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Visiting Fellows and Sir William Luce Papers

Papers in the Sir William Luce Publication Series are published each year within the Durham Middle East Papers series by the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.



2024, Aid from Gulf donors in conflict zones  

Dr Altea Pericoli's research has the overall objective to provide a broader understanding of humanitarian aid in conflict zones as implemented by Gulf actors and to improve the dialogue between Western and Gulf donors. The research examines foreign aid interventions of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their implementation in Yemen, Sudan, and Syria (including the Syrian refugee issue) in the period 2015-2022. The study combines international relations theories and the anthropological approach to humanitarian aid analysis, embedding a top-down and bottom-up observation of aid interventions.  

Dr Pericoli is currently a Postdoctoral research fellow in geopolitics and regional cooperation at the Center for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden. She was previously an academic visitor at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies and a visiting research fellow at the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies. She obtained her Ph.D. in Institutions and Policies (2019-2023) at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, and she conducted many visiting periods at Vienna University, Durham University, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway. In July 2023, she obtained the BRISMES Award “Early Career Development Scholarship” to elaborate her first monograph with a university press. Her research interests include Islamic philanthropy and aid interventions implemented by Islamic actors and the Gulf States in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

The 2024 Sir William Luce lecture will take place at the Al-Qasimi Building on Elvet Hill Rd, DH1 3TU on Wednesday 12 June at 12pm. The lecture is open to the public and attendance is free. The lectures will also be live-streamed on Zoom: if you wish to attend online please register here. For more details please see here.


Azza Ahmed

2023, The Sudan Movement: the emergence of a new political block, 2013-2019, Dr Azza Mustafa Mohamed Ahmed

In the context of the continuing revolution and the war in Sudan this lecture provides a timely consideration of the country’s traditional political movements and their responses to the challenges of modern liberal discourses emerging from youth movements and civil society organizations and to those social and political movements now active in the marginalised peripheries of the country. 

In due course this lecture will be published as a Sir William Luce Paper in the university's Middle East Papers series and made available here.

Dr Azza M. Ahmed is an Assistant Professor in International Relations at the University of Medical Science and Technology in Khartoum.  She teaches courses on gender and international relations, non-governmental organizations and public policy, and on social research methods.  She is also a member of and advisor for several civil society organizations, focussing on youth and gender perspectives, and is a democratic transformation consultant for Life & Peace Institute, the EU, and various NGOs.  She has worked for many years as a national expert on democracy, human rights, and good governance and on political parties in Sudan.



2022, Portraits, Postcards and Protest: mobilizing Sudanese visual culture, Dr Katie J. Hickerson

Images from the Sudanese imperial archive have been and continue to be sites of meaning making for individuals and collectives today, whether printed on postcards, assembled in scrapbooks, or uploaded to online groups. This lecture addresses the visual sources of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Sudan and considers the ways these photographs were produced for specific ends, including scientific studies, propaganda campaigns, war albums, and popular entertainment. These images played an important role in the creation of a visual lexicon in the early years of photography in Sudan, and more recently, artists have reconfigured these images in contemporary works. This lecture demonstrates how thinking through the production and circulation of these visual sources can allow for new ways to better listen to the voices of the past. 

2019, A border too far: the Ilemi triangle yesterday and today, Philip Winter

There has to date been no bilaterally agreed definition or demarcation of this colonial border in East Africa, let alone any internationally agreed re-definition. There is no visible dispute, and as yet there is no full, up-to-date account of this cartographic curiosity. A number of factors in the Ilemi area could potentially provide a casus belli involving Kenya, South Sudan and perhaps also Ethiopia – oil exploration for example, or the shrinking of Lake Turkana as a result of new irrigated agriculture schemes below the Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. Winter offers a fully researched explanation of the history and attributes of the Ilemi Triangle.


 Sir William Luce Paper no. 20 (last modified: 12 December 2019)PDF





2018, Better than before? Comparing Moscow’s Cold War and Putin-era policies toward Arabia and the Gulf, Professor Mark N. Katz

Professor Mark Katz’s research currently focuses on Russian foreign policy, especially towards the Middle East, and the international dimensions of revolution. Against the backdrop of years of conflict, rising tensions, and mass population movements in the Middle East, interventions of Russia in the region have caught the attention of the world. Professor Katz provides a broad view of Russia's historic involvement in the Middle East, and asks how much has really changed.

Download Audio: MP3,

 Sir William Luce Paper no. 19 (last modified: 20 August 2018)PDF



2017, Patterns of growth and inequality in Sudan, 1977-2017, Dr Edward Thomas

Dr Edward Thomas has more than a decade of experience working in South Sudan and Sudan as a teacher, human rights worker, and researcher. His research and writing address social history and contemporary politics.


Sir William Luce Paper no. 18 (last modified: 8 December 2017)PDF







2016, Understanding the Yemeni crisis: the transformation of tribal roles in recent decades, Helen Lackner

Helen Lackner is a social and political development analyst with experience of working in over thirty countries. For more than forty years - fifteen of which were spent living in the country - she has studied and worked on Yemen, focussing on supporting women and rural poor people to sustainably improve their living conditions, and to this end developing empowerment mechanisms such as the formation of community organisations. Her most recent publication is Why Yemen Matters: a society in transition (Saqi, 2014); she also frequently writes for Open Democracy


Sir William Luce Paper no. 17 PDF




2015, Lessons from the past? Approaches to conflict and peace in Sudan, 1899-1955, Dr Richard Barltrop

Richard Barltrop is a consultant and researcher, specialised in political, economic, conflict and security analysis on the Sudans, Somalia, the Sahel and Northern Africa, and the Middle East. He has worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Yemen and elsewhere. His areas of specialisation include mediation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and the role of humanitarian and development aid in countries at war.




2014, Iranian and Arab in the Gulf: endangered language, windtowers, and fish sauce, John W. Limbert

Ambassador John W. Limbert is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He is a veteran U.S. diplomat and a former official at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.






2013, Dā’irat al-Mahdī: money, faith and politics in Sudan, Fergus Nicoll

After working as a teacher in northern Sudan, Fergus Nicoll began his career with the BBC in 1988 with the African Service. He moved to the BBC's Cairo Bureau in 1992 and spent three years as a World Affairs Correspondent. In 1999-2000, he was Press Officer for Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. From 2001-12, he was a freelance presenter on the BBC World Service radio programme The World Today. He is now Public Relations and Publications Manager at the Rift Valley Institute and in 2004, published a biography of the Mahdi of Sudan, The Sword of the Prophet:The Mahdi of Sudan and the Death of General Gordon. In September 2010, the Qasim Data Centre in Khartoum published Nicoll's Bibliography of the Mahdia.


Sir William Luce Paper no. 14 PDF


2012, Sir William Luce in the Middle East, Dr M.W. Daly
Dr M.W. Daly has published widely on the modern history of Egypt and the Sudan. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) degree in history from McGill University, M.A. from McGill's Institute of Islamic Studies, and Ph.D. in the history of the Near & Mdidle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.  


Sir William Luce Paper no. 13







2011, How to Govern Darfur?, Dr James Morton
Dr Morton is a freelance consultant whose work on Darfur started with six years in the region during the 1980s.


  Sir William Luce Paper no. 12 PDF









2010, From the Mahdiyya to the Salvation: women's rights in the Sudanese laws, Dr Asma Mohamed Abdel Halim
Dr Asma Mohamed Abdel Halim is an Assistant Professor, Department of Women and Gender Studies, University of Toledo, Ohio.




2009, Oil Development Induced Displacement in the Sudan, Dr Leben Moro
Dr Leben Moro who is a Southern Sudanese scholar currently based at the Centre for Peace and Development, University of Juba.


Sir William Luce Paper no. 10



2008, Sudan: political transitions past and present, Professor Peter Woodward


2007, Ina Beasley : her perspectives on women's prospects in British Sudan, Dr Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf

Sir William Luce Paper no. 8


2006, Generational Change and Elite-driven Reforms in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Dr Steven Wright

Sir William Luce Paper no. 7


2005, Political Reform in the Gulf Monarchies: from liberalisation to democratisation? A comparative perspective, Professor Gerd Nonneman

Sir William Luce Paper no. 6


2004, The Emergence of Post-Traditional Oman, Dr John Peterson


2003, The Arab Oil Weapon of 1973-74 as a Double-edged Sword: it's implications for future energy security, Dr Robert Copaken

Sir William Luce Paper no. 4


2001, The Cultural Dimensions of Anglo-Iranian Relations, Dr Mohaad Javad Nateghpour, University of Tehran

Sir William Luce Paper no. 3


 2000, Organized Labour and Social Change in Contemporary Sudan, Professor Ahmad A. Sikainga

Sir William Luce Paper no. 2


1999, The Making of the Modern UAE, Dr Fatma Al-Sayegh, Chairperson, History Department, UAE University


1998, The Contribution of 19th Century British Political Agents to the Understanding of Omani History, with Special Reference to Sir Charles Ross, Dr Isam al-Rawas, Assistant Professor, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman


1997, Khartoum: past, present and the prospects for the future, Dr Bushra el-Tayeb Babiker, Associate Professor, University of Khartoum

Sir William Luce Paper no. 1