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Visiting Scholars Program, Harvard Kennedy School, Kuwait Foundation - 2016

Publish Date: Jan 18, 2016

Deadline: Feb 29, 2016


The Middle East Initiative hosts senior level policymakers and academics to engage with students and faculty as a visiting scholar for one semester as part of the Kuwait Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Applications from scholars working on contemporary issues of policy relevance in the disciplines of political science, economics, history, and sociology are particularly welcome. All visiting scholars are expected to either:

  • Conduct a research project preferably with a Harvard Kennedy School faculty member; OR
  • Lead a not-for credit eight week study group on a topic relevant to policy and development in the Middle East and North Africa. Learn more about past study groups here. In some cases, visiting scholars may be asked to teach a course on campus.

Visiting scholars are expected to participate in Middle East Initiative activities and engage in informal interchange with students and faculty. The visiting scholar is required to be in residence for the semester and must be available to students throughout his/her time on campus. The program will provide the visiting scholar $5,000 a month and a housing allowance.

We are now accepting applications for the fall 2016 and spring 2017 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar positions. To apply, please CLICK HERE. Applicants will be asked to submit the following:

  • Cover letter
  • CV/Resume
  • Research proposal or outline for a study group (2-3 pages single spaced)
  • Names and contact information for three references

The deadline to apply is February 29, 2016.

Current Visiting Scholar

Former Minister Hedi Larbi is the 2015-2016 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar. Prior to his appointment at Harvard Kennedy School, he served as Advisor to the MENA Vice President at the World Bank, and from January 2014 to February 2015 served as both the Minister of Economic Infrastructure and Sustainable Development and the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Tunisia. Mr. Larbi has over 35 years of professional experience in economic and social development as both a policy advisor and policy maker, with more than two decades of high level work in the World Bank Group, the private sector (in Europe and Middle East and North Africa), and the Tunisian transition government.

At MEI this year, Mr. Larbi is leading a study group, Rewriting the Arab Social Contract: Toward Inclusive Development and Politics in the Arab World, that aims to address the economic and social issues at the root of the Arab uprisings.

Former Visiting Scholars

Prof. Michael C. Hudson (spring 2015)

Professor Michael C. Hudson was the spring 2015 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar and is the is the Seif Ghobash Professor of Arab Studies and International Affairs, Emeritus at Georgetown University. During his semester at MEI, he led a study group, Rethinking the Arab State: The Collapse of Legitimacy in Arab Politics, that featured Middle East experts from a variety of disciplines in an effort to re-examine the foundational concepts of legitimacy, the state, civil society, religion, and regional stability in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

Dr. Abbas Al-Mejren (fall 2014)

Dr. Abbas Al-Mejren was the fall 2014 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar and is a professor of economics at the College of Business Administration at Kuwait University. He is also an expert consultant to Kuwait's Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Kuwait Industrial Bank. During his semester at MEI, he conducted research on assessing the development policies of oil rich, rentier states in the Gulf, as well as teh application of the global standard indictors and criteria used to evaluate development policy success of these states.

Prof. Mohamad Al-Ississ (spring 2014)

Professor Mohamad Al-Ississ was the spring 2014 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar and is currently the Associate Dean of Administration, Undergraduate Studies, and Public Outreach at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and Assistant Professor in the School of Business at the American University in Cairo. During his semester at MEI, he engaged in research on the determinants of democracy preferences of people in the Middle East, examining how these preferences evolved after the Arab Spring when security collapsed and uncertainty increased. He also recorded lectures for the first massive open online course (MOOC) to be conducted entirely in Arabic as part of Edraak, an initiative of Harvard and MIT’s EdX and the Queen Rania Foundation.

Prof. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani (fall 2013)

Professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani was the fall 2013 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar and is Professor of Economics at Virginia Tech and a non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. During his semester at MEI, he led a study group on The Politics and Economics of Transitions in the Middle East that sought to illuminate the challenges governments face when trying to stabilize their economies at a time when revolutions have raised expectations for redistribution and jobs.

Prof. Ellis Goldberg (spring 2013)

Professor Ellis Goldberg was the spring 2013 Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar and is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. He specializes in the study of Middle Eastern Politics and was a Guggenheim Fellow at Princeton University in 2012. During his semester at MEI, Professor Goldberg taught "Politics of the Arab Spring ," a course in the Democracy, Politics and Institutions (DPI) concentration at HKS.

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