Saadia Pekkanen

Professor, Founding Co-Director, Space Policy and Research Center; Founding Director, QUAL Program
Saadia Pekkanen



Saadia M. Pekkanen is the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. She earned Master’s degrees from Columbia University and Yale Law School, and a doctorate from Harvard University in political science. She is the founding Co-director of the Space Policy and Research Center (SPARC); and the founding Director of the Qualitative Multi-Methods Program (QUAL).

She works at the intersection of international relations and international law, specializing in the commercial, legal, and security policies shaping outer space affairs. She also investigates contemporary geopolitical change through the lens of infrastructure investment in maritime ports. Her regional expertise is in the foreign affairs of Japan and Asia, engaging broader themes of states, strategy, and governance in the world order. She is interested in the teaching and practice of qualitative methods, and in leveraging their significance for big data studies in the social sciences.


  • Yale Law School, Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.), 2004
  • Harvard University, Department of Government, Ph.D. in Political Science, 1996
  • University of Michigan, Summer Training Program, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), Diploma in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, 1995
  • Inter-University Center for Japanese Language (IUC), Diploma in Japanese, Tokyo, Japan, 1993
  • Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Masters in International Affairs (M.I.A.), 1988
  • Richmond University, B.A. (Honors), London, England, 1986

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