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Research

 

2018

  • Assessing the impact of external actors in the Syrian and Afghan proxy wars, (Carnegie Corporation)

    Research Team:  Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh, Dr. Dara Conduit and Dr. Zahid Shahab Ahmed
    Research Synopsis: Regional proxy conflicts have become a most significant threat to peace and security in the Middle East and South Asia. This is a dangerous trend because the involvement of foreign actors in domestic conflicts risks the spread of tension across two of the world’s most volatile regions. With the Carnegie Corporation’s support, the proposed project will undertake a comparative analysis of the proxy wars in Syria and Afghanistan to examine the impact that external players have had on the conflicts, and to advance new understandings on the evolving role of states and non-state actors in the regions. This project represents an exciting opportunity to bridge the divide between researchers and policymakers. It will bring together policymakers, academics and practitioners from across the Middle East and South/Central Asia as stakeholders to explore multilateral policy alternatives. These stakeholders will be involved in the project at every step of the way, from setting initial priorities, to providing policy recommendations and giving feedback on the final report. The deep involvement of local expertise will support the development of locally driven and evidence-based policy responses to proxy conflicts, and maximise the project impact.
    Research Timeline: 2018-2020

  • Women's NGOs and Gender-Sensitive Policy Change in Iran (Australian Research Council: Discovery Project)

    Research Team: Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh and Dr. Rebecca Barlow
    Research Synopsis: This project aims to investigate how Iranian women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work to influence gender sensitive policy change in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This project will generate new knowledge on the causal mechanisms behind NGO-driven policy change in Iran, leading to a theory of change on NGOs and gender sensitive policy change in Islamic political systems more broadly. The expected outcomes will enhance scholarly understanding of Iranian civil society, and build the capacity of the Australian government to foster ties and invest in successful strategies for progress with Iran.
    Research timeline: 2018 – 2021.

 

2017

  • State and Society in Iran: Identity and the Securitisation of Minority Policies, (Gerda Henkel Stiftung)

    Research Team: Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh, Dr. Costas Louatides and Dr. Zahid Shahab Ahmed
    Research Synopsis: This project seeks to examine the dynamic interaction between the Kurdish minority and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ethnic Kurdish identity transcends territorial boundaries, raising significant questions about the impact of conflict across the border on Iranian Kurds and how they interact with the state. Recent conflicts in the region involving Kurds adds to an already difficult relationship between Tehran and the Kurdish community. This project will test the increasing concern among the Iranian political establishment in relation to Kurdish assertiveness, and explore the implications of the prevalent tendency to apply a security lens to ethnic relations.
    Research Timeline: 2017-2018

2015

 

  • Measuring Cultural Property Destruction in Iraq and Syria, (Australian Department of Defence)

    Research Team: Dr. Benjamin Isakhan
    Research Synopsis: In recent years, both Iraq and Syria have seen unprecedented degrees of heritage destruction, especially with the expansion of various forms of sectarianism and militant Islamist jihadi groups, including the ‘Islamic State’ (among others). This project aims to be the first global attempt to record this heritage destruction. The project involves the collection of primary and secondary material concerning the destruction of cultural property in Iraq and Syria, the analysis of this material and its entry into sophisticated databases cataloguing the destruction of heritage.
    Research Timeline: 2015-2017

  • Patterns of Humanization and Dehumanization and the Development of Trust: Unity and Divisions Within and Between the Muslim World (Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development)

    Research Team: Prof. Dan Christie and Prof. Noraini Noor. Co-Is: Prof. Cristina Montiel, A/Prof. Subramaniam Govindasamy, Dr. Shelley McKeown, A/Prof. Reeshma Haji, Dr. Zahid Shahab Ahmed & Dr. Fatima Sajjad
    Research Synopsis: In this project, Dr Ahmed’s project focused on the media discourse in relation to Pakistani Christians. This project collected pre- and post-9/11 data from the two most read newspapers in Pakistan. The data was analysed using the theoretical framework on de-humanization.
    Research Timeline: 2015-2017

2014

  • Peace Education in Pakistan (United States Institute of Peace)

    Research Team: Dr. Zahid Shahab Ahmed,
    Research Synopsis: This project involved a thorough investigation of nine peace education projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab. The results of this project have been disseminated through a USIP special report, and journal articles in Peace Review, and Asian Journal of Peacebuilding.
    Research Timeline: 2014-2016

2013

  • The Role of Islam in Iran's Foreign Policy: Central Asia and Afghanistan, (Australian Research Council: Future Fellowship)

    Research Team: Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh,
    Research Synopsis: This project aims to investigate how Iranian women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work to influence gender sensitive policy change in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This project will generate new knowledge on the causal mechanisms behind NGO-driven policy change in Iran, leading to a theory of change on NGOs and gender sensitive policy change in Islamic political systems more broadly. The expected outcomes will enhance scholarly understanding of Iranian civil society, and build the capacity of the Australian government to foster ties and invest in successful strategies for progress with Iran.
    Research Timeline: 2013-2016

     

  • Sectarianism in the Middle East (Qatar National Research Fund)

    Research Team:  Prof. Shahram Akbarzadeh, Dr. Mark Farha and Dr Luciano Zaccara
    Research Synopsis: This project examined how the eruption of popular unrest across the Arab world opened up a sectarian divide in the region with far-reaching consequences. Through detailed study of original sources, the research team analysed the relationship between regional power rivalry and worsening sectarian tensions and conflict.
    Research Timeline: 2013 – 2015