International American Council

International American Council
Middle East and North Africa



International American Council provides a global and advisory analysis  which draws on a worldwide network of experts. It seeks to  advise its clients for political, economic, cultural,  business, and  strategic landscapes. These policies, strategies and insight have enabled many people around the world to succeed in a world where the intersection of politics, culture economics, and business is critical.

International American Council on Middle East and North Africa (IAC) attempts to offer policies and news focusing on essential issues regarding the advancement of the politico-economic relationships between the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, and other Muslim countries. It seeks to promote political and economic relations, social justice, democracy, rule of law, equal rights, and freedom of speech, press, and assembly in the Middle East and North Africa. It provides  policies, strategies, insights and events from Israel, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

International American Council has appeared in writings and interviews on national and international outlets including the New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, BBC, and France 24 International, to name a few.
IAC is accessible in four languages: Arabic, English, Hebrew and Persian.



Research Director:  Mona Saghri,

Administrative Coordinator: Sarah Sorbon,


Research Assistant:  Laura Gates,







Policy Coordinator and Director: Arda Jooharian,

Zachary Tomlinson, Research Assistant


Sarah Jay Brown


Majid Rafizadeh

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-Syrian,  is a leading and award-winning author, scholar, Middle East expert,  US foreign policy specialist, political analyst and human rights activist. He is regularly being consulted by major governmental institutions, NGOs, non-profit organizations, national and international media outlets as well as being quoted on outlets including CNN, Aljazeera English, France 24 English International, BBC, Russia Today, and Voice of America. He is on the board of Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Previously, he served as ambassador to the National Iranian-American Council based in Washington DC and conducted research at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

He has been recipient of several major scholarships including Fulbright Teaching Scholarship through which he taught at University of California Santa Barbara, Religious Studies Department. He has previously taught at several other universities in U.S. and abroad. He attended Harvard and has also received fellowships from several universities including Oxford University and Annenberg University.

Rafizadeh is a regular commentator and political analyst on various news outlets including CNN, ABC, BBC, Foxnews, Aljazeera, CTV, CCTV, France 24 English, RT (Russia Today), ETV, ENEWS, Sky News, NTN International News, Voice of America (VOA), and public radios over topics related to U.S foreign policy, democratization, human rights, the Middle East, Iran and Syria.

As a note speaker, he speaks at diplomatic centers, panel discussions, universities, institutions, interfaith seminars in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and other regions on U.S. foreign policy, democratization, human rights, religions, and Middle East politics.

Rafizadeh has previously taught at several universities including Damascus University, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Islamic Azad University, and Sheikh Bahaee University.  Rafizadeh is a member of the advisory board of Commission on Syrian Refugees and Gulf 2000 project of the Columbia University School of School of International and Public Affairs. As a project manager, Rafizadeh was formerly employed by the International Committee for Red Cross with regards to Afghanistan and Darfur, Sudan. Rafizadeh is contributing editor, writes columns for Harvard International Review, and he is guest editor for Voice of America (Middle East Voices project). He came to the United States on Fulbright Teaching Scholarship where he taught in the religious studies department at University of California Santa Barbara.

His works regularly appears on national and international magazines and journals including  CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS,  The New York Times, The New York Times International, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, Foxnews, Aljazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, Jerusalem Post, The Economic Times, USA Today, Harvard International Review, Yale Journal of International Affairs, Independent, George Washington Journal of International Affairs Review, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Haaretz, Foreign Policy Association, Jadaliyya, and Alarabiya, to name a few. His interviews and works have been translated to several languages including French, Spanish, Arabic, Persian and Russian.

Twitter: @majidrafizadeh



Scholars, Academics, and Political Analysts 

Janet Afary


PhD, University of Michigan

Mellichamp Professor of Global Religions and Modernity, Departments of Religious Studies and Feminist Studies, Modern Iranian History

Janet Afary holds the Mellichamp Chair in Global Religion and Modernity at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she is a Professor of Religious Studies and Feminist Studies. She is a native of Iran and a historian of modern Iran. She has an MA in Linguistics from Tehran University and a PhD in History and Near East Studies from the University of Michigan, where her dissertation received the Distinguished Rackham Dissertation Award. Previously she taught at the Department of History and the Program in Women’s Studies at Purdue University, where she was appointed a University Faculty Scholar. Her books include: Sexual Politics in Modern Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2009, winner of the British Society for Middle East Studies Annual Book Prize); The Iranian Constitutional Revolution: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism (Columbia University Press, 1996, winner of Dehkhoda Institute Book Award; and (with Kevin B. Anderson) Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (University of Chicago Press, 2005, winner of the Latifeh Yarshater Book Award for Iranian Women’s Studies).

 Mark Juergensmeyer

PhD, UC Berkeley

Professor, Religious Violence, Conflict Resolution, and South Asian Religion and Politics
Modern Islamist Movements in Iran and other Middle Eastern and South Asian countries

Mark Juergensmeyer is director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, Professor of sociology, and affiliate Professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics, and has published more than two hundred articles and twenty books, including Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State (University of California Press 2008). Juergensmeyer has received research fellowships from the Wilson Center in Washington D.C., the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for contributions to the study of religion, and is the 2004 recipient of the Silver Award of the Queen Sofia Center for the Study of Violence in Spain. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Lehigh University in 2004, a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006, and the Unitas Distinguished Alumnus Award from Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 2007. He was elected president of the American Academy of Religion, and chairs the working group on Religion and International Affairs for the national Social Science Research Council. Since the events of September 11, he has been a frequent commentator in the news media, including CNN, NBC, CBS, BBC, NPR, Fox News, ABC’s Politically Incorrect, and CNBC’s Dennis Miller Show.

 Nancy Gallagher


Professor of Comparative Gender History, Comparative Race and Ethnicity, and Middle East, History of the Iranian Plateau, especially Afghanistan

Nancy Gallagher is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is currently serving as University of California Education Abroad Program Study Center Director for the Middle East, Based in Cairo. She will be teaching at the American University in Cairo for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. She will be teaching new courses on oral history and Egyptian Revolution and more standard courses on the history of the modern Middle East and women and gender in Muslim societies and conducting research related to these courses. Nancy’s publications include a work on early efforts by peacemakers in the world’s largest refugee crisis titled, Quakers in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (New York and Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2007).


Seyla Benhabib

Seyla Behabib is Eugene Mayer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, and director of the program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, and a well-known contemporary philosopher. She is the author of several books, most notably about the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Jürgen Habermas. Benhabib is well-known for combining critical theory with feminist theory.


Daniel Brumberg

Daniel Brumberg is a Senior Adviser to the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, where he focuses on issues of democratization and political reform in the Middle East and wider Islamic world. He is also an associate professor at Georgetown University and a former senior associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s Democracy and Rule of Law Project


Marius Deeb

Marius Deeb teaches Middle East Politics at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He has published several books including Party Politics in Egypt, The Lebanese Civil War, and with Mary-Jane Deeb Libya Since the Revolution.


Haleh Esfandiari

Haleh Esfandiari is an Iranian American academic and the Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Her areas of expertise include Middle Eastern women’s issues, contemporary Iranian intellectual currents and politics, and democratic developments in the Middle East.


Mehrangiz Kar

Mehrangiz Kar is a prominent Iranian lawyer, human rights activist and author of the book Crossing the Red Line, as well as many articles. Mehrangiz Kar is also a celebrated activist of women’s rights in Iran.


Daniel Kurtzer

Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former United States ambassador to Egypt and to Israel, is a professor of Middle Eastern policy studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.


David Siddhartha Patel

David Siddhartha Patel studies and teaches comparative politics with a focus on Middle Eastern politics, Islamic institutions, and political culture at Cornell University. His research analyzes the recurrent ability of Islamic institutions to shape patterns of collection action. Instead of analyzing Islam as shared values or ideology, Patel combines game theory and ethnography to examine how Islamic institutions and symbols can provide individuals information that facilitates powerful political coordination and enhances social solidarity.


Camille Pecastaing

Camille Pecastaing is Director of the Behavioral Sociology Project at John Hopkins University; he currently works on the cognitive and emotive foundations of xenophobic social attitudes and ethnoreligious violence, using the Muslim world and its European and Asian peripheries as a case study; areas of Expertise include evolutionary and social psychology and the historical sociology of the southern flank of the Eurasian continent, with Islam as the origin of a coordinate system that ranges from the Mediterranean world to East Asia; Ph.D., international relations, SAIS


Tariq Ramadan 

Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss academic and writer. He is also a Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University (Oriental Institute, St Antony’s College). He also teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, (Qatar) and Director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) (Doha, Qatar). He advocates the study and re-interpretation of Islamic texts, and emphasizes the heterogeneous nature of Western Muslims.


Robert Bernard Reich 

Robert Bernard Reich is an American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carterand was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

Reich is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at theUniversity of California, Berkeley. He was formerly a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government[4] and professor of social and economic policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University. He has also been a contributing editor of The New Republic, The American Prospect (also chairman and founding editor), Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.


Houchang Keshavarz Sadr

Houshang Keshavarz Sadr is a social science researcher. He is the Founder of Iran Documentation and Research Center (Paris, France) and a Life-Time Research Associate of the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam)


Jonathan Schanzer

Jonathan Schanzer has worked as a counterterrorism analyst for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Prior to that, he was a Research Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Mr. Schanzer got his start in the policy world as a research fellow at the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank headed by scholar Daniel Pipes. His publications have received numerous professional reviews and have produced various discussions


Haim Shaked

Haim Shaked is the Director of the Sue and Leonard Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami. He obtained his Ph.D. in History, School of Oriental and African Studies, at the University of London. He was named Director of the University’s recently founded Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. His academic specializations are in the modern history and politics of the Middle East, Islam as a political force, and Arab-Israeli relations.


Ray Takeyh

Ray Takeyh, DPhil is an Iranian-American Middle East scholar, former United States Department of State official, and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University

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