The Middle East Institute

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Paul Salem is president of the Middle East Institute. He focuses on issues of political change, transition, and conflict as well as the regional and international relations of the Middle East.  He has a particular emphasis on the countries of the Levant and Egypt. Salem writes regularly in the Arab and Western press and has been published in numerous journals and newspapers. Salem is the author and editor of a number of books and reports including From Chaos to Cooperation: Toward Regional Order in the Middle East (ed.

Marvin G. Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003. He is currently director for Pakistan Studies at The Middle East Institute.

Gönül Tol is the founding director of The Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies. She is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies.

After three years of field research in Germany and the Netherlands, she wrote her dissertation on the radicalization of the Turkish Islamist movement Milli Gorus in Western Europe. 

Nasser bin Nasser is the managing director of the Middle East Scientific Institute for Security based in Amman, Jordan. In this position, he focuses on addressing chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) risks across the region. Mr. Nasser is also the head of the Middle East Regional Secretariat, the first of eight secretariats to be established globally under the European Union’s Centres of Excellence initiative on CBRN issues.

Wa'el Alzayat is CEO of Emgage Foundation, a national civic education and engagement grassroots organization for Muslim Americans. Alzayat previously served with distinction as a U.S. Middle East policy expert at the U.S. Department of State for ten years, including as senior policy advisor to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, Syria outreach coordinator with Ambassador Robert Ford, and special assistant to U.S. Ambassador to the Iraq James Jeffrey.

Shabnam Jafari is the Deputy Director of the Center for Education at The Middle East Institute. In her position, she focuses on creating educational opportunties for people in the United States. She manages MEI's Language Program for Arabic, Persian and Turkish classes. Alongside Paul Salem, she leads the Regional Studies Program. She is also the head of the Young Leadership Development Program at MEI.

Husayn Hosoda is a research assistant at the Middle East Institute. He is a student at George Washington University majoring in Middle East Studies with a minor in religion.




Nathan Stock is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. Previously he directed the Carter Center’s Israel-Palestine Field Office for three and a half years, until the summer of 2017.  He led Carter Center efforts to facilitate the reunification of the Palestinian political system and to assert Palestinian sovereignty via international fora.

Amal Kandeel is a policy consultant for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. She specializes in the political economy of the Middle East, and particularly in water and food security, agriculture and climate change, and poverty and rural development issues. Her work has been focused on Egypt, as well as on Jordan, Syria, Morocco, and the UAE.

Dr. Ibrahim Saif served as Jordan's minister of energy & mineral resources from March 2015 to June 2017. He previously served as the minister of planning and international cooperation. Prior to his appointment, Saif was a senior scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, and served as a consultant to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other international organizations. Saif is also a former director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, and served as the secretary general of the Economic and Social Council in Jordan.