicated to promoting scholarship focused on Middle Eastern conflict and conflict resolution.