Research Assistant Internships


Please DO NOT submit applications or queries directly to the scholar. All materials and questions should be sent to Research Assistant internships are available for three terms annually. Please refer to our internship program page and FAQ page for more information:


The Middle East Institute offers a small number of research assistant internships with MEI Adjunct Scholars. MEI provides a venue for scholars and senior policy analysts of diverse backgrounds and nationalities to work on contemporary issues regarding the region. MEI's scholars are frequently quoted in leading U.S. and international newspapers. Their articles are published on MEI's popular website and distributed through a powerful social media network and direct e-mail outreach platform reaching tens of thousands of subscribers.

Resarch Assistants support our scholars with their current research and writing projects. In many cases, interns have attended high-level briefings and co-authored articles with their scholars.

Desired Skills

Qualified undergraduates and recent graduates are encouraged to apply, though Master's students are preferred. Language skills are preferred and may be required depending on scholars' needs. Previous research experience is a plus.

Scholars Seeking Research Assistants

Dr. Paul Salem
Vice President for Policy and Research, Middle East Institute
Project Description: Dr. Salem's research assistant will carry out research, relying on both Arabic and English language sources, on political developments in the Middle East. She/he will also assist in organizing research trips, workshops, and work closely with MEI's Senior Editor on editorial and research tasks.

Special Skills: The assistant should be fluent in Arabic; excellent in research; demonstrate in-depth understanding of the Middle East as well as strong English editing/writing skills.
Availability Requirements: 20 hours/week



Dr. Marvin Weinbaum
Professor emeritus at the University of Illinois and former State Department intelligence analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan
Project Description: Dr. Weinbaum's assistant will help in the preparation of opinion articles in journals, with media presentations, public talks, and evaluate manuscripts and reports for academic institutions and publishers. The intern will also contribute to research on a long-term project involving the political culture of Pakistan. Dr. Weinbaum's assistant will also accompany him to various meetings and sometimes take notes at public talks.

Special Skills: Knowledge of Urdu, Dari, or Pashto is preferred, but not essential. Experience living or traveling in the region is also preferred but not a requirement.
Availability Requirements:20-30 hours/week

Dr. Daniel Serwer
Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Project Description: Dr. Serwer will continue work on a database of Syrian civil society organizations, developing plans for the roles they might play in “liberated” (and protected) areas of Syria, and routinely publishing articles on Middle East issues on his blog, The research assistant intern will conduct research on Syrian civil society, attend at least one Middle East-related public event weekly, post a report on said meeting, and help to maintain the blog. Less than 20% of work will be administrative. Dr. Serwer holds weekly, in-person meetings with his interns.

Special Skills: A strong interest in the Levant and Syria is a plus. Strong Arabic skills are desirable, though not required. Experience blogging and gathering data is desired.
Availability Requirements: 30–40 hours/week

Alex Vatanka
Senior Fellow in Middle East Studies, US Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS)
Project Description: Mr. Vatanka's assistant will carry out research for separate projects, but a with focus on Iranian security and foreign policy. The assistant will be tasked with collecting, analyzing, and compiling material for articles relating to Iran's relations with her neighbors. Examples will includes Iranian-Turkish relations, Iranian-Russian relations and Iranian-Saudi relations. Other areas of research include Iran's position vis-a-vis Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. 

Special Skills: Farsi fluency is required. Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Chinese, or Russian skills are desired, but not essential. Candidates must posess a solid background in research.
Availability Requirements: 20 hours/week

Amb. W. Robert Pearson
Non-Resident Scholar, Middle East Institute
Project Description: Amb. Pearson's research assistant will work on research for Amb. Pearson, specifically involving the period in Turkish politics from 2000-2003 and contextualizing those years in relation to the current state of Turkish politics. The RA will also work on organizing a database of newspaper coverage of Turkish politics during the early 2000s, both from American and Turkish English sources. Finally, the RA will assist in the creation of an outline for a forthcoming book.

Special Skills: The assistant should have excellent research and writing skills. Familiarity with Turkish politics is desired, as is experience with databases like JSTOR and LexisNexis. Turkish language skills are a plus.
Availability Requirements: 20 hours/week


Antoun Issa
Senior Editor, Middle East Institute
Project Description: Mr Issa's assistant will copyedit feature articles and policy papers, convert papers to Adobe InDesign for publication, conduct research for articles and papers, assist in planning coverage of key events pertinent to the region (for example, Syrian peace talks) and liaise with authors regarding their contributions. The assistant will have the opportunity to research and write a co-authored paper to be published on the Middle East Institute's website. As we work with all MEI scholars, as well as external contributors, the assistant will be engaging with issues across the region, and not specific to one topic.

Special Skills: Some knowledge of Arabic is desirable, but not essential. Deep understanding of issues across the Middle East and North Africa. Strong editing and writing skills. Adobe InDesign skills strongly preferred. An international relations or journalism background preferred.
Availability Requirements: 20-40 hours/week


Charles Lister
Fellow, Middle East Institute
Project Description: Mr Lister’s assistant will conduct research on issues relating to terrorism and insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and in Libya. This will include a regular monitoring of 'Islamic State' activities in both areas, as well as government countermeasures against Islamic State and other terrorist and insurgent movements in both areas. Work on the Egyptian Sinai in particular will help produce a weekly MEI data-driven product that will measure Islamic State-related incidents in order to provide regular analytical insight into the trajectory of conflict developments there.

Special Skills: A strong interest in terrorism and insurgency in the Middle East and North Africa region. Arabic fluency is required, as is experience in in-depth research and gathering data using local news sources and social media.
Availability Requirements: 20-40 hours/week


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