Stanford Scholars of the Arab World

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Rajaie Batniji is a resident physician in internal medicine at Stanford and a CDDRL affiliate. His research examines the selection of priority diseases and countries in global health, and he is interested in global health financing and the priority-setting process of international institutions.  His work has also examined social determinants of health in the Middle East.  At FSI, Dr. Batniji is co-investigator on Global Underdevelopment Action Fund projects explaining U.S. global health financing and political causes of public health crisis.

Dr. Batniji received his doctorate in international relations (D.Phil) from Oxford University where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He also earned a M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and M.A. and B.A. (with distinction) degrees in History from Stanford University. Dr. Batniji was previously based at Oxford's Global Economic Governance Program, and he has worked as a consultant to the World Health Organization. 

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Ahmed Benchemsi is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. His focus is on the democratic grassroots movement that recently burgeoned in Morocco, as in Tunisia and Egypt. Ahmed researches how and under what circumstances a handful of young Facebook activists managed to infuse democratic spirit which eventually inspired hundreds of thousands, leading them to hit the streets in massive protests. He investigates whether this actual trend will pave the way for genuine democratic reform or for the traditional political system's reconfiguration around a new balance of powers - or both.

Before joining Stanford, Ahmed was the publisher and editor of Morocco's two best-selling newsweeklies TelQuel (French) and Nishan (Arabic), which he founded in 2001 and 2006, respectively. Covering politics, business, society and the arts, Ahmed's magazines were repeatedly cited by major media such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and more, as strong advocates of democracy and secularism in the Middle East and North Africa.
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Marwan Daoud Hanania is a visiting scholar with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. Born and raised in Amman, Jordan, Marwan received his B.A. degree with honors in Government from Cornell University, M.A. in Middle East regional studies from Harvard and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Stanford. Marwan’s research interests are situated in the areas of urban studies, European colonial history and in the modern history and politics of Jordan and Israel/Palestine. He is currently working on several articles for publication, including a paper about the Karameh Battle of 1968 and a paper on the socio-economic and political history of Amman from 1878-1928.
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Emad Mekay is John s. Knight Fellow from 2011-2012. Mekay, born in Sharkia, Egypt, graduated from Ain Shams University in Cairo in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in literature and Arabic. He was a reporter in the New York Times' Middle East bureau for three years and later worked for Reuters and Bloomberg News. He covered the aftermath of Sept. 11 in the United States for Inter Press Service in Washington D.C. He is a frequent guest on Arab and international TV and radio stations discussing Middle East affairs, Islam and U.S.-Arab relations. He has freelanced for The Financial Times,, The Sydney Morning Herald and several other regional and international publications. In 2006, he started a news agency, America In Arabic, based in Washington D.C. and Cairo, that helped expose corruption involving regimes in Egypt and Iraq and broke several stories on otherwise unknown activities and work of U.S. institutions in the Middle East. He covered the Arab Spring for Inter Press Service and the International Herald Tribune.

Current Project: An online news agency using U.S. information technology and Freedom of Information laws to make Arab regimes more accountable and U.S. policy in the Middle East more transparent. His
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Sam Sasan Shoamanesh is the Head of the Counsel Assistance Unit of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is currently at Stanford on academic leave from the ICC. On behalf of the Court, he, inter alia , initiated and co-organized the first regional diplomatic conference on the ICC in the Middle East, in cooperation with the League of Arab States and the State of Qatar. His experience in international law has been buttressed at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Shoamanesh has held several international consultancies and has published widely on human rights, international law and international affairs, with particular focus on the Middle East. He is the co-founder and managing editor of Global Brief, Canada’s leading international affairs magazine. His research interests include regional integration, conflict resolution, promotion of the rule of law and human rights in the Middle East. As a Stanford Law School fellow in international legal studies, he is focusing his interdisciplinary research on regional security in the Middle East.