Staff Bios


p1319717470-5Joseph Ataman graduated in 2014 with a first class degree in geography from the University of Cambridge. Soon after he moved to Beirut where, as a freelance journalist, he covered the fallout from the Syrian civil war, as well as reporting from Iraq on the war against ISIS. Joseph’s work has been published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and he has written for a range of international publications. Eager to pursue a career as a foreign correspondent, Joseph is a recipient of the Fulbright Commission’s Alistair  Cooke Award for Journalism.


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Sam Bollier is a graduate student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is studying migration policy and international political economy. Before coming to Fletcher, Sam worked for three years as a journalist for Al Jazeera English in Qatar, and studied Arabic in Lebanon and Jordan. He is originally from Massachusetts, and majored in history at Brown University.


JMEPP Associate Editors

Satgin HamrahSatgin Hamrah is a PhD student in History at Tufts University. She has a Master of International Relations degree from Boston University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California. Satgin is also a Doctoral Fellow at the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a Fellow at the South Asia Democratic Forum and is writing a book on the Iran-Iraq war.


aaeaaqaaaaaaaahjaaaajdm5zdnjnmjklwuxotqtnge5ny1hmmjmlwyym2m0mjm3owe2yq-1Numan Aksoy is a recent graduate of Boston University, where he was a staff writer for the Boston Political Review. He has served as an intern in the offices of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Bill Keating of Massachusetts. Last summer he studied abroad in Jordan and then in Morocco for a semester. Focusing on Arabic language and security studies, he is currently applying to graduate school in Boston and Washington, D.C.


12694728_1292931550722213_7204332150144239896_o-1Hind Alboom is a current senior studying International Relations with a concentration in Environment and Development in the Middle East at Boston University. An Emirati, Hind was born and raised in Dubai, witnessing the city’s pivotal transition. Hind’s fluency in Arabic, English, and Swahili stems from both her background and her interest in political and social integration of the Arabian peninsula and Indian subcontinent. She is currently working with the EPA and MassDEP on water discharge projects and understanding environmental justice. 


img_3198 Anna Boots is a first year master’s student at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013 with honors in History and Law, Letters, and Society. Anna spent 15 months in the Morocco as a Fulbright Student Researcher in 2014-2015, first studying Moroccan Arabic in Fes and then conducting ethnographic research on women’s weaving cooperatives in the Middle Atlas Mountains. At Harvard, she is focusing on migration and gender issues in the MENA region. She is originally from Portland, Maine.



Blaire Byg is a graduate student at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where her research interests center on issues of migration and the historical forces shaping politics in the MENA region. She has studied Arabic in Amman and Jerusalem and has worked for several non-profit organizations working on refugee integration, public health, and women’s rights. She wrote her undergraduate thesis at the University of Chicago on investing in sustainable local enterprise networks in the Palestinian agricultural sector as a new model for Palestinian aid.


Bilal Chaudhary is a graduate student (Master of International Business) at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, concentrating on renewable energy, finance, and the Middle East. Before coming to Fletcher, he served in the Foreign Service of Pakistan for 11 years, including diplomatic missions in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He has also worked extensively on counter-terrorism and Pakistan’s bilateral relations with Middle Eastern countries. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Hartford, Connecticut.


_dsc0495Eleanor Ellis is an AM candidate at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She graduated summa cum laude from Whitman College with honors in Race and Ethnic Studies. Eleanor has studied Arabic at the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and, most recently, in Cairo. Her research interests include translation, gender, urban space, migrations, and environmental politics.


jmepp-bio-pic-1Nadim Houssain is a Master in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he completed a BA in Global Studies with a concentration in the Middle East. In 2013 he studied Arabic in Amman, Jordan through the Critical Language Scholarship Program. He also worked for two years in Burkina Faso through the Peace Corps as a community economic development volunteer. As an Israeli citizen of Palestinian descent, he has made frequent visits to Israel and the West Bank.


abdiAbdi Ismail Isse is an Edward S. Mason fellow pursuing a mid-career Master in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School and is an Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellow at the Centre for Public Leadership. Before Harvard, Abdi worked for 10 years globally for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Born in Somalia, Abdi is interested in the roles that armed actors can play in minimizing the impact of conflicts on civilian populations. Abdi is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.


ahmed-izzidienAhmed Izzidien graduated from the University of Cambridge. His research focused on the cognition of law and religion using the neurosciences. His area of research at Harvard was on de-polarization methods in the MENA region using the cognitive sciences and social contracts. Ahmed was a post-doctoral research assistant at the Social Cognition Laboratory (Harvard) where he focused on meta-analysis. He has a distinction in Arabic (Cambridge University). He currently develops new methodologies in the neurosciences to apply to the social sciences in order to arrive at new solutions to ongoing “intractable” issues.


Pete Knoetgen is a Master in Public Policy student concentrating in international and global affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Prior to graduate school, he served for five years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He has also served as an intern in the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism. His Middle East experience includes Arabic study in both Jordan and Egypt. He received his undergraduate degree in International Relations and Arabic from the United States Military Academy at West Point.



Ethan Mefford graduated from Dartmouth College in 2008 with an AB in History. He served as a Communications Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps before receiving a Fulbright grant to Morocco to study the role of the Sufi orders in the country’s independence movement. His research interests are focused on the French protectorates in North Africa and historical memory of the period. He speaks French and Moroccan Arabic, and is currently studying Modern Standard Arabic.  


claudia_ng-1Claudia Ng is currently pursuing a Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is an avid linguist and speaks 9 languages, including Arabic, French, and Spanish. As an intern at Action Against Hunger, an NGO, in their Madrid headquarters, she worked on financing food security projects in Northern Africa. She has also worked at the British Embassy in Madrid providing consular assistance to British Nationals in Spain. Prior to Harvard, she worked at a FinTech startup in Peru, where she led financial projections.


vetsday-ceremonyJohn Phillips is a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where he focuses on Conflict Resolution. He served seven years in the United States Marine Corps in various capacities and holds the rank of Sergeant. John studied Arabic in Jordan, traveled to the Middle East on multiple occasions, and holds a Bachelor of Political Science degree from California State University, San Marcos.



mohamad_saleh-1Mohamad Saleh is a first-year graduate student at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, focusing on the history and sociopolitics of the Levant as well as postmodern Arabic literature. His interests further include comparative study of the Abrahamic religions, the political economy of North Africa, the Levant, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and the Gulf region, as well as the history of Islamic civilization, philosophy, and theology. He received a BS in Physics from NYU, having also doubled majored in Philosophy and Middle Eastern Studies.