The Future of U.S. Engagement in the Middle East

Date & Time February 19, 2020 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Cabot 206

The Middle East Research Group, Women in International Relations and ALLIES will co-sponsor a panel on “U.S. Policy in the Middle East”, welcoming back three IGL alumni: Sarah Arkin, Rachel Brandenburg, and Negar Razavi.

Sarah Arkin (A’06, EPIIC’94, Exposure) is the Policy Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff, where she also covers the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, she was Foreign Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. Prior to that she was U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Senior Policy Advisor, covering foreign policy and associate staff of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee. Previously, Sarah served in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, covering a range of issues including human rights, religious freedom and women's rights. Sarah worked as a research assistant at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University and the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University and received a Boren National Security Education Program Fellowship in Cairo in 2012. Before all that, she worked as a journalist and photojournalist, winning a Virginia Press Association Breaking News Award in 2009. She has lived in Israel, Kenya, and Uganda. She has a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Tufts University and an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University.

Rachel Brandenburg (A’05, EPIIC’03, NIMEP) is senior policy adviser for Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). Previously, Rachel worked at the Atlantic Council as director of the Scowcroft Center Middle East Security Initiative. From late 2014 to early 2018, Rachel served in the US Department of Defense Office of the Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy where she initially focused on Iraq and the counter-ISIS campaign as Iraq director, and then Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon as Levant director. Rachel had previously worked on the Middle East and North Africa at the US Institute of Peace and served at the US State Department in the Office of Middle East Transitions as the Tunisia assistance coordinator, and in the Middle East Partnerships Initiative office. Prior to joining the US government, Rachel worked with Search for Common Ground, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and the Transatlantic Institute in Brussels. Rachel was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in Israel and a Critical Language Scholarship in Jordan. Rachel completed an MS in foreign service at Georgetown University and a BA in international relations and Middle Eastern studies at Tufts University.

Negar Razavi (A’06, EPIIC’04, NIMEP, IDI) is a political anthropologist with a focus on critical security studies, expertise, gender, race, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Her research specifically examines the role of policy experts and think tanks in shaping U.S. security policies towards Iran and Egypt. She received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and is teaching at William and Mary as a Visiting Assistant Professor in anthropology.