Management & Fellows

CEO and Chief Analyst – Arif Ansar

Arif AnsarArif has over 18 years of consulting experience with various branches of the US government, including USAID, the Department of State, US Geological Survey, and the Department of Defense. His cross industry experience includes Defense-Security, International Development, and Information Technology sectors. Arif has worked as a Senior South Asia Analyst with Boeing, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Northrop Grumman, and Academy for Educational Development (AED).

From 1999-2000, he was involved with the Water Rights sub-committee of the Middle East Peace Process (Israel, Jordan, Palestine) and supported the US Government initiative in developing a regional educational curriculum for the region, premised on water and environmental conservation. From 1995 to 2000, Arif worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation consultant at the Center for Development Information and Evaluation (CDIE), under Policy and Program coordination Bureau (PPC) of the United States Agency for International Development. In 1998 Arif was involved in assisting the Chief of the Office of Economic and Strategic Planning (OESP) at UNDP in developing a strategy for implementing information and technology initiatives in Latin America (Brazil and Venezuela). From 1996 to 1997, Arif worked on Leland Initiative of the US Congress, implementing projects in Africa (Ethiopia and Eritrea) that dealt with the effective use of information and communication technologies.

Arif has a BA (Political Science and International Relations) and MPA (Policy Analysis) degree from the University of Toledo. He also has an Executive Certificate in Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation from the University of Maryland, University College.

Director, Strategic Initiatives – Dr Claude Rakisits

27-03-2014_Dr Claude

Dr Claude Rakisits has had almost 20 years of experience in advising senior government and political leaders in strategic defense, foreign affairs, and trade issues. From 1999 to 2005, he served as a Senior Adviser to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, and to the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. He was also the Director at the Strategic Policy Division of the Australian Department of Defense. 

In 2006-2009 he taught international affairs at tertiary institutions in Switzerland. From 2010-2013 he was the academic adviser at the Centre for Strategic and Defense Studies, the senior staff college at the Australian Defense College in Canberra. He was also a member of the Office of National Assessments, Australia’s principal analytical intelligence agency. 

Claude is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the South Asia Center of Atlantic Council, Washington DC, and an Honorary Associate Professor in Strategic Studies at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Claude obtained his PhD from the University of Queensland in 1988. His doctoral thesis was on national integration in Pakistan: the role of religion, ethnicity and the external environment. His publications and media interviews can be viewed on his homepage:

Senior South Asia Fellow – Dr Syed Mohammad Ali

Syed Mohammad Ali is an academic and research consultant based in Washington D.C. He teaches international affairs and anthroplogy courses at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and George Washington universities, and he is a Non Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute. Dr. Ali also writes a weekly column for Express Tribune, an affiliate of the New York Times in Pakistan.

South Asia Fellow – Naad-E-Ali Sulehria

Naad-E-Ali Sulehria has over five years of involvement with various international organizations and think tanks, working as a political researcher, policy advisor, peace strategist, and human rights practitioner. His interest and experience include human and national security, democratization, conflict resolution, and political culture.

Sulehria also serves as a Research Assistant to Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum, Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies at The Middle East Institute (MEI). Prior to joining MEI, Sulehria worked with Media Foundation 360, a think tank dedicated to strengthening democratic practices in Pakistan.

Previously, he worked with The Multinational Development Policy Dialogue of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – and was also connected to Open European Dialogue of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He is a former fellow at the Hansen Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation at the University of San Diego, where he received hands-on training in diplomacy, mediation, and conflict resolution.

Sulehria holds a Master of Science in International Relations: Global Governance and Social theory from the University of Bremen, as well as a graduate training certification in Multilateralism from the United Nations Office at Geneva.

South Asia and Middle East Fellow – Dr. Abdullah Khurram

12-11-2014_Abdullah KhurramAbdullah Khurram is a South Asia and Middle East Fellow (SAME Fellow) at PoliTact and a Visiting Research Fellow at Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin, Germany.

Previously, he was based at the Committee on International Relations, University of Chicago. Khurram also serves as a strategic consultant for Gulf State Analytics and was formerly a Research Associate at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. Earlier, he was affiliated with the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan and Economic Policy Research Institute, Cape Town, South Africa.

Khurram’s post-graduate research at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna, Italy focused on Conflict Resolution, and his alma mater involves The University of Chicago and George Mason University. He has a PhD in International, Political, and Strategic Studies from The Australian National University.

He is also the co-founder of Mashal Foundation, a Pakistan-based education NGO. For his services in the field of education, Khurram was presented a National Award from the Government of Pakistan.

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