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Society & Culture

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Ahmad Ababneh

A doctor, graduated from the University of Jordan, interested in the relationship between science and philosophy, and in the integrative perspective between various fields of knowledge for the purpose of self-discovery.

Afterlife of Melancholia; Pathos of Pedagogy


Janna Aladdin

Janna is currently a master's student at NYU, where she is studying Middle Eastern history. She has undertaken research on mass incarceration in the United States on Japanese internment during World War II and became interested in the relationship between the security state, "othering", and exile. At the Institute, she explores how ideas of health place one in exile.

Islam and Critical Theory '16

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Yasmin Aqil

I'm 24 years old. A reading fanatic. I'm currently working as a teacher in an elementary school.

Philosophy of Culture '15

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Dina Baslan

Dina is an independent researcher and consultant, as well as a PhD candidate at the University of Bath, having received degrees in journalism and mass communication from San Jose State University. Her current work engages the plight of refugees in Jordan as they live at the helm of, and challenge, governmental and international assistance programs.

Ethics and Exile '17

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Ruth Birga

I love language, people, dance, sharing thoughts and coming to new realizations together, opening up to new ideas, getting inspiration and sharing enthusiasm!

Late Letters; Of Other Objects


Raghda Butros

Raghda is a social entrepreneur, urban activist, and community advocate. She founded Hamzet Wasel, a platform for reviving and enriching the social fabric of urban communities in the Arab region, and Ruwwad, the first private sector funded non-profit community mobilization organization in Jordan. An Ashoka and Fulbright Fellow, she recently completed an MSc from Columbia University. She is currently working to apply "somatics" in her work with individuals and communities in Amman.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Kafka Goes to Palestine '18

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Haneen Dajani

Haneen is the library coordinator at the Lesser Amman Library. She has graduate degrees in sociology and women’s studies from the University of Toronto.


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Arnub Farooqi

Arnub is a Coordination Officer at the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development. She graduated with a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from University College London.

Social Science

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Tasnem Friahat

I am shri'a graduate. I believe that there is alot to learn I am still looking for educational institutions. I aim to be researcher and write about women,soceity and religion.



Youssef Al-Hameed

Youssef was born in Damascus, from where he immigrated to Amman in 2013. His formal education in literature was interrupted due to various circumstances. He currently works at Jadal for Culture and Knowledge and organises cultural events, lectures, and film screenings. Philosophy and literature are at the forefrunt of his interests, and he plans to continue with study in the two fields. His research focuses on the relationship between philosophy and healing.

Philosophy of Culture '15


Owice Hammad

Owice holds graduate degrees in resource management and engineering from the University of Jordan and Cologne University in Germany, where he was a DAAD Scholar. After working as an engineer for five years, he is pursuing graduate study at the intersection of environmental ethics and critical theory. His research focuses on the environmental impact of international standards for corporate and governmental waste management.

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Ahmad Hani

Ahmad, a writer of daydreams, studied English, and looks forward to exploring the significance of tourism through the lens of language, nature, and contemplative caution.

Of Other Objects; Afterlife of Melancholia

Identity Politics '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17


Haifa Hourani

Haifa graduated from the City University of New York with a degree in Political Science. She spent several years working with refugees in Iraq and Jordan, building a wealth of experience in the non-governmental and international sectors. Her research focuses on the cultural and memorial dimensions of exile, as well as the generational effects of physical displacement on social life, with an eye towards Palestine.


Tala El-Issa

Tala is a journalist and writer based in Amman. She graduated from the Lebanese American University with a degree in Communications Arts, and has since pursued editorial work in the Arab world. She is preparing for a master's degree in anthropology in London, and is interested in researching the intersection of identity politics and theories of revolution.

Philosophy of Cultlure '15 - Identity Politics '16

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16

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Rasha istaiteyeh

Inspiring economist who would strive to serve her community development and in helping youth to access the labour market after understanding what is required from their supply side.

Late Letters


Ignazio Jiménez

Ignacio is an independent researcher and activist. He studied at Universidad de Deusto and Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth and has since been traveling.

writer/prisoner '19

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Dana Judeh

Dana is a researcher. She navigates with the compass of language and sees in photography and literature a nourishment for the soul and a charge for the mind to attain a state of contemplation.

Late Letters


Husni Khalil

Husni is a senior engineer and consultant based in Amman. He holds a degree in Electrical Power Engineering from Yarmouk University. He is also an artist and dancer who has participated in exhibitions at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts. At the Institute, He has pursued interests in metaphysics, new age science, and meditation.

Psychoanalysis '16 - Ethics and Exile '17


Zaid Alkayed

Zaid is a medical student at the University of Jordan. He is interested in psychiatry and plans on following graduation by entering a Psychiatry Residency Program. His work at the Institute continues to provide the theoretical and critical background for his clinical pursuit. In addition to medicine, Zaid is interested in meditation and linguistics.

Psychoanalysis '16

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Timothy Loh

Timothy graduated from Georgetown University with a master's degree in Arab Studies. Since then, he has worked at the Collateral Repair Project, a grassroots non-profit committed to bringing assistance to refugees and other victims of war and conflict, and King's Academy. He is interested in the way in which those in exile - particularly Syrians in Jordan - affect the cultural landscape of their new context.

Ethics and Exile '17


Michelle Lokot

Michelle is a PhD student at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is completing field research in Jordan on gender and forced migration among Syrian refugees in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid. At the Institute, she is particularly exploring the notion of belonging, how people who are displaced adapt and adjust, and how the idea of 'home' can be a powerful source of both hope and pain for Syrians.

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Alaa Mufleh

Alaa is a director at the Jordan Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association. She graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Arab Studies and is passionate about innovative Arab institutions.

writer/prisoner '19

Ethics and Exile '17


Albara' Mustafa

Alabara' is an industrial engineer, having received his graduate degree from Narvik University in Normay. After working in the professional field for several years, he is now pursuing entrepreneural projects at the intersection of engineering, social sutainability, and auto repair. His research revolves around questions of assimilation and discrimnation faced by Arab refugees - particularly Syrian - in northern Europe.

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Amin Nasrawi


Studied CIS at Jordan university, graduated on 2005, been living in Amman during my lifetime, i like philosophy and i am looking forward to be part of this great community.

Philosophy of Culture '15


Nayef Obaid

Nayef is passionate about traveling. He is drawn to psychology and sociology. He is driven by his belief that diversity is the source of life's beauty and its continuity.

Late Letters; Of Other Objects

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Ayah Al Oballi

Ayah is a writer. She was formerly a Mercy Corps Officer, having graduated from the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in Social Justice Education.



Sultan Omari

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17 - writer/prisoner '19

Sultan is a Labor Market Researcher based in Amman. He has a graduate degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Employment and Labor Relations, and a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He is interested in economic theory, sociology, and progressive thought.


Emily Robbins

Emily is a novelist. Her most recent book, A Word For Love, was published by Penguin Random House. She has lived and worked across the Middle East and North Africa through Fulbright scholarships in Jordan and Syria, where she studied religion and language with a women’s mosque movement. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Ethics and Exile '17

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Marah Rajjal

I'm a Freelance Visual Communication Designer located in Amman, Jordan. As a child, I was heavily influenced by J.K.Rowling, Tim Burton and Metal Music, and they have helped me pave a life path which I am proud of. I hope that one day I can be an artist/person who have had positive influences on other people's lives.



Nadia Alsaudi

Nadia is an industrial engineer by training and a human and women's rights activist. Her current work connects practices of liberation in local contexts to the world's problems at a larger scale. Her research interests concern the intersection of feminism, social justice, and critical theory.

Identity Politics '16

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Ahmad Tabaa

Grammar of the Soul

Holding a bachelor's degree in physics from Boston University. He expresses his love for nature through the lens of photography and writes children's stories in English.


Malek Zuaiter

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Malek is a business developer with Mind Rockets, a tech startup focused on assistive technologies for the deaf. A talented musician and avid reader, he is also interested in the linkages between philosophy, Islam, and modernity.

Politcs andGeography

Politics and Public Service 


Mays Abdel Aziz

Mays is a researcher and consultant based in Amman, having received degrees in economics and political studies from Sciences Po in Paris. She has worked in the governmental, private, and international sectors. At the Institute, she is is interested in how a critical engagement with issues of identity, nationhood, and literature can inform her work.

Ethics and Exile '17 - writer/prisoner '19


Rana Abdelhamid

Islam and Critical Theory '16

Rana studied public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, having received her BA from Middlebury College. As a Muslim-American growing up in New York City, she confronted both the politicisation of religion and several issues internal to Muslim communities in the West. As a result, she founded WISE, an organization for Muslim women in Europe and the US.


Hani Abdo

Hani works at the National Democratic Institute in Amman. He holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Al-Aqsa University in Palestine and an MA in European Studies from the Heinrich Heine University of Dusseldorf. His research focuses on the relationship between Palestinian literature in the South American diaspora and within the Occupied Territories.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16


Ruba Ahmad

Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory 16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Ruba is a policy analyst at the United Nations Refugee Agency in Amman, having graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Texas. She is interested in the history, theory, and practice of socioeconomic development in the Arab world, specifically thinking about transformation outside the traditional institution.


Nesreen Barakat

Islam and Critical Theory '16

Nesreen is a former minister in the Jordanian government and a founding partner of To Excel Consulting. Her work focuses on socioeconomic development through the governmental and private sectors. At the Institute, she is in dialogue about creating sustainable structures which avoid the bureaucracy of traditional institutions. 


Brittany Cook Barrineau

Brittany is a Fulbright Scholar in Amman and a Ph.D. candidate in political geography at the University of Kentucky. Her current research focuses on the global politics of small-scale olive oil production in Jordan and the social and economic strategies that farmers employ in order to maintain cultivation of their land.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16


Brent Eng

Brent is undertaking a doctoral program in Anthropology at Berkeley, having studied literature at Williams College and the University of Oxford. He was based in Amman for two years where he reported on the political economy of the Syrian crisis. His research focuses on how the provision of welfare becomes a site of contestation for competing understandings of state, community, and religion for the Syrian regime.

Philosophy of Culture '15

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Gloria Fernandez

Gloria is currently working for the European Union on humanitarian aid in the region. She holds a graduate degree in political science from the New School for Social Research in New York, and her interests include the formation of identity in an evolving political context and institutional reform in Western developmental structures. She is particularly focused on the history, theory, and politics of refugee agency.

Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17


Summer Forester 

Summer is a Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Strategic Studies in Amman, having received her Ph.D. in political science at Purdue University. Her research examines the extent to which militarism affects government action on women's rights policies in both Jordan and Morocco, as well as the relationship between women's activism in Jordan and the so-called global women's rights movement.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16


Nasser Hadid

Nasser works as a program manager for Adam Smith International, where he focuses on international development. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from the American University of Beirut, and is interested in returning to questions of political theory and personal identity in an academic context.

Literature and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17


Shahd Hamouri

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16

Shahd received a BA in Law from the University of Jordan, and is now a graduate student in International Law at Sciences Po. An activist with the BDS movement in Jordan, she has worked for the platform and participated in several international initiatives for legal and social reform in the Arab world.


Manal Husein

Philosophy of Culture '15

Manal works in the field of social development, with experience in the micro, mezzo and macro levels of social programs and NGOs in Jordan. She received an M.Sc in Social Policy and Practice from Columbia University, where she negotiated the role of government and social workers in affecting change on the ground. She loves traveling, cultural exchange, and outdoor activities.


Hany Matar 

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Hady is the Jordan Program Manager of the International Refugee Assistance Project. He has a JD  from  Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a member of the Georgetown Journal of International Law, and a BA in History from Trinity College. He is interested in the legal structure for refugee rights in both the United States and the Middle East.


Johanna Puhakka

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Johanna is a development specialist from Finland, currently consulting local NGOs in Jordan, Uganda, and the UK. She has a background in human rights and theories of social change, and is currently managing social cohesion and conflict dialogue projects in refugee hosting communities. Johanna holds BSc in Sociology and MA in Human Rights and Democratic Governance. 


Bothaina Qamar

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Bothaina is a co-founder of Tammey for Youth Development, bringing to the organisation a decade's experience in international and non-goernmental organisations. After receiving an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, she has planned and implemented numerous projects in youth development and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the Arab region.

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Madeline Ulanow

Ethics and Exile '17

Madeline directs Reclaim Childhood, a program dedicated to serving Iraqi girls in Amman through a variety of communal activities. She has a degree in Political Science from Carleton College. At the Institute, she pursued questions of identity and national belonging in the context of political conflict.


Citlalli Velasquez

Citlalli studied philosophy and Arabic at Georgetown University. Her upbringing in East Los Angeles and exchange year in Cairo fueled her to fight for justice through an anti-imperial lense as she found parallels between the experiences of people of color in the U.S. and those in historically colonized countries. An aspiring academic, her research involves modern philosophy and post-colonial critique, and she looks forward to challenging imperial hegemonies within and without the academy

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Samar Saeed

Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Samar is a teacher, consultant, and activist. She is pursuing a second master's degree from Georgetown University, having graduated from Geroge Mason University and SOAS, where she researched the history of Jordan's neoliberal reforms. In Amman, she taught Global Politics in the International Baccaluereate Program, where she incorporates critical theory into her curricula.

Identity Politics '16


Kamel Alsharif

Social Science '18 - writer/prisoner '19

Kamel graduated from New York University in Abu Dhabi, where he majored in Political Science. His thesis focused on the intersection of political violence and state legitimacy in Hezbollah and Hamas. At the Institute, he is interested in appropriating Western notions of government in such a way the local identity is not compromised, whilst government is optimized.


Yusur Al-Salman

Yusur is an Iraqi intersectional feminist. She is comlpeting a master's degree in sociology at SOAS, having graduated from the University of Essex in 2015 with a BA in Politics and Sociology. Her research interests include displacement and collective memory, radical forms of governance, the history of minorities within nation-states, and post-conflict reconstruction.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16


Kelsey Thibdeau

Kelsey is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is using a Fulbright Scholarship to study the relationship between identity politics and the production of music and dance in the Circassian-Jordanian community of Jordan. Her focus is on how such art practices inform and inflect political protests and revolutions in the region.


Anna Walker

Anna graduated from the University of Cambridge, where she studied Middle Eastern Politics at Emmanuel College. She spent the previous summer as an intern at UN Women Jordan, dividing her time between Za'atari and Amman.

Islam and Critical Theory '16

Identity Politics '16


David Walker 

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16

David was an army officer working in the US Embassy in Amman, where he was a liaison to an office that sends humanitarian aid into Syria. He has since left the army and is undertaking a Master's Degree in the fields of International Relations and Law at Tufts University. His academic interests include post-conflict stabilization and international conflict resolution.

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Manal Yousef

Manal is a project officer at the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Williams College, where she taught Arabic.

writer/prisoner '19

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Sara Al-Zu'bi

Sara is a on-practicing lawyer who strives for equality.

Ethics and Exile


Education and Pedagogy


Mahmoud Abu AlSamen

Mahmoud is a clinical pharmacist by academic profession, and an advocate for reforming higher education in Jordan. Through archival and cultural memory research, his work focuses on the modern identity construction of postcolonial minorities in the region, with particular emphasis on the Syriac and Kurdish populations of the Near East. He is planning for a Ph.D on the pre-modern Kurdish communities in the region.

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Social Science '18


Tariq Adely

Nader is Clinical Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, where he teaches Arabic language, literature and culture. He is also the Summer Director of Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture in Amman. An accomplished translator, his current research offers fresh readings of exilic cultural production in Arabic, English and Hebrew.

Psychoanalysis '16


Huda Ali

Huda is a literacy teacher at the International Catholic Migration Commission in Mafraq. The unique teaching experience, along with her academic background (BA in English), has inspired the exploration of the relationship between tradition and religion. Her current research focuses on alternative interpretations of Islamic texts, while her theological aspiration is to restore coherence and integrity to contemporary religious practice.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Islam and Critical Theory 16 - Aesthetic Theory '16


Oumeima Bouchlaka

Literature and Critical Theory '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16

Oumeima graduated from the Arab Open University with a master's degree in English Literature. Her dissertation was a comparative analysis of Pablo Nerudo and Mahmoud Darwish, with a particular focus on their respective constructions of national identity in poetry. She has worked as an English teacher in Qatar and now spends her time researching Palestinian literature in preparation for a PhD.


Mozna Dajani

Mozna, a child of the universe. A mother passionate about knowledge. She embodied her principles of love, freedom, and beauty in founding an international school for teaching Arabic to non-native speakers in Dubai. She sees volunteering as a way of life.

Late Letters; Pathos of Pedagogy; A Dying Colonialism


Rana Dajani

Rana is a scientist, teacher, and social entrepreneur. She is an associate professor of Biology at the Hashemite Univerity, where she founded the Center for Service Learning, and a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. She has published both scientific papers and editorials about the Arab world in Nature and Science, and  founded "We Love Reading," a grassroots movement aimed at spreading the love of reading internationally.

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

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Leen Alfatatfa

Leen is currently pursuing her masters in Arab Studies at Georgetown University. She is interested in Arab feminist writing, global south epistemologies, and pedagogy.



Luna Hasani

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

Luna is a lecturer in structural engineering at Al-Ahliyya Amman University. She received her graduate degrees from the University of Sheffield after briefly working in the field of structural design. Her research focuses on the relationships between Arab history, philosophy, and Islam, and she is pursuing a master's degree through night classes at the University of Jordan.

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Aya Hasan

Aya is a writer and teacher. She received a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Jordan, and is currently a Health, Anatomy and Biology teacher in the International Baccalaureate program, bringing to the natural sciences a mixture of critical pedagogy and philosophy. Her research focuses on the philosophy of religion - particularly theories of religious co-habitation - and the relationship between science and faith.

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Ethan Jerome

Ethan is a teacher at King’s Academy, having completed a doctoral dissertation in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. His fieldwork focused on Palestinian labor in West Bank settlements.

writer/prisoner '19

Philosophy of Culture '15


Ronahi Majdalawi

Ronahi is an assisant professor at the University of Jordan, having received her PhD in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction. An active member of the educational community, she regularly designs workshops and courses for high school, college, and graduate students on issues of social engagement and pedagogy.

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Dima Masri

Dima is a writer, translator, and researcher based in Amman. She received a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

writer/prisoner '19

Identity Politics '16


Rula Qawwas

Rula was a Professor of English Literature and Feminist Theory at the University of Jordan, where she spearheaded curriculum development in Women's Studies and inspired a generation of students, scholars, and activists. Her scholarship and pedagogy has also left imprints in the United States, where was often a visiting professors.


Ayah Waqad

Ayah is a PhD candidate of Modern English Literature at the University of Kansas. She was a Lecturer in the University of Jordan before moving to the US. Her research focuses on Critical Prison Studies and Neocolonialism.

writer/prisoner '19

Literature and Critical Theory '16 - Identity Politics '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

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Katy Whiting

Katy is the Program Director of the Sijal Institute, where she administers Arabic language courses and cultural events. She has a master's degree in applied linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language.

Ethics and Exile '17


Philosophy and Theology 


Dona Abbadi

Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17 - writer/prisoner '19

Dona works at the Royal Film Commission, having previously studied philosophy and literature. She is interested in the intersection of French theory and European film, and will be curating a film series on the history of cinema. Her research revolves around Western and Islamic philosophy at the turn of the first millennium. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.


Samar Bandak

Samar works at Caritas Jordan, where she develops programming for refugees in the the fields of personal awareness, health, and education. She has a B.Sc in Nutrition from the University of Jordan and has completed graduate work in ethics and philosophy at Sophia in Italy, where she researched non-violent resistance in the Civil Rights Movement. She is particularly interested in cultivating the power of a “living community” and its ability to impress change upon the world.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16 - Ethics and Exile '17


Nadine Dahleh

Nadine is a researcher and university guidance counselor. She holds degrees in philosophy and Global Media from AUB in Beirut and SOAS in London. Her research is on the history and practice of philosophy in the twenty first century, as well its relationship to media and communication in the digital age.

Ethics and Exile '17 - Kafka Goes to Palestine '18


Jana Daoud

Identity Politics '16

Jana is currently undertaking a masters degree in law in London, having graduated from Roosevelt University with degrees in Philosophy and International studies. She is an activist with Rajeaa for National Work in Amman, and focuses on education reform and advocacy. Her research focuses on the relationship between refugee rights and humanitarian law.

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Jamal Hadidi

Jamal is a lawyer by profession and an avid reader of philosophical and and psychoanalytical literature. He is interested in questions of authority, individual freedom, and the role of religion in the public sphere.

Psychoanalysis '16

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Alaa Mansour

Alaa Mansour is a science teacher based in Amman, where she introduces basic epistemological issues to her high school students. She received a BA in geography from the University of Jordan. Her current research revolves around the possibility of knowledge in Kantian philosophy, particularly focusing on the question of bias in epistemology. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in philosophy in the near future.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Literature and Critical Theory '16

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Nahed Al-Marayeh

Nahed graduated from the Hashemite University with a degree in Genetics, and currently teaches biology in the International Baccalaurette program. Her interest in philosophy stemmed from rethinking the relationship between self and society, on which she has focused her research at the Institute. She participated in conferences on the relationship between science and religion in France and the United States, and is now pursuing graduate study in the humanities.

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Nurul Aqilah Mazlan

Nurul is a Malaysian national studying medicine and surgery at the Jordan University of Science and Technology. She is engaged in philosophical questions at the intersection of medicine, Islam, and philosophy.

Ethics and Exile '17

Philosophy of Culture '15


Ramzi Nari

Ramzi graduated from the University of Basra in Iraq, and moved to Jordan with his family as a financial coordinator. An avid photographer, he is passionate about street photography and particularly the aesthetics of downtown Amman. He has presented both his photography and philosophical reflections to the Jordan Photographic Society.

Philosophy of Culture '15


Lara Nelson

Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16

Lara graduated from the University of Oxford (BA in Theology) and SOAS (MA in International Relatoins). She is currently a consultant based in Amman, where she critically engages the intersection of Western development, institutional bureaucracy, and individual emancipation. Her research interests include the history of Islam, non-institutional frameworks for liberation, and social justice.

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Omar Alrifaie

Omar is passionate about reading, learning languages, and studying religions. He specializes in genetic engineering and works in the field of audiobook production. He seeks to leave an impact with his humanistic concept of self, though he often retreats into a state of seclusion

Grammar of the Soul, late letters

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Muhannad Saadi

Muhannad is a full-time researcher, having previously worked in the private and NGO sectors. He completed a master’s degree in philosophy at Boston College and is preparing a doctoral thesis in the field. His interests include Spinoza, German Idealism, and Merleau-Ponty.

writer/prisoner '19

Art & Architecture

Art and Architecture

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Abdullah Abu saleh

Abdullah is an artist & visual- storyteller based in Amman. He started his career as an illustrator & content creator, then worked in writing for animation, songs & copyrighting, therefore he pursued his studies in Visual Arts-Multimedia design, gained well-respected local & regional awards for his work & presented it among the leading galleries & conferences in Jordan. 

With profound belief & dedication, he works to expand the creative production process. 

Of Other Objects; Afterlife of Melancholia; Pathos of Pedagogy


Tariq Adely

Tariq Adely is a translator and journalist. He graduated from Brown University in 2014 with a BA in Comparative Literature, focusing on translation of contemporary Spanish and Latin American poetry. He is interested in performative speech, semiotics, and theories of translation. Looking forward, he hopes to introduce works of Arabic literature to English-speaking audiences.

Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17 - Kafka Goes to Palestine '18 - writer/prisoner '19

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Ruba Asi

Ruba is freelance architect, having received her degree from the University of Jordan, and a full-time mother. She is interested in the relationship between urbanity, architectural practice, and the religious elements of constructing the public sphere.

Islam and Critical Theory '16


Hamza Abuhamdia

Hamza is an architect and designer based in Amman. He has undertaken a variety of artistic and vernacular projects on the architectural identity of Amman. His current research focuses on identifying and promoting the layered history of Amman's architecture with respect to the influence of Circassion, Armenian, and Palestinian immigrants. In the fall of 2016, he will begin a master's degree at Sciences Po.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Identity Politics '16


Omar Battikhi

Omar works at the Sijal Institute for Arabic Language and Culture, where he administers and teaches courses in Arabic to students who possess a foreign language. A graduate of the American University in Beirut, he is currently completing a historical novel in Arabic on a Lebanese political faction in the 1980s. When the opportunity arises, he applies his professional voice-over skills on Arabic specials for Al-Jazeera and National Geographic.

Aesthetic Theory '16 - Social Science '18 - writer/prisoner '19


Muhsen Albawab

Muhsen is a teaching assistant at the German Jordanian University, from where he graduated with a degree in architectural engineering and design. His academic interests revolve around personal identity, history, and aesthetics in the field of architecture. Outside the academy, he has created vernacular projects which reflect on the heritage and urban environment of people living in Amman, with a particular focus on low income housing.

Identity Politics '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Social Science '18


Yvonne Buchheim

Yvonne is an artist and arts educator based in Cairo. She has exhibited artwork internationally and been involved in developing several educational programs in the UK and the Arab world, including the Cairo Institute for the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Amman's Spring Sessions.

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Yara Ghunaim

Yara is an architect and writer. She works at the firm AE7 and volunteers at the Jordan Open Source Association. 

writer/prisoner '19

Ethics and Exile '17

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Ismael Ghananim

Ismael is a doctoral candidate at Ca' Foscari University of Venice in Italy. His current research in Amman combines methods from literary geography and sociology of literature.

writer/prisoner '19

Lina Halaseh

Lina Halaseh

Lina studied architectural engineering in Jordan and Germany. She is currently a freelance designer, and researches the social and architectural heritage of Jordan, particularly focusing on protecting the architectural identity of two cities: Salt and Amman. At the Institute, she researches the benefits and limitations of a multicultural framework in relation to public and private religious practice.

Philosophy of Culture '15

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Jessica Holland

Jessica is a curator/archivist currently completing an MA at SOAS, University of London, having gained her BA in History of Art from Cambridge. Initially drawn to the Institute by the ‘Aesthetic Theory’ course (Fall 2016), she also attended the Ethics in Exile course (Spring 2017). Jessica is eagerly looking forward to developing pertinent exhibition concepts based on her resulting radical foundation in philosophy applied to the contemporary context.


Hasan Hamdan

Hasan is a teaching assistant and architectural jurist at the German Jordanian University, from where he graduated with a BA in architecture. His research interests revolve around theoretical and conceptual modes of design, particularly as they relate to the notion of freedom, and he is currently pursuing graduate study at the intersection of architecture and aesthetics.

Aesthetic Theory '16

Ethics and Exile; Aesthetic Theory


Rand El Haj Hasan

Rand is an architect with a burgeoning independant practice, having received her master's degree in architecture from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-La Villette. She is interested in the relationship between genealogy, design, and architecture, and is planning for a second graduate degree in sociology.

Identity Politics '16


Noor Jaljuli

Noor is a student at the University of Jordan, where she studies English Literature. She is currently pursuing a career in translation and literary editing. An award-winning spoken word artist, she is also passionate about writing and hopes to cultivate her literary practice after graduating.

Literature and Critical Theory '16 - Identity Politics '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16 - Ethics and Exile '17

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Muna Nimer

Muna is an architect and independent researcher. She has explored critical theory in her architectural training, and has been expanding her work on the relationship between the public sphere, post-colonial studies, and architecture. Her most recent project has focused on the history of the Arab "public intellectual" in 20th century politics, with a particular emphasis on the role of the public sphere.

Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16


Maiss Razem

Maiss is an architect, artist, and academic. She currently lectures at Al-Ahliyya Amman University, and directs the Green Building Committee of the Jordan Engineers Association, having received graduate degrees from the University of Jordan and Virginia Tech. A recipient of the Fulbright Alumni Community Action Grant, she has promoted green healthy homes to younger audiences and curated architectural exhibits.

Philosophy of Culture '15 - Aesthetic Theory '16


Elham Rawashdeh

Elham is a graduate student at the University of Jordan. Her dissertation explores Adorno's writing on Jazz in relation to its usage as a trope of liberation in Arab-American literature. She has worked as a translator for three years, and is in the process of translating a number of Arab literary texts into English.

Literature and Critical Theory '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16 - Psychoanalysis '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16

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Elizabeth Rauh

Elizabeth is a Doctoral Fellow at Darat al Funun in Amman and a PhD student at the University of Michigan, where she specializes in Islamic Studies and Art History. She is currently conducting research on artistic encounters between historic Islamic art objects and modern art practices, examining various ways in which the past and notions of Islam are actively mediated in modern art making.

Islam and Critical Theory '16


Sherine Rahil

An Arab woman, through her practice of dentistry and love of dance, seeks to instill confidence in the smiling body. She also seeks freedom in the depths of nature and life.

Grammar of the Soul

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Marah Rajjal

I'm a Freelance Visual Communication Designer located in Amman, Jordan. As a child, I was heavily influenced by J.K.Rowling, Tim Burton and Metal Music, and they have helped me pave a life path which I am proud of. I hope that one day I can be an artist/person who have had positive influences on other people's lives.


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Haneen Shaheen

Haneen is an independant artist based in Amman. She is also an art teacher at the International Academy -Amman's IB Program, where she specializes in Art History and Theories of Knowledge. At the Institute, she is interested in researching the relationship between socio-historical phenomena and artistic production, particularly focusing on the work of the twentieth century artist Francis Bacon.

Aesthetic Theory '16

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Rory Sykes

Rory is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Northwestern University and a Fulbright Scholar in Amman. Her dissertation on Palestinian visual culture considers the illustrated pamphlets, posters, films, and photojournalistic representations produced during the revolutionary period (1967-1982). She has previously served on the Chicago Palestine Film Festival committee and is currently conducting dissertation research in Jordan.

Identity Politics '16 - Islam and Critical Theory '16

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Sera Tolgay

Sera is a graduate student at MIT, where she studies Architecture and Urban Planning. Originally from Istanbul, she worked on urban conservation projects, including the historic peninsula of Istanbul, where she became interested in urban form and social life in Islamic cities. At the Institute, she is interested in considering the merits of pre-modern ways of life, some of which are found in Islamic cities and institutions like waqfs.

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Ruth Van der Muelen

Ruth is an intern at the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Unit in UNRWA. She holds two graduate degrees in architectural engineering and development studies. At the Institute, she is interested in innovative approaches to sustainable development with a view towards the refugee crisis.

Psychoanalysis '16 - Aesthetic Theory '16

Islam and Critical Theory '16


Mona Alzghoul

Mona is an interdisciplinary artist based in Canada. Her practice involves navigating voids in personal and collective identity, memory, loss/modes of mourning, legacy, nationalism, and estrangement. At the Institute and through other venues in Amman, she has sought to reconcile the notion of belonging in a third space, not that of ancestors, birthplace, or current place of being, but a mobile centre that has no physical space.

Ethics and Exile '17

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