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Nabil Al-Tikriti - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Nabil Al-Tikriti

Associate Professor of History & American Studies | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Al-Tikriti has firsthand experience with Middle Eastern affairs, as a researcher, humanitarian and election monitor.








Nabil Al-Tikriti doesn’t just teach about the Middle East, he experiences it.

Aboard the Bourbon Argos rescue ship in May 2015, the University of Mary Washington professor witnessed the desperation of refugees making the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Greece and Italy. As a relief worker in Somalia, he saw how famine ravaged millions in the country during the ’90s. As an official observer, he viewed the emotional 2014 presidential election in Ukraine in the aftermath of the country’s violent revolution.

An Iraqi American, Dr. Al-Tikriti has been a member of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF-Doctors Without Borders) since 1992. He’s traveled with the international humanitarian aid organization to Somalia, Iran, Albania, Turkey, Jordan and Syria, where he negotiated with community leaders, served as liaison with United Nations, nongovernmental organizations and local government personnel; dealt with personnel issues in a war zone and conducted an exploratory mission to determine potential MSF activity in Iraq. He joined an MSF team on a humanitarian mission to Syria in 2013 and served as a cultural facilitator on the organization’s ship that has rescued thousands of immigrants in the Mediterranean. Since 2011, he’s served on the MSF-USA Board of Directors.

Dr. Al-Tikriti has served as a polling station supervisor and election monitor since 1997 in Bosnia, Kosovo, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Albania for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

A faculty member at UMW since 2004, the associate professor of history and American studies was awarded a 2007 Jennings Randolph Fellowship at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., where he researched the effects on Iraqi civil society of the 2003 Anglo-American invasion. He also is recipient of a 2000 Fulbright Fellowship and a 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He has delivered conference lectures and presentations in more than a dozen countries, including a lecture on “The State of the Middle East Studies in the American Academy,” for the 5th Joint International Workshop in Tokyo, organized by Kyoto University and the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Humanitarian Affairs The Middle East History of the Ottoman Empire Modern Turkey Cultural Patrimony Iraqi Higher Education Conflict Studies

Accomplishments (10)

Al-Tikriti Chairs MSF Panel in NYC General Assembly (professional)


On June 24, 2017, in his final capacity as MSF/Doctors Without Border USA’s 2016-17 Vice President, Nabil Al-Tikriti chaired a panel which he had co-organized, titled "Navigating in a New Political Environment." The panel was aimed at NGO stakeholders and held at the annual MSF USA General Assembly in New York City, an annual gathering where MSF field staff debate pressing issues in contexts where they operate as well as elect new members to the MSF USA Board of Directors.

Faculty Research Grant (professional)


Awarded by the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT).

Research Grant (professional)


Awarded by the Georg-Eckert-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung.

Faculty Achievement Award (professional)


Awarded by the University of Mary Washington.

Jennings Randolph Fellowship (professional)


Awarded by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

Faculty Development Grant (professional)


Awarded by the University of Mary Washington.

University of Chicago Humanities Division Overseas Research Grant (professional)


Carried out dissertation-related archival research in the National Library of Malta

Dissertation Writing Grant (professional)


Awarded by Institute for Turkish Studies

Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Writing Grant (professional)


Finalist for Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Writing Grant for Ethics and Theology

Fulbright-Institute for International Education Turkey Fellowship (professional)


Examined and collected manuscript and archival materials at the Süleymaniye, Topkapı Palace, Istanbul University and Millet Library collections in Istanbul with official Turkish government research permission.

Conducted research visits to manuscript collections in Ankara, Diyarbekir, Elmalı, Erzerum, Konya, Sivas and Damascus.

Education (6)

University of Chicago: Ph.D., Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations 2004

Dissertation Title: “Şehzade Korkud (ca. 1468-1513) and the Articulation of 16th Century Ottoman Religious Identity”

University of Chicago: M.A., Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations 1996

Thesis Title: “Philology of al-Jahiz’s (d. 869) Prose Works”

Boğaziçi Üniversitesi: Certificates, Intermediate, Advanced Turkish Language & Literature 1995

American University of Cairo, Center for Arabic Studies Abroad: Advanced Certificate, Arabic Language 1991

Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs: M.I.A., Economic and Political Development, International Policy Analysis and Management 1990

Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service: B.S.F.S., Development Economics 1988

Affiliations (7)

  • MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA : Member, Board of Directors
  • American Association of University Professors : Member
  • American Civil Liberties Union : Member
  • American Historical Association : Member
  • International Studies Association : Member
  • Middle East Studies Association : Member
  • Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar : Member

Media Appearances (6)

"Up All Night radio program, BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live  radio


On Friday, April 29, UMW Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History and MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA Board Member Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke on BBC's "Up All Night" radio program on BBC Radio 5 Live about the bombing of hospitals and other health facilities in Syria and other conflict zones. In the course of his interview with BBC, Al-Tikriti addressed the difficulty of serving as a relief worker in conflict zones such as Syria, the dangers springing from multiple violations to International Humanitarian Law, and the potential breakdown of a partial ceasefire in Syria.

The interview can be accessed through Saturday, May 28, at the following link by listening to minutes 23:00-30:15: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07848m6.

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Facts Behind the Rhetoric: An In-Depth Analysis of Obama's Speech on ISIS

Uprising  online


President Obama made his case for striking the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) yesterday evening, to the American public, essentially saying he would apply the model of targeted drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia to Northern Iraq and Syria...

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BREAKING: Sunni Militants Capture Cities as Baghdad Braces for an Invasion

Uprising  online


President Obama has said he would not rule out military action against a militant group in the North of Iraq which has taken over several cities and is currently marching toward the capital Baghdad. The group, calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has a broad plan to build a pan-Islamic Sunni state encompassing Iraq and Syria...

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Al-Tikriti Participates in NGO Debate, Speaks at Stafford Rotary Club

Eagle Eye  online


In his capacity as a board member of the United States section of MSF/Doctors Without Borders, Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history and American studies, participated in the annual Field Associative Debate (FAD) for MSF staff serving throughout Afghanistan, in Kabul on March 10 – 11...

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Local professor caught up in Turkey tensions

The Free Lance-Star  print


As the world watched an attempted coup unfold in Turkey last Friday, University of Mary Washington history professor Nabil Al-Tikriti watched with them—but he had more at stake than most.

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Fauquier schools consider Turkish language courses

FauquierNow.com  online


University of Mary Washington Associate Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti, whose children took the STARTALK program in Fauquier last summer, suggested a high school course would benefit students.

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Event Appearances (4)

Forced Migration

Field Associative Debate for MSF/Doctors Without Borders  Athens, Greece


The Iraq Crisis Today

National Security Lecture Series  Fredericksburg, Virginia


Living (with)out Walls: The Korean, Palestinian, Mexican Experience

25th Anniversary Fall of the Berlin Wall Event  Fredericksburg, Virginia


Greatness Denied: Firdevsi-yi Rumi on the Cusp of Ottoman Sunnism

Middle East Studies Association Conference  Washington, D.C.


Articles (9)

Al-Tikriti Co-Publishes Chapter in "The First World War and its Aftermath: The Making of the Modern Middle East." Gingko Library, London


2014 UMW graduate Laila McQuade and Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti co-authored the 15th chapter of this volume, titled "The Limits of Soft Power: Why Kurdish Nationalism Failed in the French Mandate of Syria."

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Ties that Bind: An Ottoman Maritime Patron from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean International Association of Maritime Studies, Piri Reis University, Denizler Kitabevi, and Kaptan Yayincilik


Following a brief commentary on the framing of ‘The Age of Exploration’ in U.S. Western Civilization textbooks, and a summary of the International Relations lineup in the early 16th century, I look at one particular Ottoman maritime patron who appears to have played a noticeable role in the Ottoman ‘pivot’ from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean just after the turn of the 16th century.

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There Go the Neighbourhoods: Policy Effects vis-à-vis Iraqi Forced Migration Dispossession and Displacement: Forced Migration in the Middle East and Africa, ed. Dawn Chatty and Bill Finlayson


Commentators frequently affirm that sectarian violence in Iraq springs from age-old ethnic
tensions which long pre-date American involvement in the region. While the relevant
sectarian identities do date back several centuries, sectarian violence has not persisted as ...

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Negligent mnemocide and the shattering of Iraqi collective memory Cultural Cleansing in Iraq


Years ago, while roaming the stacks of one of the world’s truly great research libraries,
an epiphany bubbled to the surface of my substance-enlivened consciousness...

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War, State Collapse and the Predicament of Education in Iraq Education and the Arab World: Political Projects, Struggles, and Geometries of Power, World Yearbook of Education 2010


Egyptians write, Lebanese publish, Iraqis read. – Arab saying
The venerable saying above has come to apply less in recent years, at least as far as Iraq is concerned.

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Was there an Iraq before there was an Iraq? International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies


It is frequently stated that Iraq did not exist until the British Empire created it in the wake of
the Great War. In the sense of a discrete nation-state entity with its current borders, this
statement is accurate. However, in the wider sense of the term Iraq, observers of ...

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U.S. Policy and the Creation of a Sectarian Iraq Iraq’s Refugee and IDP Crisis: Human Toll and Implications, Viewpoints Special Edition, Washington


Not so long ago, the plains north of Mosul were home to a wide mix of ethnic groups living in neighboring villages. But drive through today and you will get an idea of how Iraq's ethno-sectarian map has been redrawn in the last five years.

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"Stuff Happens": A Brief Overview of the 2003 Destruction of Iraqi Manuscript Collections, Archives, and Libraries Library Things


On March 20, 2003, military forces of the United States, United Kingdom and
Australia invaded Iraq. In the course of this invasion and subsequent occupation, Iraq's
cultural infrastructure suffered a great deal of destruction. While international attention has...

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From Show Case to Basket Case Education in Iraq ISIM Review


Iraq's academic professionals continue to face an uphill struggle to maintain standards
following years of sanctions and months of social chaos. Although some may remain
optimistic about a future free of centralized ministerial oversight and autocratic ...

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