Dr. Ali Alkandari

Dr. Ali Alkandari is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum. He is a history professor at Kuwait University specializing in Islamist movements, social transformations, and the contemporary history of the Gulf. Dr. Alkandari holds Masters of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and received his PhD from the University of Exeter in 2014 in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He is currently the head of Kuwait University Faculty Association KUFA. He also served as a member of the National Union of Kuwaiti Students from 2010 to 2013, serving as its president during his final year. He has appeared widely as a contributor on Gulf media networks, including Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, Mont Carlo, and Al Arabi.

Dr. Dania Thafer

Dr. Dania Thafer is the Executive Director of Gulf International Forum, an institute based in Washington, D.C. that provides analysis on political, economic, social, and security issues for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Iran, Iraq and Yemen. She is also a Professorial Lecturer at the School of Foreign Service’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Her expertise is on the Gulf region’s security, U.S.-Gulf relations, and the political economy of the GCC states.

 

Dr. Thafer has been widely published and consults regularly on matters concerning the GCC and the Middle East. Dr. Thafer has a new book titled “Creative Insecurity: Institutional Inertia and Youth Potential in the GCC” published by Oxford University Press and Hurst Co. (2023). Additionally, she has co-authored two edited books “The Arms Trade, Military Services and the Security Market in the Gulf States: Trends and Implications” and “The Dilemma of Security and Defense in the Gulf Region.” Her commentary has appeared in international media outlets, including:  The New York Times, Financial Times, BBC World, Washington Post, Forbes, Al Jazeera and others. Additionally, she is regularly consulted by governmental, non-governmental, corporations and research institutions globally.

 

Previously, she was responsible for building relationships with foreign dignitaries from the Middle East at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Thafer has a master’s degree in political science from New York University, and Ph.D. in Political Science, specialized in the Political Economy and International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

Dr. Courtney Freer

Dr. Courtney Freer a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum and a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University. Previously, Dr. Freer was Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre. From 2015-2020, she was a Research Officer for the Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre. Her work focuses on the domestic politics of the Gulf states, particularly the roles played by Islamism and tribalism. Her book Rentier Islamism: The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gulf Monarchies, based on her DPhil thesis at the University of Oxford and published by Oxford University Press in 2018, examines the socio-political role played by the Muslim Brotherhood groups in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. She previously worked at the Brookings Doha Center and the US–Saudi Arabian Business Council. Courtney holds a BA from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the George Washington University.

Dr. Dania Thafer

Dr. Dania Thafer is the Executive Director of Gulf International Forum, an institute based in Washington, D.C. that provides analysis on political, economic, social, and security issues for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Iran, Iraq and Yemen. She is also a Professorial Lecturer at the School of Foreign Service’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Her expertise is on the Gulf region’s security, U.S.-Gulf relations, and the political economy of the GCC states.

Dr. Thafer has been widely published and consults regularly on matters concerning the GCC and the Middle East. Dr. Thafer has a new book titled “Creative Insecurity: Institutional Inertia and Youth Potential in the GCC” published by Oxford University Press and Hurst Co. (2023). Additionally, she has co-authored two edited books “The Arms Trade, Military Services and the Security Market in the Gulf States: Trends and Implications” and “The Dilemma of Security and Defense in the Gulf Region.” Her commentary has appeared in international media outlets, including:  The New York Times, Financial Times, BBC World, Washington Post, Forbes, Al Jazeera and others. Additionally, she is regularly consulted by governmental, non-governmental, corporations and research institutions globally.

Previously, she was responsible for building relationships with foreign dignitaries from the Middle East at the National Defense University’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC. Dr. Thafer has a master’s degree in political science from New York University, and Ph.D. in Political Science, specialized in the Political Economy and International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

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