Program for Strategic Research and Studies

PMBF Podcast Series

Our podcast series presents discussions about Middle Eastern current events, history, and politics with experts and professors from UCF.

Ep. 1 – David Dumke 7/20/2017 

Director of the PMBF Program, David Dumke an experienced Middle East specialist, Dumke writes regular columns for both Al Ahram Weekly and Saudi Gazette. He has worked on regional projects in a number of fields, including politics, business and academia. He has also published several analytical pieces on congressional policymaking vis-à-vis the Middle East, including “Congress and the Arab Heavyweights: Questioning the Saudi and Egyptian Alliances” in Middle East Policy, and A View from the Inside: Congressional Decision-making and Arab-Israeli Policy (Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, 2006). Dumke discusses President Trump’s trip to the Middle East in the first installment of our PMBF Podcast Series.

Ep. 2 – Dr. Manar Elkhaldi 8/3/2017

Dr. Elkhaldi, a recent UCF graduate with a PhD. in Security Studies, discusses her research regarding the influence of religion in the Middle East. In her dissertation titled, “Rivalry-Prone Dyads? Interstate Religious Differences and Military Conflict,” Elkhaldi focused on how religious differences between states affect the various types of interstate conflicts. Her plans post-graduation involve working in the field of security issue research, varying from institutional to international security.

Ep. 3 – Dr. Konstantin Ash 8/29/2017

Dr. Ash, an assistant professor in the UCF Political Science department, sat down to discuss his research as it pertains to one of the most well-known conflicts in the world right now: the Syrian Civil War.  Some of his research focuses on explaining allegiance patterns among identity groups at the outset of civil conflicts, explaining demands for regime change in the Arab World, elucidating the relationship between drought and the onset of the Syrian Civil War and explaining the use of terrorism by insurgent groups. 

Ep. 4 – Dr. Powell and Dr. Bell 09/19/2017

Dr. Powell Assistant Professor in the UCF Political Science Department & amp; Dr. Curtis Bell sat down to discuss their research as it pertains to food and security in the Middle East.  Food security in the Middle East and North Africa is quickly deteriorating because of conflict in several countries in the region. In those hardest hit by crises — Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Sudan — an average of more than a quarter of the population was undernourished.

Ep. 5 – Dr. Peter Jacques – 10/13/2017

Dr. Peter Jacques, Professor and Internship Coordinator in the UCF Political Science Department.  Dr. Jacques interests include sustainability, global environmental politics, ocean policy, and American Indian environmental politics.  Dr. Jacques, discussed food security in the Middle East and the scarcity of water resources is one of the most alarming issues within the MENA region.

Ep. 6 – Ambassador Elam – Thomas 10/17/2017

Ambassador Elam-Thomas Diplomacy Program Director at UCF Global Perspectives. Ambassador Elam-Thomas has spent 42 years as a diplomat with foreign assignments in Greece, France, Turkey, Belgium, Senegal, and Côte d’Ivoire. She has served in the U.S. Information Agency, the Foreign Service Personnel, the United Nations, and the White House in addition to acting as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal from 2000 to 2002 before retiring with the rank of career minister. She is currently the Director of the Diplomacy Program here at UCF and is the author of her forthcoming memoir, “Diversifying Diplomacy:  My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar”, to be released this December. She holds a B.S. in International Business from Simmons College and an M.A. in Public Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.   

Ep. 7 – Dr. Teddy Reynolds 10/24/2017

Ted Reynolds is the Global Connections Senior Research Fellow in Terrorism Studies for the Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Global Perspectives at the University of Central Florida. His work focuses on using both qualitative and quantitative methods of research to understand terrorist/extremist radicalization and participation, particularly within social media and other computer mediated communication (CMC) environments. He is a graduate of Rollins College with a B.A. in International Affairs, has an M.A. in Political Science from UCF, and acquired his Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland, UK), researching “The Use of Social Media and Computer Mediated Communication by Extremist Groups.”   

Ep. 8 – Interview – Students Organize for Syria at UCF 11/07/2017

SOS at UCF is a chapter of the national organization Students Organize for Syria. Students Organize for Syria envisions a free Syria in which the Syrian people have the rights and freedoms that they deserve. Their mission is “to stand in solidarity with the Syrian people in their struggle for freedom and human rights, to assist Syrians in their effort to build a self-determined and pluralistic society, and to raise awareness of and help alleviate the humanitarian crisis currently taking place in Syria”. The goal of their organization is to work together to shed light on the current situation in Syria and to provide necessary humanitarian relief for and stand in solidarity with the people of Syria.


Ep. 9 – Dr. Gunes Murat Tezcur 11/14/2017

Güneş Murat Tezcür (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2005), the Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies, is a social scientist studying political violence, identity, and movements. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in many different scholarly journals such as American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Perspectives, Journal of Peace Research, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Law and Society Review, Nationalities Papers, Party Politics, Politics & Gender, and Political Research Quarterly. He is also the author of Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation (University of Texas Press, 2010). His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches a wide range of courses on political violence and nonviolence, the Middle East, democratization, social movements, and politics of energy. He conducts his research in Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Ep. 10 – Dr. Roger Handberg 12/05/2017

Dr.  Roger Handberg, chair of the Political Science Department, specializes in space policy, defense policy, the U.S. Supreme Court and judicial politics. He also focuses on global energy politics, the mass media and politics, government policies in science and technology and American security policy, particularly military space policy and ballistic missile defense. He has published nine books and more than 150 articles and book chapters. His recent books include “Chinese Space Policy: A Study in Domestic and International Politics,” “International Space Commerce: Building from Scratch” and “Reinventing NASA and the Quest for Outer Space.” Handberg previously served for three years in the U.S. Army.