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University of Exeter’s Institute of Arabic & Islamic Studies Alumni Newsletter


Dear IAIS Alumni,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the latest IAIS Alumni Newsletter. The year, of course, has been a challenge for all of us, and I hope that you and your loved ones have managed to cope as well as possible in what have been difficult and arduous circumstances. Along with the rest of the University, IAIS staff have continued with their teaching and research activities over this period, and our students have shown tremendous amounts of resilience and fortitude in dealing with the constraints and limitations successive lock-downs have brought. I am very much grateful, and in awe, of our staff and students for what they have done, and they leave me in no doubt that IAIS remains, as ever, a very special place with a unique learning and teaching, and very supportive, community at its core.

In this Newsletter, you will read of several of the many exciting activities and initiatives that have taken place in IAIS over the last year. Many of these are teaching and research focused, but it is our work in confronting discrimination and racism that has been perhaps the most notable aspect of our activities in recent months. You will also see that some of our recent alumni have returned to IAIS to engage with the current students, discussing with them career opportunities and what the future may hold for our students upon graduation. To all of our alumni who have engaged in this way, my sincere thanks, and to those alumni who wish to do the same, then please get in touch!

I look forward to welcoming you back to IAIS hopefully, now, in the not so distant future.

Best wishes,



Gareth Stansfield

Professor of Middle East Politics

Director, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

University of Exeter


Research Stories


Former rebel groups become more moderate after gaining political power in nations with democracy, research shows

Former rebel groups who transform into political parties have adopted a moderate stance after gaining power in more democratic political systems, a study shows.

In contrast, the tactics and policies of the former rebel groups remained unchanged if the issue which attracted supporters to them continued to remain. This is exacerbated in nations where there is a tradition of solving conflict outside of formal politics, often in a violent manner, according to the research. The research, by Dr Lise Storm (pictured) is published in the Open Journal of Political Science. Read more.


My research… A sorcerer’s handbook: medieval Arabic magic in context

Read online about Dr Emily Selove's research into medieval Arabic Magic.


College News


News from... The European Centre for Palestine Studies 

The European Centre for Palestine Studies is one of 6 research centres based in the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, which are central to our research success. It is dedicated to producing interdisciplinary on the history of Palestine and the Palestine/Israel conflict.

Read online about the research centre’s recent work and events, including the recent discussion event between Professor Angela Y. Davis (University of California Santa Cruz) and Professor Ilan Pappé (University of Exeter)  on transnational movements for antiracism, anticolonialism and social justice which was hosted by the ECPS, IAIS and Exeter Decolonising Network in January this year. You can watch a recording of the event online now.


Getting involved


Black History Month alumnus speaker event

To mark Black History Month in October, Associate Professor Sajjad Rizvi hosted a conversation with his previous student alumnus Amandla Thomson – Johnson (MA Islamic Studies 2011) who is a journalist in Dakar, covering West Africa.

You can hear his story in this video.


Supporting student recruitment

Alumna Aimee Dawson (BA Arabic & Middle East Studies 2013) joined an online panel discussion hosted by the Widening Participation team about studying at the Institute and how her degree helped her get her job as Associate Digital Editor at The Art Newspaper. The event was recorded and will be used as a resource for schools to encourage students to consider studying the subject at Exeter.

"It's always a pleasure to be welcomed back into the IAIS fold. I hope this online resource will help prospective students learn more about the institute and the many - often unexpected! - things you can do with an Arabic degree after university.’"- Aimee


Knowledge Is Power, share yours

Continuing the anti-racism speaker series held this autumn in IAIS, Professor Rizvi spoke with Dr Dimah Mahmoud, who began her studies at Exeter with an MA in Middle East Policy Studies and then went on to study a PhD in Arabic & Islamic Studies in 2011.

You can watch the recording online.

Dimah is a humanist by practice, activist by choice, and passionate change-maker by learning. With 13+ years of facilitating order by manipulating chaos, she excels at co-creating grass-root sustainable solutions by leveraging knowledge, skills and expertise to build international alliances for inclusive collective growth with a deliberate focus on the advancement of people of Indigenous and African Ancestry.

Reflecting from a 2020 lens on her time in Exeter, Dimah vows to keep ringing the alarm by sharing her knowledge and pointing at the hypocrisies of the failed global political system that ravages all institutions, including academic ones with a simple call to action ‘Knowledge Is Power, share yours.’  Dimah invites you to follow her on twitter: @thefacipulator.


Career Conversations

Terry Pattar (BA Arabic Studies 2001) Director Consulting Services with Janes Intelligence Unit spoke to students about his career in Intelligence and Security and insights into the sector. The online event was the third in our ‘Career Conversations’ series, following on from Fadi Abdellatif (PHD Palestine Studies 2019), Senior Program Manager and Advisor, USAID – and Nicola Harris (BA Arabic Studies 1993), Chief of Staff, Global Energy, AXA XL – (now Head of Energy UK & Lloyd's).

If you’d like to take part in a  talk or an event that either supports careers or student recruitment please register your interest online.


Alumni Stories


Catching up with Lawrence Robinson (Arabic, German and Middle Eastern Studies - Flexible Combined Honours 2014)

Lawrence now works with the Refugee Hub as Senior Policy Co-ordinator for the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative. His role involves working to bring new, more sustainable and reliable models of refugee protection to Europe and other countries.

In this article he tells us what he’s been doing since graduating and reflects on the highlights of his studies at Exeter and the skills and experiences it gave him. 

We’d love to hear what you have been doing since graduating. If you’d be happy to complete a careers profile for us to share with current students and the IAIS Alumni Community you can do so online.


Catching up with Shireen Abu-Eid Abdellatif (PhD Palestine Studies 2019)

"I work at the EU Delegation to Palestine. I have been responsible for the coordinated management of multiple, complex, and multi-million euro programmes of Direct Financial Support, development, reform and capacity building to the Palestinian public institutions.  Currently, I am the focal point for public administration reform and institution building tools at the Delegation.

"My PhD on the role of EU financial aid in state building in Palestine has improved my research skills, added to my knowledge and enriched my understanding of the wider political, economic and social context within which we live and operate. It made me more aware of power dynamics at hand. My studies made me reflect further on my role in the organisation I work for and on how I could make the best use of my findings when contributing to policy implementation and development work in Palestine."




Full fee and partial fee studentships available for both Home and International applicants

The College of Social Sciences and International Studies is pleased to announce the launch of a new suite of Masters programmes within the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. We now offer the following MA courses:

We also offer a specialised MRes Middle East Studies programme.

For details of the studentship package, please refer to our website. If you have any questions, please contact

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