Political Research Associates is pleased to welcome Zeina Zaatari, PhD as Research Director. Zeina brings exceptional skills as a researcher, analyst, and strategist. “Her strong background in human rights and experience with social justice movements will strengthen PRA’s program as we confront surging racism, nationalism, and misogyny in the U.S. and abroad,” Executive Director Tarso Luís Ramos stated. “With Zeina’s hire, we also honor and extend the social justice legacy of our founder, the late Jean Hardisty”.
Zeina earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Feminist Theory from the University of California at Davis. She has taught courses on women of the Arab and Muslim worlds, on gender and sexuality as well as religion and society, and provided junior faculty from Arab states training in research design, implementation, and analysis of transformative gender research. Her work sits at the intersections of research, movement building, and activism.
“My political consciousness has been shaped by experiences of resistance to and disruption of oppressive structures of the Right in the U.S. and its reverberations globally,” Zeina said. “And by the co-creation strategies of alternative futures of social justice movements through my experiences growing up under war and occupation in Lebanon and being a woman of color and an activist in the U.S.,” she added.
Immediately prior to joining PRA, Zeina served as a consultant and interpreter for the Women’s Refugee Commission, and Associate Editor, Middle East and Africa, for the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (EWIC). She is a former Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Global Fund for Women.
Her recent publications include, “Social Movements and Revolution” in A Companion to the Anthropology of the Middle East, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, and “In the Belly of the Beast: Struggling for Nonviolent Belonging” in Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Zeina is a founding member of the Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa and a former founder and member of Sunbula: Arab Feminists for Change in San Francisco. She currently serves as a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, and on the International Advisory Board of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. She is relocating from California.