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Grants and Fellowships

"Gender and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa: A Decade after the Arab Uprisings." Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), Sweden (with Ellen Lust and Lena Wängnerud, University of Gothenburg), 446,000 SEK (approx. 50,400 USD). 2020-2021.

The momentous upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since 2011 have substantial implications for gender politics. The aim of this grant is to convene a collaborative workshop to examine gender and politics across regimes and cultural contexts of the MENA, in comparison with other regions. The workshop will be led by researchers at the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD), the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg, and the Working Group on Gender and Politics in the MENA. It will bring together 43 international, interdisciplinary scholars to discuss cutting-edge research. The organizers will review revised papers, prepare them for publication as working papers, and as a special issue in an international, peer-reviewed journal. Results will also be discussed in the GLD podcast series, Governance Uncovered.


"Local Governance under Decentralization in Oman and the Arab region." Carnegie Corporation of New York, (with Ellen Lust and Kristen Kao, University of Gothenburg), $350,000. 2019-2021.

This project seeks to make three main contributions to the study of decentralization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). First, it aims to promote policy-relevant, scholarly research on decentralization, and pave the way for further cross-national studies and analyses on the topic. Second, it will inform stakeholders in the Sultanate of Oman, focusing on how differences in community governance structures -- that is, the extent to which citizens turn to state institutions for services versus non-state actors or different individuals (e.g., men vs. women, diverse ethnic and religious groups) participate in decision processes -- affect challenges in decentralization. Third, it aims to strengthen and expand networks of scholars and other stakeholders from across the MENA, the United States (US) and Europe concerned with decentralization.

“Toward Establishing Pluralistic Political Systems in MENA.” Carnegie Corporation of New York, Lead Principal Investigator (PI), 

$600,000. 2016-2018. 

Co-PIs: Kristian Ulrichsen and Kadir Yildrim (Rice University)


I was awarded a two-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to conduct a cross-national study on establishing pluralistic political systems in the MENA region in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings. The grant funded extensive data-collection (expert surveys, public opinion surveys and experiments) and research projects to produce concrete, data-driven policy recommendations toward resolving some of the most imminent policy crises confronting transitioning as well as conflict-ridden countries. Another objective of the project was to build sustainable bridges between MENA and U.S.-based scholars through working on collaborative projects and hosting public events in different parts of the region and the U.S.

Flyer for the Inaugural Event

Video Link

“The international Conference on Women’s Political Participation and Leadership in the Developing World.” Principal Investigator (PI), $35,000. 2016.

Co-PIs: Rahma AbdulKadir and J. Andrew Harris, Social Sciences, NYUAD

I received an award from the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute to hold a conference on women’s political participation and leadership in the developing world. The conference brought together regional and international scholars across disciplinary backgrounds to investigate the dynamics of women's political participation at the local, national and regional levels. The conference provided a platform for scholars to present cutting-edge research on women and politics, drawn from diverse research methodologies and data sources. It was also a unique opportunity to address key issues currently impacting females' political leadership opportunities across different developing contexts, to network and receive feedback, and to explore innovative ways to increase the policy impact of our work.


Call for Papers

Conference Agenda

“Tolerance in Post-revolutionary Egypt: Experimental Evidence.” Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance. Small Research Grant Award, Principal Investigator, $5,000. 2015-2016.

Rice University’s Boniuk Institute provided me funding to conduct a survey experiment on drivers of tolerance in Egypt. The Egyptian case is an important one for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, Egypt has witnessed rapidly declining levels of tolerance since the onset of the Arab Spring, leading to massive waves of violence and ideological and societal divisions. Thus, one of the most pressing questions proposed in the study is whether reconciliation is possible and under what circumstances. Indeed, if any sort of functional democracy and effective political system are to come about in Egypt, a degree of societal reconciliation with the past and between the different political and ideological factions should precede.

Call for Proposal

“A Study on the Intersection of Gender and Public Policy in the Middle East.” Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy (AUB) and Carnegie Corporation of New York, $7,500. 2014-2015.

I was awarded a research grant from the Issam Fares Institute to work on a project exploring the role played by Arab policy research institutes (PRIs) and think tanks in promoting gender equality across the MENA region. The study explored the role of existing PRIs and civil society organizations in advancing women’s rights in the region — with a special focus on women’s socio-political rights. I conducted extensive fieldwork and qualitative interviews with civil society organizations and gender-focused research institutes to better understand the obstacles facing these organizations, especially post-Arab Spring, as they seek to introduce gender-related policy reforms, build capacity, and communicate with policy- and decision-makers across the region.


Call for Papers

Summary Finding Report

The Endowment on the Status of Women’s Rights in the Middle East, Rice University. $3,100,000.

Since joining Rice University in 2013, my work has been supported by the Endowment on the Status of Women’s Rights in the Middle East. The endowment provided funding for the Governance and Elections in the Middle East Project (GEMEP) research team as well as my fieldwork in the region. Multiple research conferences and events focusing on women’s rights in the MENA region were supported by the endowment.

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Alexandria, Egypt, summer 2015

© 2020 Marwa Shalaby

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