Middle East Studies

MES Announces Research Travel Award Recipients

December 11, 2015

Middle East Studies is pleased to announce the recipients of the Fall 2016 Research Travel Awards!

  Sophie Ahmed

Sophie Kasakove and Ahmed Elsayed have received the Undergraduate Awards.

Sophie Kasakove will use the grant to participate in the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s conference, ‘Nonviolence in Action’– a week of workshops, seminars, and direct nonviolent action campaigns in an effort to promote a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She will use this conference to help define the scope of her future research and write a thesis on issues related to architecture and the built environment in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, exploring the ways in which spatial practice both reflects and constructs violent ideology.

Ahmed Elsayed will use the grant to complete his documentary, analyzing the question “Is Islam compatible with democratic principles?” In the documentary, he will explore various scholarly works and critically analyze the principles of democracy and Islam independently to understand the extent of “Islamic Democracy”. He will travel to several locations in the United States and the Middle East to interview Imams, professors and scholars to gather differing perspectives on the feasibility of Islam and democracy coexisting.

Malay Firoz

Malay Firoz has received the Graduate Award.

He will use the grant to conduct 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the offices of UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs in Jordan and Lebanon. He will examine how humanitarian organizations negotiate the challenges of community-based aid programs and ask: 1) How do humanitarian organizations frame their responsibilities and the needs of Syrian refugees in official policy statements? 2) How do aid workers on the ground adopt, subvert or transform these framings in response to local contexts? 3) What are Syrian refugees’ expectations from humanitarian organizations, and how do these expectations challenge or resonate with the humanitarian mandate of integration?