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. 19 – Dr. Hakan Özoğlu September 2018 

As a professor of history, Dr. Özoğlu carries an extensive research background regarding Turkey, ranging from topics such as Kurdish Nationalism, which he covered in his book Kurdish Notables and the Ottoman State, to Islamist-Kemalist power struggles, which was the focus of his book From Caliphate to Secular State. In addition, Dr. Özoğlu is the current Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Minor at the University of Central Florida as well as a 2017-2018 recipient of the Fulbright Core Fellowship.

Ep. 18 – Lori Murray

Lori Esposito Murray is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Prior to joining CFR, she held the distinguished national security chair at the U.S. Naval Academy sponsored by the Class of 1960. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut and president emeritus of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to educating and engaging the American public on global issues.

Ep. 17 – John Gilbert

John Gilbert is a Senior Science Fellow with the Center and was a senior arms control analyst with a large professional and technical services company where he has supported a variety of national and international chemical, biological, and nuclear material control, non-proliferation, and counter-terrorism initiatives. He has specialized in on-site inspection operations and management. Previously, Mr. Gilbert served as a senior officer in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Colonel after more than 25 years. He served on and commanded strategic missile crews, spent over 15 years managing organizations that analyzed foreign WMD capabilities and delivery systems, and was one of the first-ever U.S. on-site inspectors (under the INF Treaty) beginning in 1988. He established the chemical and biological operations division within the U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency (now part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency), and was a member of U.S. national Chemical Weapons delegations and negotiating teams in Geneva, The Hague, and Moscow. He has trained several hundred arms control inspectors for the United States, including those conducting missile, nuclear, and chemical inspections, biological weapon fact-finding visits, and other operations.

Ep. 16 – Perry Cammack

Perry Cammack is a fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on long-term regional trends and their implications for American foreign policy. Prior to joining Carnegie in August 2015, Cammack worked on issues related to the Middle East as part of the policy planning staff of Secretary of State John Kerry from 2013 to 2015 and as a senior professional staff member for then senator Kerry on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) from 2009 to 2012. From 2003 to 2006, he worked on the SFRC staff of then senator Joseph Biden, Jr.

Ep. 15 – Owen Kirby

Owen Kirby is an international political consultant with two decades of experience, specializing in political party development, public opinion polling and elections. Currently working with clients and partners in the Middle East region, Kirby served in the U.S. Department of State as a Senior Adviser in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2004-2009, and as a Senior Governance Advisor in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 2009-2010. Most recently, he has advised leaders in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. A former Director at the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Washington, D.C., Kirby oversaw the creation of IRI’s MENA Division in 2001, opening the Institute’s first regional offices in Amman, Baghdad, Casablanca, Kabul, and Qatar. Kirby worked previously at the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. and with the American Business Councils of the Gulf Countries on trade promotion issues, and was a contributor to the publication U.S.-Arab Tradeline. Articles by him on regional affairs have also appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Providence Journal Bulletin, Pittsburgh TribuneReview, Jerusalem Post, and Middle East Insight. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick in Ireland, Kirby has lived in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria. A Newport, RI native, he currently lives in Bethesda, MD with his wife and two daughters. In May 2006, he was awarded the Ghazi Mir Bacha Khan Medal by President Hamid Karzai and the late King Zaher Shah for services to Afghanistan. He is also a recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Expeditionary Service and Superior Service Awards.

Ep. 14 – Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani oversees Crisis Group’s North Africa Project. Prior to joining Crisis Group, he was a writer and consultant on Middle Eastern affairs based in Cairo. His reporting and commentary on the region has appeared in The EconomistLondon Review of BooksFinancial TimesThe NationalThe GuardianTime and other publications. He has also advised leading investment firms and NGOs on the region. He is the founder of The Arabist, one of the longest-running and most-read blogs on Arab politics culture, and the co-founder of Cairo magazine. He is also a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Issandr, who is Moroccan-American, has lived in the region since 2000, mostly in Cairo, and currently resides in Rabat.

Ep. 13 – Hakan Ozoglu 3/20/18

Dr. Hakan Ozoglu is currently the Director of Middle Eastern Studies Minor at the University of Central Florida. Currently he is working on a book manuscript on “Admiral Mark Lambert Bristol’s Tenure in Turkey.” His interviews and essays have appeared in many international media outlets including, New York Times, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, and WTTW PBS Chicago. His publications appeared in four languages.

Ep. 12 – Dr. Thomas Crisman 3/8/18

A professor in the Department of Integrative Biology,  Dr. Thomas Crisman is a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. He has spent his career working on multidisciplinary approaches dealing with ecology, management and conservation of fresh water ecosystems, and watershed management of water resources. He has worked in over 70 nations, including significant research in the Middle East-North African region.

Ep. 11 – Michael Carroll 3/8/18

Michael Carroll has served as the Executive Director of the Istanbul-based Hollings Center, which facilities dialog on a range of issues between the United States and Islamic world, since 2013. He previously served as the inaugural Assistant Director for the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations at Boston University (SMSC). He has also served as the Executive Director of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies (AIAS) and the American Institute for Yemeni Studies (AIYS).

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.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.