Shahla Al-Kli is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. She served as research analysis and knowledge mobilization director at Proximity International, the Middle East deputy regional director at Mercy Corps, a principal development specialist at DAI Global, a senior advisor to the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, an advisor to the speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, a former country director for Counterpart International's Iraq programs, and an auditor at the Central Bank of Iraq. She is a long-term practitioner in the Middle East on issues of politics, governance, security, statebuilding, and fragile states. She finished her Ph.D. at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy/Tufts University; her dissertation about governance and decentralization in Iraq was awarded Fletcher’s Peter Ackerman Award for an outstanding scholarly work.

Bachelor’s and Master’s in Linguistics, Baghdad University; Master’s and Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy-Tufts University.

Kurdish, Arabic, English

Countries of Expertise
Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey

Issues of Expertise
Political economy analysis, governance, state-building, conflict sensitivity analysis, international development, complexity aware monitoring, fragile states, security studies, Iranian foreign policy in the Arab world (especially in Iraq), IRGC and Quds Force doctrine in Iraq, and the political transformation of Iraqi militias.  

Contact Information

Please contact MEI’s media relations manager, Rachel Dooley, at or 202-785-1141 ext. 241 for assistance contacting this expert.

Twitter Handle: @ShahlaKli