The Alwaleed Centre

Alwaleed Centre Staff

Academic and administrative staff at the Alwaleed Centre

Professor Frédéric Volpi, Director of the Alwaleed Centre

Frédéric Volpi

Frédéric Volpi is Professor in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and Director of the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre. 

He earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2000. Before coming to Edinburgh in 2018, he was as a Senior Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. He also taught and researched at Sussex University, Bristol University, and Sciences Po., Paris.

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.

Learn more about Professor Volpi's work

Contact Professor Volpi

Professor Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, Iraq Chair of Arabic & Islamic Studies

Jaakko Hameen-Anttila

Jaako Hämeen-Anttila is Proffessor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

He earned his PhD from the University of Helsinki (Finland) in 1994. Before coming to Edinburgh in June 2016, he worked as a Senior Researcher of the Finnish Academy 1997-2000 and Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Helsinki 2000-2016.

Prof. Hämeen-Anttila is interested in Classical Arabic and Persian literature, Umayyad and Abbasid cultural history, the influence of Late Antiquity on the Arab-Islamic culture, the Qur'an, and translation and transmission of literature and culture.

Learn more about Professor Hämeen-Anttila's work

Contact Professor Hämeen-Anttila

Dr Khadijah Elshayyal, Postdoctoral Fellow (Muslims in Britain)

Dr Khadijah Elshayyal

Dr. Elshayyal completed her PhD in History at Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2013.

She studied History at King's College London, followed by an MA in Legal and Political Theory from UCL. Khadijah has experience working in the Muslim media sector, and has also conducted research on various aspects of ethnic minority political engagement.

Her PhD thesis looked at the development of identity politics among UK Muslims between the years 1960-2010, with a specific focus on issues relating to freedom of expression. She has particular interests in the ongoing development of identity and political expression among British Muslim groups and networks that are less often in the public spotlight, such as those working with women and young people.

Additionally, she is interested in how the discourse around, and practise of representation is developing within and between Muslim communities, as well as externally.

Learn more about Dr Elshayyal's work

Contact Dr Elshayyal

Dr Giulia Liberatore, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow


Giulia Liberatore joined the Alwaleed Centre in 2017 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow.

She is currently working on a project on female Islamic scholarship and guidance in the UK, and is developing an Honours and MSc course on Muslims in Europe for the 2018/19 academic year.

Giulia has a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE). Her forthcoming monograph, which is based on her doctoral research, is entitled Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain and was awarded the LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology/ Bloomsbury First Book Competition Prize 2016. The book chronicles the aspirations of different generations of Somali women as they respond to publicly charged questions of what it means to be Muslim, Somali, and British. 

Between 2014-16 Giulia worked at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford first as a Research Officer on the Diaspora engagement in war-torn societies project, as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme (2014), and subsequently as a Leverhulme Fellow (2015-16). During this time she also taught courses in anthropology, migration, and gender. Giulia is currently a COMPAS Research Affiliate, editor of the COMPAS Working Papers, and a Bryan Warren Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College.

Learn more about Giulia Liberatore’s work

Contact Dr. Liberatore

Dr David H. Warren, Postdoctoral Fellow (Islamic Studies)

Dr David Warren

Dr. Warren was awarded his Ph.D in Arab World Studies by the University of Manchester in 2015. He joined the Alwaleed Centre after a year in the United States as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University and as a Visiting Lecturer at Brandeis University. Dr. Warren received his Arabic training at the University of Damascus, and studied Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in Mauritania.

Dr. Warren’s current research project is a study of the role of the Muslim scholarly-establishment (the ulama) in the Arab (counter)revolutions. He analyzes how Muslim scholars speak to the Arab public in the name of Islam as they negotiate the Islamic legal tradition, the interests of the state and foreign powers, and what is just in the sight of God.  

His current outreach activities with the Alwaleed Centre include the design and implementation of a new Massive Open-Access Online Course (MOOC) on the subject of the Sharia.

Learn more about Dr. Warren's work.

Contact Dr. Warren

Tom Lea, General Manager

Tom Lea

Tom is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, holding both an MA in Religious Studies and an MSc in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

After a period living and working in France, Tom returned to Edinburgh in 2007 to take up the post of Outreach and Development Officer for the Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association. He also assumed responsibility for coordinating Edinburgh’s Just Festival. This background in faith-based community work and project management has proved invaluable in Tom's role at the Alwaleed Centre, which he took up in September 2010.

Tom manages all aspects of the Alwaleed Centre's administration including its many projects across Scotland and the UK, working closely with Muslim communities, schools, local authorities, the police and the Scottish Government to encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of Islam and Islamic culture. He also plays a key role in developing the Alwaleed Centre's relationships with other universities, both in the UK and across the world.

Tom is a member of the BBC's Scottish Religious Advisory Committee, the Scottish Joint Committee for Religious and Moral Education and is Chair of the Edinburgh Just Festival Board of Directors. He is also Office Manager for the British Associaiton for Islamic Studies - the UK's only learned society and professional organisation focused on enhancing research and teaching about Islam and Muslim cultures and societies in UK higher education.

Contact Tom

0131 650 6686

Professor Hugh Goddard, Honorary Professorial Fellow

Hugh Goddard

Professor Hugh Goddard was the Founder-Director of the Alwaleed Centre from 2009 - 2017.

He was an undergraduate in Oxford, where he studied Islamic History under Albert Hourani, and then took his doctorate from the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Birmingham, where his supervisor was David Kerr. 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.

Prior to moving to Edinburgh he worked in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Nottingham, where he served as Professor of Christian-Muslim Relations from 2004.

Contact Professor Goddard