Yasir Zaidan, a third-year Jackson School doctoral candidate in international studies, was selected in April 2022 as the recipient of a 2022 Social Science Research Council Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship for his project in the Red Sea region, “Contested Ports.” Zaidan is using the award for field research and data collection in port cities along the Red Sea region.
“I am thrilled and honored to be selected for the 2022 SSRC IDRF Fellowship,” says Zaidan. “I always dreamt of spending a fair amount of time among port communities in the Red Sea because my research engages with the people of these nodes. This award will enable to me to get an in-depth understanding of port politics and dynamics in a region that is quickly evolving.”
Zaidan’s research focuses on the growing influence of Middle Eastern countries in the Horn of Africa. His work has appeared in publications such as Inside Arabia, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Politics Review and Utblick Magazine.
A highly rigorous national competition, The Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship offers six to twelve months of support to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled in Ph.D. programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research on Native American or non-U.S. topics.
“Yasir’s project has all the elements of an exemplary dissertation. It’s one thing to say that the internal politics of Sudan or Somaliland could impact trade and security around the Red Sea Meaningful understanding of how that works requires long term investment in the languages, cultures and politics of this important region. Yasir’s project does exactly that,” says Daniel Hoffman, interim director of the Jackson School, professor and Zaidan’s thesis adviser.
While at the University of Washington, Zaidan has received numerous doctoral fellowships, including the Richard Wesley Endowed Ph.D. Fellowship, Walter and Marie Williams Endowed Graduate Fellowship and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation Doctoral Fellowship. He is currently the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies Robinovich Family Fellow 2022-2023 for his project title, “Contested Waterfronts: Port Developments and Insecurity in the Red Sea.”