Institute for Migration Studies (IMS)

Faculty and Researchers


Jasmin Lilian Diab

Assistant Professor of Migration Studies
Director, Institute for Migration Studies

Senior Visiting Fellows


Dr. Jennifer Skulte-Ouaiss


TL Gender Expert, LAU-MEPI TL Program Director
Title IX Director

Visiting Fellows


Paul V. Dudman

Paul V. Dudman (he/him) has been the Archivist at the University of East London (UEL) Archives for over 19 years, where his major collecting strength is on refugee and forced migration history. His research interests are focused on refugee history and the role of archives in documenting and preserving the personal narratives and life histories of migration. Dudman is the co-convener of the ‘History of Forced Migration and Refugees: An International Working Group for Archiving and Documentation’ and currently acts as Secretary for the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM). He is also the Chief Editor for ‘Displaced Voices: A Journal of Archives, Migration and Cultural Heritage’ hosted on our Living Refugee Archive online portal.


Josiane Matar

Matar (she/her) is an aspiring researcher in the fields of Migration and Refugee Studies. She holds a Master’s degree in International Public Management from the Paris Institute of Political Studies-Sciences Po. She developed her thesis on the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and has since published several articles as a product of her ongoing research. She has also volunteered and conducted field research in several refugee camps across Lebanon. After graduating from Sciences Po, Josiane worked as a consultant for the research division at the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) and is currently working at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center. Josiane has been awarded the Rhodes scholarship for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. She intends to pursue a DPhil at the University of Oxford, and continue her studies on migration management in developing and failed states.


Tafhimur Rahman

Rahman (he/him) is a researcher, as well as a development and humanitarian practitioner with over a decade of work experience in community development, migration, and youth empowerment. He is an Associate Fellow at the Royal Commonwealth Society and the first and only Bangladeshi Youth-IGF fellow of Internet Society. He is also a ‘The Fund for American Studies (TFAS)’ Scholar at The University of Hong Kong. He has been involved with UNESCO APCEIU, The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR), and Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in several capacities. For his contribution to the community, he has received over 10+ prestigious fellowships and awards around the world. In 2020, he founded Act for Displaced (AFD), a non-profit that works for the rights of displaced people, with an aim to engage young people in advocating for the most vulnerable group of people in the world and raise awareness on their rights. With AFD, he aims to bring together young people to advocate for the displaced people.


Prerna Rathi

Rathi (she/her) is a humanitarian practitioner with an MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics, and a BA in International Studies and Philosophy from the American University. She has worked with the government, non-profit and private sectors to facilitate accountability towards marginalized groups in the United States, UK, Belgium, Germany, Lebanon, Nigeria, Nepal and India for over a decade. Specifically, Prerna’s expertise is in program design, impact evaluation and capacity building processes. Given her strong intercultural and conflict assessment skills, she has proactively provided surge support in emergencies such as the Syrian refugee response, Boko Haram crisis, Nepal earthquake and Kashmir flood relief. Prerna has been applying a peacebuilding lens through sustained dialogue and storytelling with displaced communities. She is the Founder of the international NGO People Beyond Borders, for refugee empowerment.


Bechara Samneh

Samneh (he/him) is the Special Projects Coordinator at ILGA Asia for the Special Project to Assist LGBTI Afghans at Risk. He serves as one the MENA Organization for Services Advocacy Integration and Capacity Building (MOSAIC MENA) Board Members, where his work is focused on finding specialized and comprehensive service provisions for marginalized groups on a national and regional level. Additionally, he works in research and advocacy for policy reform on intersectional topics specialized in SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity/Expressions, and Sex Characteristics), refugees and environmental justice. He also served as the Youth Program Coordinator at MOSAIC, working on the capacity development of youths and their respective communities. He publishes academic and para-academic articles on social engagement in the fight against human rights violations, especially in the areas of LGBTIQ+ rights violations in the MENA region. He holds an MA in Economics and Policies from University College London (UCL), an MA in International Management of Public Procurement from the University of Rome - Tor Vergata, and a BA in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Beirut (AUB).


Elana Wong

Wong (she/her) is one of the Global Focal Points for the MGCY Migration Children and Youth Platform, where she leads youth participation in high level migration advocacy at the UN and state level. She was the former Asia and Pacific Regional Focal Point, where she led youth consultations and engagement in the Bali Process and Global Compact for Migration Asia-Pacific Regional Reviews, and co-organised roundtables and consultations with UNICEF, UNESCO, and at the global Migration Youth Forum. She has served as a panelist at multiple conferences and events, including the ASEAN Youth Summit, one of the migration civil society side-events at the High Level Political Forum 2021, the recent EUDiF Future Forum, and at the Expert Group Meeting on the Draft APAC Migration Report 2020. She is also the co-founder of Colours of Edinburgh, a social project promoting the self-expression of refugees and asylum seekers, and specializes in migration, minority and development studies. Elana holds a BA Liberal Arts from Kings College London, with a focus on English Literature and Developmental Geography, and an MSc in Sociology and Global Change from the University of Edinburgh. Her research interest revolve around diaspora contributions in the MENA.

Research Affiliates

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Mohammad Al-Abbas 

Al-Abbas (he/him) is a MEPI Tomorrow’s Leaders Graduate Scholar currently pursuing an MA in International Relations at LAU. Prior to enrolling in his MA, Mohammad completed a BE in Electrical Engineering at LAU. His research focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on migrant networks, labor rights, and healthcare access as well as the existence of discriminatory policies that forcibly expelled migrants from host countries. He is also proficient in data analytics, machine learning, and statistical methodologies. Other research interests of his include research assessment, Scientometrics, gender diversity within higher education, science-of-science, and policy design.


Janda Barazi

Barazi (she/her) is pursuing an MA in International Affairs at LAU, and holds a BA in Political Science/International Affairs from LAU with High Distinction. In 2019, she studied at Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Middle East Partnership Initiative Tomorrow’s Leaders (MEPI-TL) Program Scholarship. She was awarded third place by MEPI-TL for her business project “Beit Nazik”, a center for abused women in Damascus. She is a NewGen fellow at the Arab Council for the Social Sciences, and an alumna of the Undergraduate Research and Discovery Program at LAU. Her research interests include Conflict Resolution, Peace and Gender Studies. She conducted her undergraduate research on the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, using Edward Azar’s theory of Protracted Social Conflict (PSC). Interested in women empowerment through education, she serves as an Advisory Board Member to DAWNetwork, an initiative that connects Syrian and American female high school students. Her current research looks into the impact of protracted conflicts on ethnic minority and migrant women in the MENA region.


Palig Giritlian

Giritlian (she/her) is pursuing an MA in International Affairs at LAU and holds a BA in Political Science and International Affairs from LAU with Distinction. She is also an alumna of the Undergraduate Research and Discovery Program and alumna of the Honor’s Program at LAU. During her undergrad, her research focused on the Russian-US relations and Russia’s interference in the 2016 US Presidential Elections, adding to the existing literature on the methods of interference of far-rightists. In 2020, she was selected to participate in MEPI Student Leader Program, attending several training sessions on communication and leadership development, as well as attending workshops on US democracy and its diplomatic relations in the Middle East. Her interests are international relations, international security, development and migration. Her ongoing research focuses on the migration-development nexus.


Karnie Kendirjian 

Kendirjian (she/her), is a graduate student in Migration Studies at LAU. After graduating with a BA in Economics from Haigazian University, she worked at an insurance company as an underwriting officer for two years, and currently works at the Special Investigation Commission. Her research interests revolve around studying diasporic communities and their multi-layered and complex identities amid diasporic consciousness. She is additionally interested in labor migration policies, specifically in the relationship between illegality and the Kafala system. For her thesis, she is studying the Armenian diasporic community in Lebanon and their integration into Lebanese society amid efforts to preserve their national identity.


Miguel Mendelek

Mendelek (he/him) serves as the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Assistant Project Coordinator at the Arab Institute for Women at LAU. He completed his BA in Political Science and International Affairs, and his MA in International Affairs with an emphasis in Middle East Area Studies at LAU. His research interests stem from the field of international relations, with a great focus on security, migration and governance studies, notwithstanding his contribution to understanding Feminist trends in different political and social contexts. Through his first publication featured in Al-Raida Journal, he explored the effects of Lebanon’s compounded crises on anti-Feminist backlash in the aftermath of the 2020 Beirut Blast. Importantly, Miguel firmly believes that multidisciplinary research is core to understanding complex events in the political and international realms. Through his contribution to the Institute for Migration Studies, and with a prime focus on the Middle East and Lebanon, Miguel, through different research publications, will explore the different patterns of ongoing migration trends, their socio-political context and their effect on home and host countries.


Hussein Kobeissi

Kobeissy (he/him) is a second-year Migration Studies graduate student at LAU. He is recipient of LAU’s GPS merit scholarship for academic excellence and research potential. His research interests encompass the transnational space, and the ability for individuals to engage in online-induced migratory patterns. Furthermore, Hussein exhibits interest in the humanitarian aspect of the field through promoting the application of universal human rights and the exertion of agency in a proportionate manner. Outside academia, Hussein is passionate about creative writing.


Hucen Sleiman

Sleiman (he/him) is a practicing architect and a researcher in urban studies. He holds two master’s degrees in Architecture from the Lebanese University, and ENSA-Paris Malaquais. He also holds a Research Master in Sciences of Architecture, Landscape and Territories from L’Ecole Doctoral at the Lebanese University. He is currently a student in Migration Studies at LAU, and a Leadership Development Fellow under the MEPI program. His research focusses on the role of the built environment in offering migrants and refugees long-term sustainable development solutions, promoting mediation between the two cultural worlds of humanitarian and architecture, and providing shelters to displaced people in conflict situations. His research additionally focuses on the effects of architecture and the built environment on constructing an individual’s identity throughout their migration experience, with an emphasis on the notions of belonging, culture, memory, and habitus. Hucen’s research predominantly focuses on the Lebanese migrant community in West Africa.

Graduate Assistants


Rasha Akel

Akel (she/her) is pursuing an MA in Migration Studies at LAU. In 2019, she earned a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from the American University of Beirut with high distinction. Her research focuses on skilled migration application processes to Canada, as well as on Lebanon’s stance as a country of transit (and not a country of refuge). 


Jana Al Hassanieh

Al Hassanieh (she/her) is currently enrolled in two graduate programs, pursuing an MA degree in International Affairs at the Lebanese American University and an MS degree in Environmental Health at the American University of Beirut.  She currently serves as the Disaster Management Advisory Group Officer for the MENA region at the Lebanese Red Cross, and as a Board Member and the Director of Learning and Development at The Phoenix Daily national newspaper. In previous roles, she served as a Research Assistant at the Climate Change and Natural Resources Sustainability Cluster at the United Nations ESCWA, and an Environmental Specialist Intern within the Department of Chemical Safety at the Lebanese Ministry of Environment. Jana’s research interests include Middle Eastern relations and affairs, conflict resolution, humanitarian development affairs, humanitarian diplomacy, disaster management, and environmental affairs.

Former Faculty and Researchers