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Samer Shehata Receives International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations

June 16, 2021

Samer Shehata Receives International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations

Samer Shehata, a faculty member in the David L. Boren College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, has received the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars from the Council on Foreign Relations. The prestigious award facilitates practical experience in the foreign policy-making field, providing a 12-month placement at a U.S. federal government agency, in Congress, or with an international organization.

“A CFR fellowship will allow me to make progress on a book project examining the regional dimensions of authoritarianism in the Middle East,” Shehata said. “The project approaches authoritarianism as a transnational phenomenon.”

"I hope to analyze how autocratic regimes in the Middle East cooperate and learn from one another and how regional organizations often function to help these regimes maintain power, often with little regard for democracy, human rights or the rule of law,” he added. “The CFR fellowship will also allow me to observe U.S. foreign policy toward the region, not at the level of presidential statements or official policies, but at the micro-level from within the U.S. government.” 

The aim of the fellowship is described as helping close the gap between research and practice on peace and security topics as well as enriching the teaching and scholarship of tenured academics. The program also benefits policymakers by exposing them to critical scholarly research relevant to the foreign policy and national security issues facing the United States and the world.

“Professor Shehata’s work with the Council on Foreign Relations is a concrete expression of the mission of the College of International Studies to foster global fluency, meaning an ability to interpret the world in ways that facilitate more effective action in it,” said Scott Fritzen, dean of the College of International Studies. “Our colleagues are excited for him and his important research, and also for his students, whom we know will also benefit from his experiences.”

Shehata is the Colin Mackey and Patricia Molina de Mackey Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and the Middle East Studies program coordinator for the Department of International and Area Studies in the College of International Studies.