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Personal profile

Research interests

My main research interests are in the social policies and welfare systems of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with particular emphasis on the Arab and Muslim populations there. I am also interested in the role of religious ideas, actors and institutions in shaping social welare action. I have worked both on the UK and MENA region in this regard. 

These lines of enquiry help me make links between social policy, international development and political philosophy which feed into a wider theoretical interest in policy-making and policy change, welfare state development and social justice in low and middle-income country settings. I am thus, fully engaged with the current debates on social protection. My underlying focus remains political and insitutional anlaysis of social policy in MENA with a range of policy interests spanning social care, social assistance and social insurance. 

I am involved in a variety of academic, consultancy and public engagement projects on social policy in MENA. Previous funders include the Council for British Research in the Levant, the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. I am currently Principal Investigator on two projects: a GCRF-AHRC Network Plus project (2020-2024) studying the relationhsip between social policy and conflict prevention and a Ford Foundation project (2021-2023) using the Policy Lab model to study and reform social policy in the MENA countries in the Covid-19 recovery period. 

In all of these projects, I am proud to collaborate with a range of academics, civil society groups and government representatives, all of whom share the commtiment to social justice goals. 

I have had various advisory roles on journals such as Sociology and the Journal of Social Policy and am currently member of the advisory board of International Social Security Review. I work regularly with civil soceity groups, government agencies and consultancy orgaisations.

MENA Social Policy Network 

In 2013, I co-founded and am now convener of the MENA social policy network www.menasp.com which is the world's only reseasch and knowledge exchange grouping of its kind. We organise conferences and webinars, run a database of experts, provide capacity-building spaces for Early Career researchers and offer work placements to Bath students. In 2021, we will also be commissioing research on conflict prevention as part of the AHRC-GCRF work programme. 

Research Interests

  • Historical and institutional anlaysis of social policy in MENA
  • Social protection and contemporary social policy in MENA
  • Policy making and policy change in MENA
  • Welfare theory and ethics
  • Religion and social welfare 
  • Social movements

Current projects

  • Social Policy change and policy labs in MENA, Ford Foundation (2021-2023) 
  • Conflict prevention and social policy, GCRF-AHRC Network Plus (2020-2024)

Recent International Reports

  • The impact of Covid-19 on social protection in the ESCWA countries, UN-ESCWA and The Policy Press 

PhD Supervision

The range of topics that I have supervised on is below: 

  • Policy anlaysis and policy change in a range of countries including China and Qatar
  • Social policies in MENA countries
  • Maternity policies in MENA countries
  • Social care policies 
  • Religion and political action including Iraq and the UK

Willing to supervise doctoral students

I am interested in supervising new PhD students researching these topics:

  • Social policy and welfare systems in the MENA region
  • Social protection policies in developing countries
  • Social and economic inequalities in the MENA region
  • The role of religion and religious organisations in social action and social welfare
  • The role of the voluntary sector in social policy in the UK

I have recently completed the supervision of an ESRC-linked project on Shi'a Welfare Organisations in Iraq by Janan Al Jabiri.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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