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TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) will welcome Ms Nur Laiq as its Global South-Mellon Visiting Professor 2019-2020.
Nur Laiq is a public policy practitioner. She has sought to investigate the combustible power of identity and politics, based on her ground experience in the political and policy arena. Her research aims at bridging the gap between academia and policy.
Ms Laiq has worked on policy with political parties in India and Britain, as well as in the Policy Planning Unit of the UN Department of Political Affairs Policy in New York, with a particular focus on sustaining peace – the idea that nations need to continuously invest in the fundamentals of inclusion and equality to keep war at bay. She also served on the UN Advisory Group on Youth, Peace and Security, appointed by the UN Secretary-General.
Ms Laiq has been a senior policy analyst at the International Peace Institute in New York, a stagiaire at the European Commission DG External Relations in Brussels, and holds a visiting fellowship at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. She has an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St Antony’s College, Oxford, which included studying Arabic in Damascus and Persian in Tehran.
Her publications include Talking to Arab Youth: Revolution and Counterrevolution in Egypt and Tunisia (New York: International Peace Institute, 2013), based on fieldwork with social movements and political parties across the entire ideological spectrum in Egypt and Tunisia following the 2011 uprisings. She is co-editor of The Search for Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), which aims to offer policymakers a toolbox of options for negotiations, based on documentary history and interviews conducted with Arab, Israeli and American stakeholders. Ms Laiq has been a member of the United Nations advisory group for The Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study on Youth and Peace and Security (New York: United Nations, 2018) and the Center for American Progress task force for The United States and India: Forging an Indispensable Democratic Partnership (Washington, DC: Centre for American Progress, 2018).
Drawing on her experiences, Ms Laiq is working on a book project on the new varieties of liberal responses to new strands of populism and the politics of identity. She seeks to explore the flammable properties of grievance, aspiration and insecurity and the power of narratives in these situations, based on her work on the ground. She sifts through the changing discourse around inequality and identity as the idea of civic nationalism faces grave challenges in both the Global North and South. Her study of shifting political assumptions and practices necessarily takes an interdisciplinary approach.
TORCH welcomes Ms Laiq's knowledge and expertise, which will provide a timely contribution to ongoing work to bring together researchers and policymakers interested in the future of identity, and consequently the future of democracy, peace and security. This is a theme explored in the TORCH headline series ‘Humanities and Identities’.
Ms Laiq said: ‘I am pleased to be joining TORCH and working with Professor Rana Mitter, the History Faculty and the Blavatnik School of Government. I look forward to engaging with students and academics on the navigation of identity and politics in contemporary politics, which is a work in progress. I am excited to be part of a forum for the exchange of ideas between policy experts, politicians, and the Oxford academic community.'
Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University, said: ‘I am delighted to be Ms Laiq’s academic host during her permanence in Oxford. We are working on an exciting schedule of events to allow Nur to engage with students and academics from the University. Discussions on populist politics and the Indian elections, as well as graduate workshops on policy, will feature in it.’
Nur Laiq is based in TORCH from Trinity Term 2019 through 2020.
The TORCH Global South Visiting Professorships Programme is designed to bring world-leading figures to the University of Oxford for at least one term and be included in the teaching and research environment, hosted by leading academics in the humanities. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Programme is a collaboration between the Faculties of the Humanities Division and Colleges of the University of Oxford.