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New MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies appointed at SOAS

Dr Lina Khatib, MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies appointed at SOAS
Dr Lina Khatib, MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies appointed at SOAS

Dr Lina Khatib, an international expert on policy, politics, security, and culture in relation to the Middle East, has been appointed as the new MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies and Director of the SOAS Middle East Institute.

Dr Khatib has directed policy research programmes at some of the world’s leading policy institutes. She served as director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House and was director of the Carnegie Middle East Center at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to that she co-founded and led the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, founder and patron of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, who endowed the chair more than 20 years ago, and who founded the Middle East Institute at SOAS said "We are delighted with the appointment of Dr Khatib. Her experience at Chatham House and other institutions will enrich the work of the Middle East Institute, and will also benefit the students of the Department of Politics and International Studies. We look forward to working with Dr Khatib on exciting new programmes at SMEI, and to enriching knowledge of the region."

Professor Laura Hammond, Pro-Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange, said: “Lina is an internationally renowned authority on the Middle East and we are delighted that she will be joining us. The SOAS Middle East Institute is home to more than 100 academic members and offers one of the largest concentrations of interdisciplinary expertise in this field globally. We look forward to welcome Lina to the role of Director and working together to tackle some of the most pressing issues related to the region and to provide a showcase for the rich social and cultural diversity of the region.”

Dr Khatib said: “I am excited to lead the SOAS Middle East Institute to become an interdisciplinary hub of thought leadership and innovation. There is no better home for the institute than SOAS, with the university’s solid track record of excellent research and teaching on the Middle East and on the global challenges and opportunities of our time. I look forward to working with the SOAS community to make the SMEI the go-to destination for creative engagement on the Middle East. SMEI has its doors open to thinkers and practitioners from across disciplines and diverse backgrounds.”

Dr Khatib's work is firmly interdisciplinary, spanning the study and practice of international affairs, political transitions, and visual culture and communications. She is the author of three books including Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle (2013), and has co-authored, edited or co-edited four other volumes. She is a frequent writer and commentator on current affairs in the Middle East, with appearances on channels like CNN and BBC and op-eds in outlets such as Foreign Policy, TIME, Foreign Affairs, and the Guardian. She is the author of the weekly Middle East newsletter for the World Politics Review. She commences her role as MBI Chair in late March 2023.

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