NIMEP Research Trip to Jordan

During the 2013-2014 academic year, NIMEP's delegation will be traveling to Jordan to conduct on the ground research on Jordanian domestic politics. Learn about our projects below:

Conner Maher, Mentor
Conner is pursuing an MDesS degree with a concentration in Risk and Resilience at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and is simultaneously a candidate at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, focusing on Post-Conflict Development and International Security. His research focuses on mitigating conflict in the built environment by developing anticipatory strategies to ease the pressures of mass-migration and rapid growth. Enlisting in the United States Air Force prior to September 11, 2001, Maher ultimately deployed and secured air bases in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and twice in Iraq. Exposure to the Middle Eastern culture led him to major in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Washington, with a semester spent studying in Egypt and one in Morocco. Working in the United States Marshal Service, Prisoner Operations Division, and various aspects of physical security created a desire to address the structural deficiencies in the urban environment that lend themselves to conflict. Over the summer, Maher worked as an urban planner for Rawabi, a new city under construction in the West Bank.

Leah Muskin-Pierret '16, Trip Leader: Gender Mainstreaming To Prevent Gender-Based Violence against Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Leah aims to assess the current landscape of sexual violence related preventative programming and survivor resources for Syrian refugees in Jordan, providing a breakdown of policy suggestions for NGOs and government. She will address two unique major groups of Syrian refugees: those in Za’atari camp under the auspices of UN agencies as well as those outside of the camps, who exist much farther from UN resources and care. For this project, interviews will be conducted with professional practitioners, mostly NGO officials and government workers, as well as observers, primarily media outlets, to asses potential issues including existing norms, navigating cultural difference, and addressing prevention.

Elizabeth Robinson '15, Trip Coordinator:  Official Management of Za'atari's Informal Economy

An informal economy has recently emerged in the Za'atari refugee camp, though it has been almost entirely ignored by aid agencies. Nevertheless, this economy is now a major force in many refugees' lives and affects important power dynamics within the camp. Elizabeth will examine how the UN, NGOs, and the Jordanian government are addressing the informal economy in camp, focusing on what these officials know and think about this economy. This research will present only one side of the issue--that of the officials who are involved in camp management. However, Elizabeth hopes to emphasize how the refugee crisis is managed, where gaps in knowledge exist, what is being ignored, and where improvements could be made.

Yasmin Badr '16: Jordan's Stability

As Jordan has been able to maintain stability and order while the remainder of the Middle East is grappling with revolution and turmoil, Yasmin seeks to explore the economic and political measures taken by the Jordanian government to maintain peace. Yasmin also seeks to research how the Syrian and Egyptian models influenced the Jordanian public image of revolution and its associations, as well as the decline in the followings of the organized groups who initiated the protests. 

Safiya Subegdjo '15: Beyond Food, Shelter and Water: Assessing the Stability of Jordanian Refugee Health Services

Safiya will analyze the role that international humanitarian organizations play in regards to Syrian refugee health services in Jordan. Through interviews with NGO officials, Jordanian health care providers, and local people, she will assess the dynamic between foreign humanitarian organizations within the country and the Jordanian health system. Safiya hopes to determine whether outside intervention has an impact on domestic health resources.

Ananda Paez '16: Conflicting Perceptions: An Examination of the Perception Held by Jordanians of their Country

Ananda’s research seeks to assess the perspectives that Jordanians have of Jordan without a Western media bias. She will examine if there is a perceived gap between the ways Jordan is portrayed in the international and domestic spheres. Her project will investigate the potential causes for this gap while maintaining an understanding of ground-level perspectives in Jordan.

Hannah Freedman '17: Vulnerability of Refugee Populations: Public Health Disparities in Water Access

Hannah will study the water-related tensions in Jordan and how they intersect with public health and shifting populations due to refugee crises. Although regional hydropolitics have been settled through diplomatic means, recent surges of refugees into Jordan – especially those from Iraq and Syria – lead to rising tensions. Water shortages in refugee populations with temporary infrastructure often create public health concerns, and can weaken the stability of these volatile environments.

Elayne Stecher '14: An Analysis of Iraqi Election Results 2005-Present and the Implications of these Results for Iraq, the Region, and the United States

Since beginning research on the Iraqi election process and outcomes post-2005 since 2011, Elayne’s investigation has expanded to include more information about public opinion on these elections, as well as the government at large. Since the volatility in Iraq does not provide a secure environment for research, she hopes to interview the large Iraqi community in Amman, Jordan about the political climate of their nation. As Iraqi elections do not require voters to submit census data, information on voters is largely lacking. Thus, the most efficient way to conduct methodological research is to talk to those most familiar with the situation. She will synthesize her raw data and document her research with a more realistic understanding of Iraqi life, enabling her to predict the outcomes of the 2014 Iraqi elections more effictively.