Fellow, Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), University of Ottawa
- Middle East Politics
- International Relations
- Canada and the Middle East
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Critical ‘Development’ Studies
- Human Security and Rights
B.A. (Saskatchewan/Rostock), M.A. (McMaster), Ph.D. (Exeter)
I am a scholar, lecturer and commentator on the politics of the Middle East, international relations and the theories that govern it, critiques of development, conceptualisations of security, Canadian foreign policy, and Canada’s relationship with the Middle East region. In general, I prefer to move beyond positivist conceptions of global politics, in order to understand the underlying social processes that determine why, how and for what reason events are taking place. Common themes that reach across my research include Western perceptions and policy toward the Middle East, local empowerment in development versus foreign domination, the legacy of colonialism, identity, inequalities, empowerment and who security is designed for.
With the University of Ottawa, I have been building academic networks addressing a significant, long-standing gap in research on Canada’s relationship with the Middle East. My past work includes extensive analysis of Palestinian political economy and the role played by Western donors in Palestinian state building, in the context of the Middle East Peace Process. This includes major studies like an ESRC-GCRF funded project exploring the perceptions and approaches of Western donors in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) (@University of Bath), economic and donor mapping (@Oxfam-GB), conflict analysis (@SIDA), analysis of the methodologies used to measure development (@UN-ESCWA), and Canada’s aid relationship with the Palestinians (@University of Exeter). I have also been organising fora and supporting Middle East defenders of human rights in conjunction with the HRREC and Joint Chair in Women’s Studies (University of Ottawa and Carleton University).
I regularly write and appear on media platforms such as CTV, the CBC, Middle East Eye and The Conversation. In the spirit of local knowledge sharing and to improve my own knowledge, I regularly work with scholarly partners from the Global South on research projects and publications, which includes publishing in the local language. Some of my recent teaching work includes the development of a course on complex national security (@Carleton-NPSIA) and Canada’s historical and contemporary relationship with the Middle East (@GAC). Upcoming publications include a co-edited journal on Canada’s policy relationship with the Middle East Peace Process.
Finally, my scholarly background is backed by extensive on-the-ground experience as a practitioner. One of my early achievements was spending eight years supporting grassroots community and youth development in the OPT during the Second Intifada. That included establishing a large, locally-led charity. I also served as interim-Director of a Scottish charity, Firefly International, which supports youth in regions of crisis in Bosnia and for Syrian refugees.