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Bassam Barabandi is a former Syrian diplomat and the co-founder and director of external relations of People Demand Change. Born in Damascus City with familial ties to Deir Ez-Zor Province, Syria, Bassam worked in the diplomatic civil service of the Syrian government for 14 years before leaving the Syrian Embassy in Washington DC in the summer of 2013 and co-founding People Demand Change Inc.

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Christopher M. Davidson is a former reader in Middle East politics at Durham University (UK), a former assistant professor at Zayed University (UAE), and a former visiting associate professor at Kyoto University (Japan). His publications include Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success; Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East; and, most recently, From Sheikhs to Sultanism: Statecraft and Authority in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Courtney Freer is an assistant professorial research fellow at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a non-resident fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. She specialises in domestic politics and foreign policies of the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as connections between the two, in addition to examining the role of Islamists in that region and in the Middle East more broadly. Freer is the author of “Rentier Islamism: The Role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf Monarchies” (Oxford University Press, 2018).

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Emilbek Dzhuraev, PhD (University of Maryland), is a political scientist and analyst based in Kyrgyzstan. He taught in the undergraduate and graduate political science programs at the American University of Central Asia and the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. His research and teaching areas included geopolitics, international relations and security pertaining to Central Asia as well as issues of democracy, state-building and constitutionalism in Central Asia. He is a co-founder and a fellow of Crossroads – Central Asia, a Bishkek-based think-tank. Currently, Emil is with the Soros Foundation – Kyrgyzstan where he directs the Democratic Governance Program.

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Dr Guy Burton is Adjunct Professor at the Brussels School of Governance and Fellow on the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation Project at Lancaster University. He is the author of China and Middle East Conflicts (2020) and Rising Powers and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (2018).

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Jacob Mundy is an associate professor in the Peace and Conflict Studies program and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies program at Colgate University. His research focuses on issues of political-economy and critical security studies in Northern Africa. He is the author of Libya (Polity Press, 2018) and coauthor of an updated edition of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press 2010/2021).

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Kristin V. Monroe is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky, USA. She is the author of The Insecure City: Space, Power, and Mobility in Beirut (Rutgers University Press, 2016) and her current research, supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, explores labor and mobilities across the Syrian warscape.

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Laura Sayah is the Head of the book translation unit-Turjuman, at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (Beirut) and a university lecturer. She holds a PhD in economics of education and development from Paris Dauphine University. Her works focus on the economics of education in the Middle East and sectarian economics in Lebanon.

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Mulatu Wubneh is a professor (Emeritus) of planning at East Carolina University, North Carolina, USA.  He is the author of several books and articles on Ethiopia. He has served as a department head at ECU, an adjunct faculty at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (Washington, D.C.), and as a program officer and consultant at the World Bank and the UDP on African capacity building programs. In 2013 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Addis Ababa University, and in 2018–20 an Ambassador Distinguished Scholar at Gondar University.

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Nasser Khdour writes on topics related to Middle East security, the Persian Gulf security, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nasser has a master’s degree in strategic studies for the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, and master’s degree in international studies from Birzeit University in Palestine.

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Professor Richard Pomfret is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide and Adjunct Professor of International Economics at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy. His book The Central Asian Economies in the Twenty-first Century was published by Princeton University Press in 2019.

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Dr. Roger Kangas is the Academic Dean of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA) of the U.S. Department of Defense, located in Washington, DC. His areas of research and teaching include the security, geopolitics, and politics of Eurasia, specifically Central Asia and the Caspian region, as well as Afghanistan.

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Slavomír Horák is an Associate Professor at the Department of Russian and East European Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague. His research and teaching focus cover contemporary politics and history of Central Asia.