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

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 one of is one of six academic centres based at leading universities in the UK, USA and Middle East, all endowed by Alwaleed Philanthorpies

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 Elvire Corboz

Elvire Corboz

Elvire Corboz is Lecturer in Contemporary Islam and the Middle East, and Deputy Director 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.

Dr İdil Akıncı

Idil Akinci

Dr Akıncı is an Alwaleed Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow with research interests in migration and identity.

İdil has taught a number of undergraduate courses in sociology, migration, human geography, and social anthropology both at the University of Sussex and Zayed University in Dubai. She is currently working on her post-doctoral research, where she investigates how Syrians, born and raised in the Arabian Gulf States, develop new strategies to acquire alternative citizenship from Western European countries.

View Dr Akinci'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 Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Dr Al-Ajarma is Alwaleed Lecturer in the Globalised Muslim World with research interests in environmental concerns across the contemporary Muslim World.

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 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 Nadeen Dakkak

Nadeen Dakkak
Dr Dakkak is IASH-Alwaleed Postdoctoral Fellow working on Arab diasporas in the Gulf.

Her IASH research project is interested in discourses of Arab and Islamic hospitality towards migrants in the Arab Gulf States and in narratives of gratitude amongst second-generation Arab migrants in particular.

View Dr Dakkak'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.

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.

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.

Dr Dr Ezgi Güner

Dr Ezgi Guner

Ezgi Güner is a Fellow in Contemporary Muslim Societies in a Globalised World, with research interests in race, religion, empire and global capitalism across the Middle East and Africa south of the Sahara.

Before coming to Edinburgh, Ezgi was a visiting fellow in the Anthropology Department at Harvard University and an Ernst Mach fellow in the Centre for Southeast European Studies at University of Graz. She taught critical race theory in the Department of Sociology at Boğaziçi University and the Association for Migration Research in Istanbul. Her articles are published in POMEPS Studies, MERIP, and Religions.


Dr Ali Kassem

Dr Ali Kassem

Dr Kassem is an IASH-Alwaleed Postdoctoral Fellow working on post-, anti-, and decolonial work, ethnic and racial studies, inequalities, Islam and Knowledge-making.

During his postdoctoral fellowship, Dr Kassem will be working on his book manuscript titled Islamophobia and Global Coloniality: the Lived Erasure of Visibly Muslim Women in Lebanon. This manuscript is based on his doctoral and postdoctoral work and offers an innovative intervention exploring anti-Muslim racism within Arab-majority and Muslim-majority spaces from a multi-disciplinary decolonial position.

View Dr Kassem'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 Mahdi Mosawi

Dr Mahdi Mosawi

Mahdi Mosawi is a Cara-Alwaleed Fellow with research interests in Muslim migrant masculinities.

Mahdi joined the Alwaleed Centre in October 2021 following a two-year Research Fellowship at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institute, Essen (KWI). Mahdi is an anthropologist with expertise in forced migration and refugees studies, gender and masculinities, Muslim diasporic communities and integration and identity.

His move to Edinburgh was made possible through a new partnership between the Alwaleed Centre, Edinburgh Global and the Council for At Risk Academics (Cara). Over the course of his two-year fellowship in Edinburgh, Mahdi will be working on a project entitled 'Immigrant Masculinities in the UK: A Study of Gendered Experiences of Afghan Refugees'. 

View Dr Mosawi's full profile.

Dr Siti Sarah Muwahidah

Dr Siti Sarah Muwahidah

Siti Sarah Muwahidah is an Alwaleed Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow on Contemporary Muslim Societies in Southeast Asia.

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 Thomas Serres

Dr Serres is an IMERA-Alwaleed Fellow, a lecturer in the Politics department at UCSC and a specialist of North African politics.

In his new project with IMERA and the Alwaleed Centre, Thomas studies the role of transnational actors in the remaking of sovereignty in the Western Mediterranean, notably regarding contentious political questions such as undocumented migration, human rights, terrorism and regime change.

View Dr Serres'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.