Dr. Ali Fathollah-Nejad (PhD SOAS) is an Iranian–German political scientist based in Doha and Berlin. Since October 2017, he has been a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, the Middle East center of the Brookings Institution. Since April 2020, he has been a Lecturer in Middle East and Comparative Politics at the University of Tübingen’s joint Master’s program with the American University in Cairo (AUC). In the fall 2018 term, he was an Assistant Professor in the PhD program of Qatar University’s Gulf Studies Center. Previously, he was a post-doctoral Associate at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Iran Project, an Associate Fellow with the Middle East and North Africa Program of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) – acting as the latter’s in-house Iran expert. Currently, he is also an honorary affiliated researcher with Freie Universität (FU) Berlin’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics and the Centre d’Études de la Coopération Internationale et du Développement (CECID) at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
Born in Tabriz, he grew up as a little kid in Ahvaz during the Iraq–Iran War, before his parents emigrated to Germany in late 1987 where completed the German and Iranian primary schools (through the Iranian Embassy in Bonn) in parallel. Educated at universities in France (Sciences-Po Lille), Germany (Münster) and the Netherlands (Twente), he earned his PhD in International Relations from the Department of Development Studies of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, with a dissertation on Iran’s international relations in the 2000s in a changing world order.
Fathollah-Nejad has also taught courses on globalization and development in West Asia and North Africa, contemporary Iran and the Arab Revolts among others at Freie Universität (FU) Berlin’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics, the University of Westminster and SOAS.
He has pursued multi-lingual, multi-national and pluri-disciplinary university studies in Western European countries covering the fields of political science, sociology and law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Public Administration and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in European Studies from the University of Münster (Germany) as well as a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Public Administration and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) cum laude in European Studies from the University of Twente (The Netherlands). He began his studies at the Lille Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po Lille, France) where he obtained an Intermediate Diploma. From 1999 to 2004, he had been working as a teacher in various German education centers, mainly with children and young adults of immigrant background.
Fathollah-Nejad’s expertise and research interests lie in the U.S.–Iran conflict and the role of the European Union (with special attention to geopolitics, diplomacy, decision-making processes and power structures), 21st-century world order, peace and conflict studies, the foreign policies of the U.S. and EU vis-à-vis West Asia and transatlantic relations. He further focuses on politico−cultural issues of immigrant integration.
In addition to two monographs on the post-“9/11” U.S.–Iran conflict, he has written over 150 analytical pieces in English, German and French – with translations into almost a dozen languages. His work has been published worldwide, e.g. by PBS Newshour, Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Middle East Institute (Washingto, DC), The National Interest, openDemocracy, Jadaliyya, World Policy Journal, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Internationale Politik (IP), Der Tagesspiegel, taz, Huffington Post (France, Quebec & Germany editions), L’Orient-Le Jour, Géostratégiques, Mediapart, Insight Turkey, Iranian Diplomacy and the Palestine–Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture.
He has given over 150 talks in English, German and French at academic (e.g. Harvard Kennedy School, SOAS, Imperial College London, Seoul National University Asia Center, University of Economics in Prague, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Kadir Has University in Istanbu, Humboldt University of Berlin) and political institutions (e.g. European Parliament, House of Commons, German Federal Foreign Office, MED – Mediterranean Dialogues, University of Law in London, Vienna School of International Studies, Iranian Foreign Ministry think-tank IPIS).
Fathollah-Nejad provided consultancy on Iran-related issues for Members of the European Parliament and of the German Bundestag as well as on geopolitical issues in the Middle East for the International Crisis Group and for global risk consultancies, such as Control Risks (London).