Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World

About us

The Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre is committed to encouraging a better understanding of Islam and the contemporary Muslim world through ground-breaking research, dynamic teaching and innovative outreach projects.

Alwaleed Centre
The Alwaleed Centre, George Square, Edinburgh

Based in the University of Edinburgh's School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and affiliated to Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, the Alwaleed Centre is inherently interdisciplinary, connecting different schools and departments across the University of Edinburgh through its focus on contemporary Islam and the Muslim world.

Alongside its world-class research and teaching, the Alwaleed Centre has developed a reputation for delivering high-impact outreach projects, promoting a better understanding of Islam and Muslim culture locally, nationally and internationally.

The Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre is a founding member of the Alwaleed Cultural Network, which connects some of the world’s leading universities, museums and cultural institutions across three continents. Current members include: Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the American University of Beirut, the American University of Cairo, New York University Abu Dhabi, the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum Berlin, Oxford University Museums, Turquoise Mountain the World Organisation of the Scout Movement and Alwaleed Philanthropies: www.alwaleedculturalnetwork.org.

Meet the Team

Professor Frédéric Volpi

Frédéric Volpi

Frédéric Volpi is Chair in the Politics of the Muslim World and Director of the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre.

Prof. Volpi is interested in the processes of democratization and authoritarianism in the contemporary Muslim world, in the role of Islamist actors in social and political mobilizations, in the construction of the discourse of political Islam, and in the contemporary regional and transnational dynamics of North Africa and the Mediterranean region.

View Prof. Volpi's full profile.

Dr Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Dr Al-Ajarma is Alwaleed Lecturer in the Globalised Muslim World and Deputy Director of the Alwaleed Centre.

In addition to her academic experience in anthropology and religion, Kholoud has worked in the fields of refugee studies, gender, youth development, migration, human rights, and environmental justice in several countries of the Mediterranean region including Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco. She was a Chevening visiting fellow at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) and peace fellow of the MENA cohort fellowship programme of the United Nations Allience of Civilizations (UNAOC).

View Dr Al-Ajarma's full profile.

Dr İdil Akıncı

Idil Akinci

Dr Akıncı is Lecturer in Race and Social Policy in the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Alwaleed Centre.

She joined the University of Edinburgh in September 2019 as an Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow cross appointed between the Department of Sociology, Alwaleed Centre and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. She convened Muslims in Europe (UG/PG) module,  co-lead the Muslims in Europe Research Cluster at the Centre and contributed to interdisciplinary courses, such as Race and Ethnicity, Decolonial Research Methods, and Key Concepts in Global Social Change.

Dr Akıncı's work examines the role of immigration and citizenship regimes in the construction and maintenance of racial inequalities in a local and global perspective.

View Dr Akinci's full profile

Dr Mira Al Hussein


Mira Al Hussein is the Alwaleed Early Career Fellow in Authority in the Globalised Muslim World. She researches and writes extensively on topics related to state-society relations, citizenship, women and migrants in the Arab states of the Gulf.

Mira’s research interests and area expertise broadly covers the Middle East, with a focus on the Arabian Peninsula. She is currently researching the migratory patterns and experiences of Arab Gulf citizens, and the formation of diasporic political agency in host countries. She will be teaching a course on Gulf histories, cultures and societies.

View Dr Al Hussein's profile.

Dr Elvire Corboz

Elvire Corboz

Elvire Corboz is Lecturer in Contemporary Islam and the Middle East in the University of Edinburgh's Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Alwaleed Centre.

Dr Corboz's research interests are in contemporary Shi‘ism, with a particular focus on the Shi‘i clerical establishment and its transnational networks, Iraqi Shi‘i Islamism, as well as Shi‘i communities and institutions in the United Kingdom.  She is also interested in the study of Sunni-Shi'i relations, especially in European contexts.

View Dr Corboz's full profile.

Ms Nadin Akta

Nadin Akta

Nadin is the Alwaleed Centre's Outreach and Projects Coordinator and also coordinates day-to-day administration.

In her role as Outreach and Projects Coordinator at the Alwaleed Centre, Nadin works closely with key partners in local and national government, education and the wider public sector to help improve public understanding of Islam and challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. She is the founder and Coordinator of the Alwaleed Centre's Syrian Futures Project.

View Nadin's full profile.

Dr Alexis Blouët

Alexis Blouet

Dr Blouët is an Alwaleed Associate Fellow working on positive law across the Middle East.

His research interests are focused on how legal theory can contribute to a better understanding of power in the region while trying to refine legal theory’s analytical tools through the prism of politics and actors in the area.

View Dr Blouët's full profile.

Dr Teije Hidde Donker

Teije Donker

Dr. Donker is an Associate Fellow at the Alwaleed Centre. He concurrently holds a Bye Fellowship at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.

In his research, Teije investigates the construction of Islamism as a distinct practice in contentious episodes, focusing specifically on the post-2011 Syrian conflict and Tunisian transition.

View Dr Donker's full profile.

Dr Khadijah Elshayyal

Khadijah Elshayyal

Dr Elshayyal is an Associate Fellow at the Alwaleed Centre specialising in British Muslim identity politics and representation. She is also Postdoctoral Researcher on the Digital British Islam research project funded by the ESRC and delivered by the University of Wales Trinity St David, Coventry University and the Alwaleed Centre University of Edinburgh.

Dr Elshayyal recently completed successive postdoctoral and teaching fellowships at the  University of Edinburgh, where she organised and taught on a number of courses across IMES and the School of Divinity. Her research interests lie in the representation, political and cultural activism of Muslims and ethnic minorities in the UK.

View Dr Elshayyal's full profile.

Dr Guy Robert Eyre

Dr Guy Robert Eyre

 Dr Eyre is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Gerda Henkel Foundation Grant) at the Alwaleed Centre.

Situated at the nexus of politics, political theory, and methods associated with anthropology, Dr Eyre's work examines the politics of transnational Islamic movements in North Africa that claim they 'don't do politics'

Learn more about Dr Eyre's work

Professor Hugh Goddard

Hugh Goddard

Professor Goddard is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Alwaleed Centre with research expertise on Christian-Muslim relations.

He has worked and studied in the Middle East, in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, and has also undertaken a number of research visits to other regions of the Islamic World, including Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia and Central Asia.

View Prof. Goddard's full profile.

Mr Tom Lea

Tom Lea

Tom is the Alwaleed Centre's General Manager, overseeing all aspects of the Centre's administration.

In addition, Tom works closely with the Centre's Director to shape the Centre's research, teaching and outreach strategy and to grow the Centre's network of partners and funders locally, nationally and internationally.

View Tom's full profile.

Dr Giulia Liberatore

Giulia Liberatore

Dr Liberatore is Alwaleed Lecturer on Muslims in Europe and leads a major ERC-funded international research project entitled  'Multi-Religious Encounters in Urban Settings'.

She joined the Alwaleed Centre in 2017 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow working on a project on female Islamic scholarship and guidance in the UK.

View Dr Liberatore's full profile here.

Dr Richard McNeil-Willson

Dr Richard McNeil-Willson

Dr Richard McNeil-Willson is an Alwaleed Research Fellow in Global Muslim Studies. He specialises in critical extremism and counter-extremism studies, particularly social movements and Islamophobia within the long 'War on Terror'.

Prior to joining the Alwaleed Centre, he held academic positions at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (Leiden University) and the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies  (European University Institute, Florence).

View Dr McNeil-Willson's full profile. 


Dr Sayed Mahdi Mosawi

Dr Mahdi Mosawi

Sayed Mahdi Mosawi is an Open Society University Network-Alwaleed Fellow, with research interests in gender, masculinities, migration, and issues related to the Muslim diaspora.

He graduated with a Ph.D. in sociology (2019) from Hacettepe University, Turkey.

His PhD dissertation explored the intersectionality of culture and masculinity by focusing on the hegemonic code that can be translated to ‘honour’ within Western scholarship. His work unfolds social mechanisms through which culture reproduces and accumulates the inequality between and amongst gender categories. In his current project, he highlights the issue of migrant masculinities in the UK and focuses on the changes migration facilitates in gender relations within migrant families.

View Dr Mosawi's full profile.

Dr Siti Sarah Muwahidah

Dr Siti Sarah Muwahidah

Siti Sarah Muwahidah is an Alwaleed Fellow in Contemporary Indonesia as a Global Muslim Society.

She holds a Ph.D. in Religion (2020) from the Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University, Atlanta, USA. Her PhD dissertation examined Sunni-Shiʿi relations and the development of sectarianization in Indonesia. Her current research focuses on new authority and transnational networks among Indonesian Shiʿi communities. 

View Dr Muwahidah's full profile.

Dr Ewan Stein

Ewan Stein

Dr Stein is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Alwaleed Centre and Senior Lecture in International Relations in the University of Edinburgh's School of Political Science.

His research explores the intersection between international relations and, particularly Islamist, social movements in the Middle East. He is interested in the ways in which Islamic discourses have shifted over time as part of state hegemonic projects, how social movements have influenced and challenged such discourses, and how ideological and social dynamics within states shape relations among them.

View Dr Stein's full profile.