Dr. Ali Fathollah-Nejad is an Iranian–German political scientist based in Berlin. 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 the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is an Associate Fellow with the Middle East and North Africa Program of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and Associate with the Iran Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Ali is also a Research Associate at the Centre of International Cooperation and Development Research (CECID) of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and a Research Fellow at the German Orient Institute. In 2015/16, he had been an Expert in Culture and Foreign Policy with the Institute for International Cultural Relations (ifa), writing the major study on Germany’s foreign cultural and educational policy towards Iran after the nuclear deal.
Ali 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.
Ali’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. 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.
He has published over 100 pieces in English, German, and French with his articles being translated into Spanish, Arabic, French, Persian, Turkish, Italian, Czech, Slovakian and Japanese. Ali is the author of an acclaimed study on the U.S.−Iran conflict and the EU’s role, entitled Iran in the Eye of Storm: Backgrounds of a Global Crisis, which had been consulted over 8,000 times from winter 2005 to spring 2007. In 2010, his Der Iran-Konflikt und die Obama-Regierung: Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen? [The Iran conflict and the Obama administration: Old wine in new skins?] was published by Potsdam University Press in Germany (republished in 2011), becoming a bestseller with the WeltTrends publishing series. In 2013, he has authored a chapter on ‘Iran’s Civil Society: Grappling with a Triangular Dynamic’, published in Aarts & Cavatorta’s volume Civil Society in Syria and Iran: Activism in Authoritarian Contexts (Lynne Rienner), which has been praised by the editors (»of particular relevance is the insight being delivered by Ali Fathollah-Nejad […] on the nefarious effects of the international sanctions on Iran’s civil society. He convincingly shows that economic sanctions widen the gap between the authoritarian state and civil society, cementing and even boosting existing power configurations while hollowing out social forces indispensable to a process of democratization.«) and by former UK Ambassador to Iran (2003–6), Sir Richard Dalton (»I agree with [the] analysis and conclusions […] which is a depressing conclusion for the fate of civil society«).