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.

Research 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. 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: 30–35 hours/week

Charles Lister

Senior Fellow, Director of Countering Terrorism & Extremism program

Project Description: Mr Lister’s assistant will conduct research on issues relating to terrorism, insurgency and conflict in Syria and Iraq. This will include detailed Arabic and English-language monitoring and research of the conflict in Syria, the activities of armed opposition groups, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other diplomatic, humanitarian and military issues relating to the crisis. Other work for Mr Lister may also include research and analysis of Al-Qaeda’s activities in Syria and the ongoing campaign against ISIS across the Middle East region.

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: 20-35 hours/week

Amb. Gerald Feierstein

Director of the Center for Gulf Affairs, MEI; Former US Ambassador to Yemen and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs

Project Description: Amb. Feierstein’s research assistant will conduct in-depth research regarding Gulf Cooperation Council member states, focusing on intra-GCC relations as well as policy vis-à-vis Iran, the region, and the broader international community. S/he will track and scan English and Arabic news outlets; collect and analyze academic articles; assist with drafting monographs; help prepare briefings for meetings and public events; and attend conferences, seminars, and congressional hearings as needed.

Special Skills: Must demonstrate proficiency in Arabic and a strong interest in Middle East policy. Strong writing skills is also required. Familiarity and interest in Gulf affairs and advanced proficiency in Arabic preferred. 

Availability Requirements: 20-35 hours/week

Dr. Paul Salem

President, 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 have a working knowledge of Arabic (reading in particular); 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. Randa Slim

Director of Track II Dialogues Initiative, Middle East Institute

Project Description: Dr. Slim's research assistant will carry out research, relying on both Arabic and English language sources, on political and diplomatic developments in the Middle East.

Special Skills: Fluency in Arabic is required. The assistant should have excellent in research skills; demonstrate in-depth understanding of the Middle East as well as exceptional English editing/writing skills. Professional experience is a plus.

Availability Requirements: 20-35 hours/week

Alex Vatanka

Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute

Project Description: Mr. Vatanka's assistant will be tasked with secondary research involving Iranian domestic politics and foreign policy.Key topics to cover will be Iran's hard power and soft power influence in the Middle East; military capabilities; involvement in regional conflicts; and Tehran's relations with its neighbors and major trading partners such as China and Germany.

Special Skills: Fluency in Farsi (Persian), Russian, Chinese, German or Arabic desirable. Additional language (Hebrew, Turkish or French) skills are also desired, but not essential. Candidates must possess a solid background in research and interest in Middle Eastern affairs, particularly Iran.

Availability Requirements: 20 hours/week

Mirette F. Mabrouk

Senior Fellow, Director of Egypt Studies Program

Project Description: Ms. Mabrouk’s assistant will conduct research on issues relating to Egyptian economic affairs and security. That involves subjects including but not limited to economic reform, the investment climate, trade relations and digital innovation on the economic side, and matters affecting Egypt’s security, among them border security and food, population and energy challenges.

Special Skills: A strong interest in Egyptian affairs is vital with prior experience preferred. Arabic language fluency is required, as is experience in research and data gathering using local news sources and social media.

Availability Requirements: 20-25 hours/week


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