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

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

Cyber Program & Gulf Affairs Program

The Middle East Institute seeks a part-time intern to work as a research assistant on a variety of projects under its Cyber Program and Gulf Affairs Program. The intern would work 10 to 20 hours per week under the direction of the associate director of the Cyber Program and MEI's senior vice president. The intern's main tasks would focus on researching and organizing academic and scholarly resources on issues related to cybersecurity and technology policy in the Middle East, with some additional tasks related to the Gulf Affairs Program and its research.

Availability Requirements: 10-20 hours/week

Dr. Mamuka Tsereteli

Project Description: Dr. Tsereteli's assistant will conduct research on issues of economic and energy connectivity in Black Sea region. Specific areas of research will include flows of commodities in and out of Black Sea, existing and potential infrastructure development, capacity and area of coverage of the ports on Black Sea etc. In addition, the research assistant intern will help Dr. Tsereteli with preparation of publications and presentations. 

Special Skills: Writing and editing skills; Knowledge of Russian is preferred, but not essential.

Availability Requirements: 15-20 hours/week

Dr. Iulia Joja

MEI senior fellow, Frontier Europe program
Adjunct professor, Georgetown University, Security Studies Program

Project Description: Dr. Joja's assistant will conduct research on issues of Black Sea security. Specific areas of research will include conflicts, military reform, strategic partnerships, and the influence of Russia and China on Black Sea security. The research assistant intern will help Dr. Joja with the preparation of publications and presentations. 

Special Skills: Solid research skills and a background in security studies are essential; a strong interest Black Sea area studies is a plus. Russian or Chinese language skills are preferred, though not required.

Availability Requirements: 15-20 hours/week

Rauf Mammadov

MEI Scholar

Project Description: Mr. Mammadov's intern will conduct research on energy geopolitics, particularly on energy relations between the GCC states and Russia.

Special Skills: A background in energy studies is strongly preferred. Demonstrated research and writing ability is essential. Specialized knowledge in the Levant and Gulf a plus. Proficiency in Russian and/or Arabic is preferred.

Availability Requirements: 20-35 hours/week

Intern responsibilities:

  • Assisting with writing and editing content, including research briefs for fellow
  • Locating data sets and/or collecting open source information for future data analyses
  • With the direct support and guidance of supervisor, draft a blog post on the topic of the intern’s choice relating to Energy Security and Geopolitics
  • Undergraduate student focusing on Energy geopolitics, International Relations, or related major
  • Strong computer skills with Microsoft Word and Excel, experience with using databases a plus
  • Extensive research experience and previous experience working in an office preferred
  • Attention to detail and excellent organization

Not Currently Accepting Applications

The following scholars are not currently seeking research assistants. Please check back later for future opportunities.

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

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

Bilal Saab

Director of Defense and Security Program

Project Description: Mr. Saab's intern will conduct research on US foreign policy and security issues in the Levant and Gulf.

Special Skills: A background in security studies is strongly preferred. A knowledge of US foreign policy in the region is essential. Demonstrated research and writing ability is essential. Specialized knowledge in the Levant and Gulf a plus. 

Availability Requirements: 20-35 hours/week

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