My interest in working towards realizing more inclusive, equitable, and peaceful societies is informed by my upbringing in an American military family in Copperas Cove, Texas. In addition, my experience traveling and working in the U.S., Central America, Europe, the Balkans, Caucuses, the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, and Turkey has shaped my understanding of the frameworks necessary to ensure people can live a life of dignity, free from fear and want.
Originally from Copperas Cove, Texas, my experience traveling and working in the U.S., Central America, Europe, the Caucuses, the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, and Turkey has shaped my understanding of the frameworks necessary to ensure people can live a life of dignity, free from fear and want. My multi-disciplinary work focuses on responsible business practices, livelihood security of vulnerable groups, forced migration, and the meaningful inclusion of women in fragile and conflict-affected environments.
Since 2018, I have been living in Brussels, Belgium. Currently, I am an Associate Researcher at the Center for Migration, Diversity, and Justice at the Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussels. From 2019-2021, I was a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, IDEAS. From 2018-2019, I was a Visiting Fellow with the Wilfred Martens Centre for European Studies, the in-house think tank of the European People's Party.
From 2005-2018, I lived in Istanbul, Turkey, where I worked at the Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University, and the Center for European and International Studies, Kadir Has University. I was deeply engaged in civil society, co-founding the Women in Foreign Policy Turkey Chapter, co-administering the Syria Support Network, and serving on the Advisory Board of the CIPE LIFE project that supported food entrepreneurs from the Syrian and host communities in Turkey.
My academic contributions include teaching courses on the UN and Global Governance, Crisis Management, Peace and Conflict Management, Global Concerns, Responsible Business Practices, Research Methods, and International Organizations, advising students on the writing of their dissertations, conducting research, presenting my research findings, publishing my research interests and findings in academic journals, contributing to joint research projects, and editing colleagues' manuscripts. Moreover, I have experience demonstrating the practical application of my research interests and findings to policy circles, multi-lateral organizations, donor governments, civil society, and the private sector.
As a practitioner, I have conducted peace and conflict assessments and strategic evaluations in the fields of humanitarian assistance and development coordination for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), European Parliament, German development agency (GIZ), SPARK, and Verite. In addition, I served as a civil society representative for the European Union's working group on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, contributed to a European Parliament-supported study on a progressive European foreign policy agenda, and co-wrote policy briefs on development, equity, and inclusion in development assistance for the Biden-Harris administration as a member of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security.
I have held pro bono roles, including Trustee for the United Nations Association-UK, Chair of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education, Working Group on Business for Peace, and Co-Chair of the International Crisis Group's Ambassador Council. In addition, I am a member of the network of Academic Friends of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office; the Hollings Center's working groups on Profits to Peace, Iraq's Foreign Policy and Economic Challenges, and U.S.-Egypt Relations; Middle East Research Network on Internal Displacement; Migration, Business and Society; and Research Centre for Gender, Diversity, and Intersectionality at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick in the U.K. My dissertation focused on the private sector's impact on human (economic) security and peace in fragile and conflict-affected states. In my case study, I delved into the impact of the private sector from Turkey on economic security and peace in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. I received my M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and B.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC. As a student at American University, I organized study trips for students and professors to learn about development-oriented issues in Mexico and Honduras.
Organizational Development and Institutional Partnerships
— Academic Contributions
In addition to teaching executive courses on Crisis Management and Positive Business Engagement in Complex Environments, I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Peace and Conflict Management, International Organizations, Comparative Politics, Research Methods, the UN and Global Governance, Global Concerns, Non-Traditional Security Threats, and Introduction to International Relations. As a thesis advisor, I have guided 28 students in writing their Master's thesis for Queen's University, the Brussels School of Governance, and UBI, and 19 students in the writing of their Bachelor's thesis for the Brussels School of Governance. As a Visiting Fellow with the London School of Economics and Political Science, IDEAS, I contributed to developing and promoting the project "Human Security Business Partnership Framework Towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals." My research interests in responsible business practices, livelihood security of marginalized groups, forced migration, and women's meaningful inclusion in fragile and conflict-affected situations have been published and referenced in academic journals and policy-oriented outfits, including War on The Rocks, the Journal of Career Development International, and the Journal of Middle East Critique. Lastly, I have undertaken several peer reviews of my colleagues' scholarly work.
— Advisory Contributions
I have experience advising an array of stakeholders, including business, civil society, policy institutions, and multilateral organizations, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Parliament, and Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) on peace economics, human security, livelihood security, positive business engagement, gender sensitivity, and gender mainstreaming, and the meaningful inclusion of women in fragile and conflict-affected situations. As a member of WCAPS, I co-wrote policy briefs for the incoming Biden-Harris administration on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in development policy. In addition, I was invited to write a report on the meaningful inclusion of women in peace and transition processes for the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. Most recently, I provided guidance to the UN Global Compact UK Network for a report on the nexus of business and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. I have the skills to conduct interviews, gather data, and analyze information ethically. Moreover, I have led several peace and conflict assessments and social audits for organizations, including the ILO, German Development Agency (GIZ), Verite, and SPARK.
— Organizational Development and Institutional Partnerships
I have fostered institutional partnerships and coordinated the development, learning, and expertise of organizations from the academic, business, philanthropy, and policy communities, including the European Parliament, the German Development Agency (GIZ), the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education's Working Group on Business for Peace, ICRC, DCAF, CIPE, Synergos, Atlantic Council, CSIS, German Marshall Fund of the U.S., the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, NARUC, and the IFC. In addition, I have experience representing organizations in the media and speaking about complex issues on television and print media outlets, including Euronews and Arabnews, contributing to knowledge dissemination. Lastly, I have identified, applied, and acquired funding and in-kind contributions for programming and research activities for academic, civil society, and policy organizations, including the UN PRME Working Group on Business for Peace, the London School of Economics and Political Science, IDEAS, the Istanbul Policy Center, and the Center for International and European Studies.