Meili graduated from Southwestern University with a Bachelor's degrees in History/French and she is passionate about issues related to the MENA region, progressive interpretations of Islam, women's rights and the Algerian Revolution for Independence. While at Southwestern, she received a university grant to conduct summer archival research in the Paris archives concerning North African immigration to France and the Algerian 1954 Revolution.
“It's hard to know where life will take you (especially as a liberal arts major!) but the archival research experience strengthened my desire to pursue a long term career in international relations analysis with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa.”
Josh is an undergraduate student of philosophy and religious studies, with focuses on political philosophy and U.S.-MENA geopolitics, as well as corporate ethics and their role in shaping foreign political agendas.
He aspires to establish greater diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and MENA, to strengthen our respective countries and bring to them much-needed stability. He is also passionate about queer and gender issues in the greater MENA region.
Kevin is entering his final year studying International Relations, concentrating on counter-terrorism and security studies, at the University of St Andrews in the United Kingdom. Born and raised in the suburbs of San Francisco, he now calls Houston his American home. He plans to pursue a masters degree in Security Studies in London upon graduation and hopes to apply that to a career with a global reach.
“I found Ruman Project by chance. However, after doing a bit of research on the organization I realized how inspired I was by the mission and how well the work done by Whitney and the team reflects the beliefs and values I hold. I look forward to being a part of a growing movement, spearheaded by Ruman Project.”
NEWSLETTER COORDINATON TEAM
NATALIE REYES | NEWSLETTER COORDINATOR
After graduating from the University of Southern California in 2012 with a B.A. in International Relations, Natalie sold her meager possessions and moved halfway around the globe to Istanbul. Living in Turkey, she began demystifying preconceived notions of Muslim- majority cultures as well as reflecting on Americans’ unconscious adherence to their myth of exceptionalism. To further immerse herself, Natalie decided to study in the M.A. Turkish Studies program from Sabanci University, officially graduating in 2018.
Throughout her time in Los Angeles and Istanbul, she was involved in different organizations that worked to promote intercultural engagement between different experts and publics such as the Afghan Women’s Mission, IRC, and Hollings Center for International Dialogue. Natalie is fluent in English, Spanish, and Turkish.
DIALA GHNEIM | ASSISTANT NEWSLETTER COORDINATOR
Born in Texas, raised abroad for 18 years in 6 countries before returning to the US; it is no surprise that Diala found her calling within global affairs, cross cultural dialogue, and local empowerment. Diala has interned with the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations. Upon graduation, she moved to Amman and worked with Microfund For Women on a project dedicated to financial inclusion for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Diala is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi, and the Network of Arab American Professionals. She holds a BA in Political Science and Human Resource Management with a concentration in Middle Eastern Affairs from Rutgers University. Diala is based in Chicago and works with Art Of Hope to provide art therapy and vocational training for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
LYDIA HOWE | SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Lydia is a filmmaker and visual anthropologist, with an interest in how anthropology, art and documentary intersect to produce visual media that fosters social change and dialogue. She has made films for community organisations and independent documentaries exploring peace and reconciliation work, interfaith dialogue, language and notions of multiculturalism. This has included films on the challenging of far-right extremism in her home town and an exploration of relationships between multilingualism and identity among Moroccan women living in the UK.
Lydia is a co-founder of Alternative Fictions, a documentary collective that aims to use storytelling, collaboration and inter-disciplinary research to explore issues of representation and the stories less told. She has also worked as a community project coordinator and teacher of English as a second language.
GABRIELLE SEAMON | SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Gabrielle has grew up around people of various cultures and faiths. She holds a BA in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. While at West Chester, she did research on Women’s rights in Cuba. This allowed her the opportunity to travel to the island to do more extensive research on the subject.
After graduation she went on to work for the Hillary Clinton campaign in the 2016 presidential election and has since worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. She plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in international development.
Policy and research team
Brook conner | policy and research coordinator
Brook is a Christian living in Atlanta with his wife, where he will begin chaplain residency at Emory University Hospitals and ordination into the Episcopal priesthood. At the University of Tennessee he majored in Religious Studies and German. Brook examined post-conflict peace and reconciliation in Gulu, Uganda, where he researched the 2012 Anti-Homosexuality bill and interviewed local religious leaders from the Anglican and Islamic communities. He also interned at the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative.
Studying public policy and religion has led him to places such as Germany and Palestine. "I love religion because I’m fascinated by why people believe and how those beliefs act out in the world. Through my research in public policy, I hope to bring other’s stories to light by being a witness to their struggles and joys."
Fulya Türkmen | policy and research ASSISTANT
Fukui obtained her BSc and MSc degrees in Political Science and Public Administration from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, where she obtained a minor certificate in International Relations. She spent a semester at the University of Leeds, UK as an exchange student. Fulya participated and acted as a facilitator in various European Union youth projects about gender studies and multiculturalism; and volunteered in various NGOs.
Fulya worked as a research and teaching assistant at Özyeğin University, where she participated in various conferences and other events. Fulya is currently a Ph.D. student in Political Science at University of California, Riverside, specializing in comparative politics and political theory.
SuzanNe carlson | policy and research ASSISTANT
Suzanne completed her first MA in European studies at Sabanci University in Turkey, focusing on comparative migration policy and the Turkish-origin population in Germany. To expand into the Mediterranean perspective on migration, she is currently working on an MA in immigration and interculturality at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain.
She is also interested in energy issues and their impact on geopolitical relations. Suzanne has written for Turkish Policy Quarterly and presented her research at the 2018 International Conference of Europeanists.
CommunitY and coMmunications team
Qamar al Hkim | community manaGer
Qamar pledges herself to working for the greater good and to encouraging the development of science for the benefit of humanity. In 2017 she won the Stiependuim Hungaricum Scholarship to pursue an MSc in Management and Leadership as a joint program at the University of Pécs and Middlesex University. Qamar obtained her bachelor degree in economics from Damascus University and worked in the banking sector for two years.
Coming from Syria, living in Sweden, and studying in Hungary has helped her become exposed to different cultures, develop an international mindset, and build great friendships with people from all over the world. Volunteering is Qamar’s greatest passion; she participated in the Social Capacity Building Program within the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Qamar also enjoys learning languages; she is currently learning Swedish.
Joseanne mirOlo | deputy editor
Born to binational parents, Josanne has split her life between Europe and the US. She graduated from Aberystwyth University in the UK with a BscEcon in International Politics, where she specialised in the law and politics of international conflict, and worked as a Senior Editor at Interstate Journal of International Affairs.
While undertaking graduate study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in International Crimes & Criminology, Josanne worked as an Editor and Liaison at the journal Amsterdam Social Science. She also worked as a Junior Researcher at the Centre for International Criminal Justice, on the project ‘When Justice is Done’. Josanne is passionate about inter-faith relations and establishing cross-cultural ties for their importance in fostering peace.