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. Hind Al Ansari

Dr. Hind Al Ansari is a Non-Resident Fellow at Gulf International Forum. She is a development and global education researcher based in Washington and recently completed a one-year fellowship at the Wilson Center. Dr. Al-Ansari has published multiple articles and has been recognized for her work as a recipient of the Middle East Policy Council 40 Under 40 Award. She holds a PhD in Education from Cambridge University and a Master in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard.

Dr. Daniel Serwer

Professor Daniel Serwer (Ph.D., Princeton) directs the Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Senior Fellow at its Center for Transatlantic Relations and affiliated as a Scholar with the Middle East Institute. His current interests focus on the civilian instruments needed to protect U.S. national security as well as transition and state-building in the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans. His Righting the Balance: How You Can Help Protect America was published in November 2013 by Potomac Books. Formerly vice president for centers of peacebuilding innovation at the United States Institute of Peace, he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was also vice president for peace and stability operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans. As a minister-counselor at the U.S. Department of State, Serwer directed the European office of intelligence and research and served as U.S. special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation, mediating between Croats and Muslims and negotiating the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. From 1990 to 1993, he was deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, leading a major diplomatic mission through the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War. Serwer holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University, an M.S. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Haverford College. He speaks Italian, French and Portuguese, as well as beginning Arabic.

Dr. Nabeel A. Khoury

Nabeel A. Khoury is a Senior Non-resident Fellow. In 2013, after twenty-five years in the Foreign Service, Dr. Khoury retired from the US Department of State with the rank of Minister Counselor. In his last overseas posting, Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Yemen, from 2004 to 2007. In 2003, during the Iraq War, he served as department spokesperson at US Central Command in Doha and in Baghdad. In his last posting in Washington before retirement, Khoury served as director of the Near East and South Asia Office at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He has also taught Middle East and US strategy courses at the National Defense University and at Northwestern University. Dr. Khoury is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Arab Center Washington D.C.

Khoury earned a BA in political science from the American University of Beirut and both an MA and PhD in political science from the State University of New York at Albany. Before his Foreign Service career, Khoury was assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and assistant professor of political science at the University of Jordan in Amman. He has published articles on issues of leadership and development in the Arab world in the Middle East Journal, the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and has published on the regional impact of the Arab uprisings and on US policy in Yemen in Middle East Policy. His monograph, Bunker Diplomacy: An Arab-American in the US Foreign Service, was published by Westphalia Press in 2019. Khoury’s publications and opinions can be found on Twitter @khoury_nabeel, and on his personal website: nabeelkhoury.com

Ambassador Patrick Theros

Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros is Strategic Advisor and Senior Fellow at Gulf International Forum. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar from 1995-1998. Prior to his appointment, he served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, responsible for the coordination of all U.S. Government counterterrorism activities outside the United States. From 1991-1993, Ambassador Theros served as the Political Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of Central Command (CENTCOM).


Ambassador Theros joined the Foreign Service in 1963, and served in a variety of positions in Washington D.C., Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Syria, including charge d’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassies in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.


In 1999, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al-Thani awarded Ambassador Theros the Qatar Order of Merit for his efforts in service of the U.S.-Qatar bilateral relationship. His commitment to national service also earned him the President’s Meritorious Service Award and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service (1992). Ambassador Theros has also earned four Superior Honor Awards, the highest awards for distinguished service given by the Foreign Service.


After his retirement from the Foreign Service Ambassador Theros assumed the office of President of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council in March 2000 until his retirement in 2017.


Ambassador Theros’ personal commitment to community and public service earned him the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem (1999), as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom (2005).


In addition to his duties as President of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council, Ambassador Theros is also active in the following organizations: The Middle East Policy Council, Board of Directors; The Council of Foreign Relations, Member; The Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Member; and The American Academy of Diplomacy, Member.


Ambassador Theros graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1963. He has done advanced studies at the American University in Washington, D.C., the Universidad Centroamericana in Nicaragua, the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He is married to Aspasia (nee Pahigiannis) and has three children. He speaks and reads Spanish, Arabic and Greek professionally.

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.

Aasim Alwaleed Ali Al-Thani

Sheikh Aasim Alwaleed Ali Al-Thani is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Gulf International Forum. He is a Young Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy and a commissioned officer in the Ministry of Defence (MOD). He has served as a platoon commander, national security analyst, and operations officer in the Qatar Armed Forces (QAF). He holds several honours and has received special recognition from national and foreign heads of state.

Sheikh Aasim is a nominee of the Ministry of Defence for the MSt in Diplomatic Studies Programme (DSP) at the University of Oxford. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) and Ahmed Bin Mohammed Military Academy (ABMMC) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service with a Major in International Politics, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Military Science, respectively. He is a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors Society. His research interests include geopolitics, strategic studies, intelligence history, defense diplomacy and small states’ security.

Dr. Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou

Dr. Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou is a Non-Resident Fellow. Dr. Mohseni-Cheraghlou has worked extensively in a number of divisions in the World Bank, including its treasury group, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) sustainable development group, and Development Economics (DEC) research group. Prior to his academic career, Professor Mohseni worked as a telecommunication engineer for Texas Instruments, Inc.

His research interests include development macroeconomics, economies of the MENA region, and Islamic finance. Professor Mohseni has taught courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, history of economic thought, and development economics at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He will be teaching ECON-605 Introduction to Mathematical Analysis.

Dr. Malak Al-Rasheed

Dr. Malak Al-Rasheed is a Non-Resident Fellow. She is also a professor of Clinical Social Work at Kuwait University. Through her career in social work, Dr. Al-Rasheed has gained experience in many functional areas, including as a social consultant for the UN Development Program’s youth violence prevention programs, a probation officer within Kuwait Ministry of Social Affairs, and a psychological-social counselor within private educational institutions. Among other positions, Dr. Al-Rasheed has served as a member of the Supreme Advisory Council for Family Affairs, the GCC Secretariat’s Committee of Experts on Social Affairs, as well as serving as Vice President of the Kuwaiti Social Work Association.

Dr. Auhoud Albulushi

Dr. Auhoud Albulushi is a Non-Resident Fellow. Dr. Albulushi is an academic and researcher with a multi-disciplinary background in linguistics, sociology, education and law. She obtained her PhD from Warwick University in the United Kingdom in the area of Applied Linguistics. She is currently finishing an LLM degree in International Law and Commercial Law from Hertfordshire University in the United Kingdom. Albulushi worked for 20 years as an academic in the college of Education at Sultan Qaboos University. Besides her academic duties, she held the post of head of Research and studies department at the Omani Studies Center at Sultan Qaboos University. Her work involved carrying out and encouraging research on issues pertaining to Oman as well as providing research consultations to researchers interested in the Omani society and culture. She is currently a freelance consultant and the executive director of Derasat Educational and Research consultancy. Her research interests center around education, linguistics, policy making, social issues and women studies. In addition, she is active in the area of child welfare and development as a founding member of the Children Public Library and former vice-president of the Children First Association in the

Rachel Ziemba

Ms. Rachel Ziemba is a Non-Resident Fellow. She is the founder of Ziemba Insights, a macroeconomics and policy due-diligence advisory firm. Additionally, Ms. Ziemba is an Adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and an Adjunct Lecturer at NYU, Center for Global Affairs. Ms. Ziemba is also a Strategist at Alpha Z Advisors and Advisor at Globalwonks. Her research focuses on the interlinkages between economics, finance and security issues. Her research topics include coercive economic policies such as sanctions, economic resilience and the role of state-owned investors including sovereign wealth funds.


Dr. Tarik M. Yousef

Dr. Tarik M. Yousef is Senior Non-Resident Fellow. He is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Council on Global Affairs. Prior, he served as Senior Fellow and Director of the Brookings Doha Center and was a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He is a research fellow with the Economic Research Forum in Cairo.

His career has spanned the academic and think tank world at the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. His involvement with public policy includes working in the Middle East Department at the International Monetary Fund, the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank, and the UN Millennium Project.

He has contributed more than 75 articles, chapters, and reports, and co-edited several volumes including most recently “The Belt and Road Initiative: China-Middle East Cooperation in an Age of Geopolitical Turbulence” (Brookings Doha Center and the Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences, 2019); “Public Sector Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons of Experience for a Region in Transition” (Brookings Press, 2020); and “The Gulf Cooperation Council at Forty: Risk & Opportunity in a Changing World” (Brookings Press, 2021).

Yousef has served on the boards of the Middle East Economics Association; United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports; Arab Human Development Report; Arab Knowledge Report; Gender Economic Research and Policy Analysis in the Arab World; The Social and Economic Survey Research Institute; the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum; and the Arab Banking Corporation.

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