I hold a PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University and an MA in the Anthropology of Development from the University of Sussex. Currently, I am a sessional academic at the School of the Humanities and Social Inquiry at University of Wollongong (UOW) and I have previously contributed to a research project on heritage destruction at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization (ADI). As a public policy consultant, I have worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
I came to anthropology nearly two decades ago, while working on indigenous peoples' land rights in Guatemala, shortly after the end of the country’s civil war. After moving to England, I gained a B.Sc. honors combined degree in biological and social anthropology from Roehampton University, where I focused on human rights and violent conflict. After that, I joined the University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) where I wrote my masters thesis on HIV/ AIDS and Islam while working for the HIV/AIDS Alliance. My studies, theoretical interests, and activism back then were heavily influenced by the Gulf War in Iraq—the country of my father—which increasingly steered me towards the study of violent conflicts in pursuit of its solutions. After studying more Arabic in Syria, I joined a conflict management organization in the Middle East and worked on violent conflict across the globe.
I aided negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government of the Philippines and advocated on behalf of thousands of civil society organizations towards the OECD. I recovered the history of nonviolent activism during Lebanon’s civil war and joined a group of groundbreaking peace activists that focused on gender and masculinity as a source and solution to violent conflicts. I have planned and implemented workshops on inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, outdoor experiential learning, reflecting on peace practice, and gender and conflict.
With Iraqi and German heritage, I have lived in Germany, Spain, Guatemala, England, Syria, Lebanon, the US, Tunisia, and Australia, and if I took one thing from each of these countries, it's recipes: sharing food brings the world together.