1. What's your professional background?
I've had the opportunity to work on some incredibly interesting problems while at RAND. For five years, I co-led a large effort to advise the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on developing a strategy to improve its education system, with an emphasis on quality, access, Ministry of Education organizational development, and vocational education.
A highlight during my time in Qatar was our design of the Qatar National Research Fund, which has now funded over $800 million in merit-based research grants to universities in Qatar in partnership with research institutions around the world.
2. In what specific areas does your research focus?
Now, my research at RAND is focusing on the Middle East refugee crisis. I have worked on a portfolio of refugee studies related to education, humanitarian assistance, employment, and impact on host nations. My colleagues and I developed recommendations for how to improve school access for out-of-school Syrian children, improve access to jobs for refugee adults, and how to help countries hosting refugees build capacity in their public services.
3. What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a study about how to help civilians get home after the battle to liberate Mosul, Iraq, from ISIS. This involves considering a blend of humanitarian assistance; getting public sector services like education, healthcare, and utilities back online; enabling the economy to resume to so people can access jobs; providing security and policing; and managing complex governance and political considerations.
I was in Iraq in January, and visited camps for people who have been displaced by the battle, just outside of Mosul. Stabilizing the city and helping Iraqi civilians get home is important both to a future peaceful Iraq, and also to American national security. There are currently 3 million Iraqis who have been displaced by ISIS and the battles to liberate the cities it took. Winning the war without plans to make Iraq livable for Iraqis risks a pyrrhic victory—it could be followed by a continued or resumed civil war down the line. It's important to get the peace right.
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