Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani

Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani is one of the most influential players in the Arab media world. After working in several positions in Qatar’s Ministry of Information and Culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the young, new leaders of the country decided to abolish this ministry and think globally. Sheikh Hamad was tasked with founding the project that eventually produced Al Jazeera in November 1996. He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Al Jazeera Satellite Channel that year. Ten years later, in the prelude to the launch of Al Jazeera English in 2006, the company renamed itself to be Al Jazeera Media Network. Today his purview encompasses all of the channels under the Al Jazeera umbrella, in addition to the leadership of the Qatar Media Corporation.  Sheikh Hamad holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Qatar University (1987).

Khalid Al-Mishri

President of the High Council of State in Libya, since his election on April 4,2018, he announced that he would begin communication with the House of Representatives, expressing his willingness to meet with the head of the parliament in Tobruk or any city in or out of Libya to address political obstacles. He has convened several meetings with the goal of ending political polarization and encouraging the role of various state institutions. Al-Mishri has focused on ending the political stalemate and the economic crisis and urged the National Accord Government, the Libyan National Bank, and the Comptroller’s Office to initiate urgent economic reforms to end the cost-of-living crisis for Libyan citizens. He was a party to the Paris Declaration and the Palermo Conference and has called on several local and international parties to show more flexibility to end political divisions in the country.

Mehmet Mehdi Eker

Former Deputy Chairman of AK Party. He is the former Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock in Turkey, and a former deputy to the Council of Europe. Prior to his current post, Dr. Eker served in several positions in the AK Party, including Deputy Chairman for Foreign Affairs and Vice Deputy Chairman for Economic Affairs. He has been elected as a deputy representing Diyarbakir and Istanbul. He graduated from University of Ankara as a veterinary surgeon. He continued his studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland on agricultural economics, as well as a Masters program on Pilotage at the University of Turkey’s Aeronautical Association in the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He holds a PhD from the University of Ankara. In 2011 he was awarded the “Terra Mariana Honor Title” by the president of Estonia, and in 2012,  he was awarded the “Chevalier dans L’Ordre du Merite Agricole” by the French government due to his efforts in the fight against global famine. During his tenure as minister, he wrote two books on agriculture. He is fluent in English, Arabic and Kurdish. Dr. Eker is married with three children.

Abdul Aziz Al Ishaq

Founder and Executive Director of Flash Media & Events Group in Qatar. Previously worked as a chief of staff to the Minister of Culture in Qatar, and helped establish several media outlets and civil society projects in Qatar. Managed the outreach department of the Doha Center for Media Freedom, and worked as a broadcast journalist in several radio and TV stations in Qatar. Has a regular column in the Qatari daily Al-Sharq.

Ali Al-Dahab

A Yemeni researcher focused on Yemeni strategic affairs, he is currently preparing his doctoral thesis on naval security strategy in the West Indian Ocean. He received his MA in naval security from the Arab Academic for Sciences, Technology, and Naval Transport in Alexandria. He has participated in numerous conferences and seminars in Yemen and Egypt and has published several papers on military, security, and political issues.

Andrei Frolov

Currently editor-in-chief of the Russian biweekly Arms Export magazine, he was a researcher at the Russian Center for Policy Studies in 2003–2004 and an editor for its digital publications, as well as an editor for the journal Nuclear Control. In 2004, he became the coordinator of the project on the transformation of the export-control system in Russia from 1999 to 2003.

Barbara Trionfi

She is the executive director of the Vienna-based International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives, and journalists dedicated to protecting and strengthening media freedom and promoting high-quality independent journalism. With an academic background in international relations and human rights, Trionfi has taught courses at Webster University in Vienna in media ethics, media literacy, and cultural diversity and the media. Her research interests cover areas related to press freedom and freedom of expression, including self-regulatory media accountability systems, the protection of journalists, and international mechanisms to protect press freedom.

Benedikt Franke

He is the chief operating officer of the Munich Security Conference, responsible for daily operations and the strategic development of the organization’s designs and activities. Before joining Munich Security, he served as a senior strategic advisor for the German Christian Social Union Party and was a member of the party’s campaign team in the local, state, and federal elections of 2013, which the party won. Franke also served as a special assistant to Nobel peace laureate and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Ferhat Ünlü

He started his career in journalism at the Beni Shafaq newspaper in 1995. He worked at the weekly Watan from 2005 to 2007, and in 2007 he began working as an editor on investigative stories at al-Sabah. Unlu has produced and presented programs on the Turkish TGRT Haber and has appeared as a analyst on A Haber and Habertürk. He has published five novels and three non-fiction books. He is a contributing author to Diplomatic Atrocities: The Dark Secrets of Khashoggi’s Murder (2018) on the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Hani Basoos

An assistant professor at the College of Economics and Political Science at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, he received his doctorate in international relations and security studies from the University of Bradford in the UK. He was a visiting professor at George Washington University in the US and a fellow at Syracuse University in New York. He has published research on the Arab revolutions and political change in the Middle East, Gulf security, the Syrian conflict, and extremist Jewish thought.

Hashem Hasan al-Tamimi

He has been the dean of the Faculty of Media at Baghdad University since 2011 and the general supervisor of al-Bahith al-Ilami magazine. He received his doctorate in media from Baghdad University in 1996. He has written several books and articles on journalism and media, psychological war and propaganda, counterterrorism, mass communication, academic research methodology, and the unleashing of freedoms before and after the 2003 war. He has also consulted on issues relevant to development, reform, anti-corruption efforts, and terrorism.

Jessikka Aro

She is a journalist for a Finnish public broadcasting project, YLE Kioski, part of a social media project. She focuses on issues related to Russia, extremism, and information warfare. In 2014, Aro was the target of an online harassment campaign after publishing an exclusive report about online trolls loyal to the Kremlin. She is currently writing a book about the Kremlin-led information war. She also trains journalists and the general public about confronting and combatting fake news online and is involved in lobbying for stricter laws to combat targeted harassment campaigns and protect citizens from state-financed online threats.

Khaled Al Rammah

He is a researcher the Sheba Center for Strategic Studies in Sanaa and holds a doctorate in political science from Suez University in Egypt (2016). He has worked with several think tanks in Yemen and has published on issues of political conflict, democratic transition, and transitional justice in Yemen.

Mahmoud Jaraba

Fellow and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and a visiting lecturer and researcher at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. Dr. Jaraba has worked with several research institutes, including the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research. He holds a PhD in Middle East Studies from Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (2013). Jaraba publishes analyses and research regularly with the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research interests include the Middle East, Arab-Israeli conflict, Muslim minorities, Salafists and extremism amongst Muslim youth.

Majed Al Ansari

Is the manager of the policy department at the the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI). He received his PhD and master’s degree in social change from the University of Manchester, and wrote a thesis entitled, “A Minority of Citizens: The Effects of Religious, Social and Political Values on Trust in Expatriates in Qatar”. Al Ansari previously served at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various civil society institutions. His research interests include public opinion surveys, social capital, political and religious values, charity work and current affairs. He has contributed extensively as a political analyst on different media outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC Arabic, Russia Today, Al Araby TV and Qatar TV. In addition, Al Ansari writes weekly column for the Qatari daily, Al Sharq.


An expert on oil, he is a visiting professor on economics, petroleum, and energy at ESCP Europe in London. He received his doctorate in economics from Pacific Western University. He has been commissioned by the Indian and Jordanian governments as well as OPEC to prepare oil and energy studies and has written four books on oil economics, including Causes of the Sharp Decline in Crude Oil Prices: Glut or Policy? and For a Barrel of Oil.

Masūd Asad Illāhī

He is a researcher and expert on Arab-Iranian relations, a member of the Iranian delegation to the Astana talks on Syria, and a former spokesman for the International Conference on Youth and Islamic Awakening. He received his doctorate in political science from the Imam al-Sadeq University in Tehran. He has published several books in Persian and Arabic, including Islamists in a Pluralist Society: Hezbollah in Iran and Guardianship of the Jurisprudent and Democracy.

Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti

A researcher focused on Islamic thought, religious reform, and sects in Muslim communities, he is a professor of political ethics and the history of religions at the Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics at the Qatar College of Islamic Studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University. He received his doctorate in the history of religions from the University of Texas in the US with a dissertation titled “The Impact of the Crusades on Sunni-Shia Relations.” His writings have been translated into several languages, including Turkish, Albanian, Bosnian, and Persian. Dr. al-Shanqiti is a frequent guest on Al Jazeera and a regular contributor to Al Jazeera online, having published hundreds of articles in Arabic and English.

Mohammed Cherkaoui

He is a senior researcher at the Al Jazeera Center for Studies and a former professor of international conflict resolution at George Mason University in Washington DC. He was part of a UN experts committee in New York. He has received several distinctions, including the John Burton Prize in 2008 and the James Laue Award in 2009. He is also a fellow at the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution and a member of the advisory academic committee of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Washington D.C. He is the author of What Is Enlightenment? Continuity or Rupture in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings (2016), Civilians and Modern War: Armed Conflict and the Ideology of Violence (2012), and The Palestinian Media at the Crossroads: Challenges and Expectations (2011).

Mohanna Al-hubail

Writer, researcher, and director of the Office of Islamic East Studies in Turkey, he is interested in ideological transformations, the human renaissance and its Islamic values, and professional awareness in political analysis, particularly of the Gulf and Arab Levant. His research deals with issues of Arab rights awareness, the Islamic renaissance, strategic issues in the Arab Gulf, and regional-international conflict issues, particularly in the Gulf.

Murat Yeşiltaş

He is a lecturer at the Middle East Institute at Sakarya University in Turkey and the director of the Security Studies Department at the Center for Political, Economic, and Social Studies. He received his doctorate in political science and international relations from Marmara University in 2012 with a dissertation titled “Defining Turkey’s Position: The Geopolitical Mentality and the Army in Turkey.” He was a visiting professor in the European Studies and International Politics Department at Lancaster University in the UK in 2008–2009 and he was a non-resident researcher at the Institute of Government and International Relations at Virginia Tech in the US in 2010–2011.

Nasser Al-Duwailah

A lawyer and former member of the Kuwaiti parliament, he began his career as an armory officer in the Kuwaiti army before becoming an advisor to the minister of defense. He managed a strategic studies center after his retirement. He has written several books, including Introducing a Combat Doctrine to the Kuwaiti Army, The Knight’s Response, and Dream of the Stolen Destiny about the social roots of the Iraqi invasion.

Omar Ayasra

He is a researcher in religious sociology, political transformations in the region, legitimacy and governance, policy building, and political Islam. He writes for the Jordanian al-Sabil and presents television and radio programs in Jordan.

Pieter D. Wezeman

A senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, he previously worked as a senior analyst in the Dutch Defense Ministry. His research interests include global conventional arms proliferation, military expenditure, and arms purchasing contracts. He has published numerous studies on arms issues, especially relating to developments in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.

Rory Miller

A professor at Georgetown University in Qatar, Miller was previously a professor in the War Studies Department at King’s College London, where he received his doctorate in the same field. He was also the director of the college’s Middle East Studies Center. He is a contributing editor to the Macmillan series on the political economy of the Middle East and the Cambridge series on intelligence and national security in the Middle East and Africa. His research focuses on the contemporary history of the Middle East, small states and non-state actors in the international order, and political and economic development in regional alliances such as the EU, GCC, and ASEAN. He has published numerous books, among them Desert Kingdoms to Global Powers: The Rise of the Arab Gulf.

Salah Negm

Director of News for Al Jazeera English since 2009. Studied mass communication at Cairo University and Florida State University and launched his journalism career as a news presenter for Radio Cairo in the early 1980s. He worked his way from a producer for the Arabic service of Radio Netherlands Worldwide to Editor of Current Affairs. In 1996, Salah became the first Chief Editor of the fledgling Al Jazeera in Doha. In 2002, Salah joined the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) group of news and entertainment channels in Dubai, and launched Al-Arabiya as a 24/7 news channel in 2003. In March 2006, he left his post as General Manager of MBC to re-join BBC World Service in London, where he re-launched BBC Arabic TV.

Sami Al Faraj

He is an expert on conflict management and strategic planning who has worked as an independent advisor for the Kuwaiti government since the occupation of Kuwait on September 2, 1990. He has consulted for the Kuwaiti government on numerous crises affecting the country, from the Iraq war to today’s Gulf crisis. He was educated at the Kuwaiti Military College, Kuwait University, Cambridge and Oxford, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Since 1998, he has headed the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies, an independent research center that focuses on strategic issues in the Gulf. He was the author of Kuwait’s current strategic vision document, The New Kuwait.


He is a professor of English literature and Orientalist studies and the head of the American Studies Department at the University of Tehran.

Simon Spanswick

He is the executive director of the Association for International Broadcasting, an international non-governmental, non-profit association based in the UK with member broadcasters from around the world. The AIB’s activities cover fields such as management, cybersecurity, audience research, and sustainability. Currently the association is focusing on media freedom, working to unite its members’ efforts behind a push to raise awareness of the vital importance of media freedom in civil societies. Spanswick has extensive experience in public and commercial broadcasting and made early contributions to the development of digital broadcasting.


A professor of international relations and an associate dean for Academic Affairs and Research in the College Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar, he was previously an associate dean and the head of the Department of International Affairs at Qatar University. He received his doctorate in international relations from the University of Durham, UK. His research focuses on the political relations and economy of the Arab Gulf states, energy geopolitics, and US policy on the Gulf.

Talal Atrissi

He is a professor of sociology at the Lebanese University, a scientific and academic advisor at Maaref University, and a lecturing professor at the Lebanese Armed Forces’ Command and Staff College. He is the former director of the Center for Strategic Studies, Research, and Documentation in Beirut and a former dean at the Lebanese University’s High Doctoral Institute. He received his doctorate in sociology from the Sorbonne. His publications include A State without Men: The Debate on Sovereignty and Reform in the Middle East, The Difficult Republic: Iran’s Internal Transformation and Its Regional Policies, and Between Two Awakenings: Political Islam in a Changing Middle East.

Walid Al-Zubeidi

He is an Iraqi researcher and a contributor to several Arab websites and newspapers. He has taken party in many conferences and seminars on Iraqi and Arab affairs. He is a member of the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate, the Federation of Arab Journalists, and the Federation of Iraqi Authors and Writers. His works include Baghdad Wall: Diary of a Witness to the Invasion of Iraq, The Volcano: The Story of the Eruption of the Iraqi Resistance, and The Iraqi Resistance and America.