Supporting Critical Research and Strengthening Scholarly Capacity in Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia

Implemented by the Centre d’Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT) and the Centre d’Études Maghrébines en Algérie (CEMA), with generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, this project highlights state-of-the art research by North African scholars.

Working with an established network of North African Universities and Research Institutions, CEMA and CEMAT host five in-house research teams on critical themes (see below) designed and directed by North African scholars. The project design includes methodological training in the social sciences for doctoral students and post-docs, cross-national and generational discussions, as well as guidance for various academic and public interest publications. Research findings are also available on the American Institute for Maghrib Studies podcasts platform:

Research Teams

Meriem Guetat


Biography: Meriem Guetat is a legal scholar specializing in public law. She is Associate Director of the Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT). Prior to that, she was a legal expert at Democracy Reporting International. Her work appeared in Jadaliyya, DGAP working papers and ISPIOnline. Meriem also contributed to French peer reviewed journals such as the Annuaire international de droit constitutionnel and les Annales de la faculté de droit et science politique de Nice as well as book chapters. Her research interests include Law and transitions in the Maghrib, legal reform and constitutional building, human rights, Islamic law, international law, theory of law and critical legal studies.

Guetat, Meriem. 2012. "Quelle justice transitionnelle pour la Tunisie". Jadaliyya.

Guetat, Meriem. 2017. “Reconfiguring Territorial State Administration and Decentralization in Tunisia – The ‘Obvious’ Need for a Political Vision”. In Dina Fakoussa and Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid (ed.). Tunisia’s Rocky Road to Stability: Security Sector Reform, (De-)Radicalization and Socio-Economic Development. DGAP Reports.

Guetat, Meriem. 2019. "Chronique de Jurisprudence Constitutionnelle (Tunisie)". Annuaire International de Justice Constitutionnelle. Paris: Economica.

Guetat, Meriem. 2020. "Tunisia and Coronavirus: The Reality of a Poor Governance". In Valeria Talbot and Eugenio Dacrema (Ed.). The MENA Region vs Covid-19: One Challenge, Common Strategies?. ISPI.

Guetat, Meriem. 2020. "North Africa’s Transitioning Decade". In Federico Borsari and Eugenio Dacrema (ed.). North Africa’s Changing Geopolitics in the Time of Pandemic. ISPI.

Belkacem Benzenine


Biography: Benzenine Belkacem is a political scientist and permanent researcher at CRASC (Centre de recherche en anthropologie sociale et culturelle, Oran). He holds a PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of Charles-de-Gaulle – Lille III. He was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Fordham University during 2014-2015. His work focuses on political transformations in Algeria and Arab states and the place of women in political life. Since 2018, he is director in chief of Insaniyat review.

Benzenine, Belkacem. 2019. « Le vote de la communauté algérienne à l’étranger : quels enjeux pour les partis politiques ? », Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée. n°2-3, vol. 26.

Benzenine, Belkacem. 2020. « Les élections législatives et locales de 2017 en Algérie : les raisons et les significations de l’abstention », Maghreb Machrek (à paraitre).

Benzenine, Belkacem. 2020. « Les députés islamistes algériens (2012-2017). Ce que le passage à l’opposition fait à la modération », L’Année du Maghreb (à paraitre).

Benzenine, Belkacem. 2020. « The Algerian Community's Vote Abroad: challenges and strategies for political parties », in 'Tudi Kernalegenn, Emilie van Haute. eds), Political Parties Abroad A New Arena for Party Politics, London.

Mariem Agrebi


Biography: Meriem Agrebi is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis. She holds a PhD in Public International Law from the University of Strasbourg (Contemporary Legal framework for Combatting maritime Piracy, 2017). She was a national analyst (Campaign finance) at the EU Electoral Observation mission in Tunisia- 2019. Previously she worked as a legal advisor for Democracy International. She was also a Bluebook trainee at the Legal service of the European Commission (2013) and Legal intern at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (2014) and UNODC in Vienna. Her research focuses mainly on the international law and litigation, Law of the Sea, Maritime Security, International, Regional and national security, counterterrorism, constitutional law, legal theory and reform, legislation on CSOs and electoral law.

Agrebi, Meriem. 2019. « Chronique de jurisprudence constitutionnelle (Tunisie) », Annuaire international de justice constitutionnelle, 34-2018, 2019. Égalité, genre et constitution - Populisme et démocratie, pp. 1085-1099.
Agrebi, Meriem. 2017. « Sécurité privée et lutte contre la piraterie maritime : L’exemple de la loi française de protection privée des navires », in H. REIFELD & S. SEFRIOUI (dir.), Protection de l’environnement et insécurité maritime, Colloque de l’Université de Tanger, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, pp. 71-116.
Agrebi, Mariem. 2017. Le cadre juridique contemporain de la lutte contre la piraterie maritime

Darine Matmati


Biography: Darine Matmati is a PhD Candidate in International Law in a joint supervision program between the Faculty of Juridical, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis and Jean-Moulin Lyon III University (France). She is MENA Program Associate at Impunity Watch , an international non-profit human rights organisation. Her research interests include International public Law, Energy law, Nuclear Law, Law of the Sea, Environmental Law, Constitutional Law, Public Law, Governance. In 2018, Darine published a book entitled "Le droit de la mer à l'épreuve du risque nucléaire".

Matmati, Darine. 2019. In: Annuaire international de justice constitutionnelle, 34-2018, 2019. Égalité, genre et constitution - Populisme et démocratie. pp. 1085-1099.
Matmati, Darine. Forthcomig. « Les insuffisances du droit international de la mer face au nouveaux risques nucléaires dans l’espace maritime » in Le Droit International Actuel est- il sécurisant?, organisé à la Faculté de Sciences Juridiques, Politiques et Sociales de Tunis II, 12 et 13 novembre 2019. ( à paraitre)

Tarek Kahlaoui


Biography: Tarek Kahlaoui is an Assistant Professor of History at the Mediterranean School of Business. He was the former director of the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies. Kahlaoui was a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Rutgers University between 2008 and 2017. Kahlaoui’s work appeared in the Washington Post and Middle East Eye. His research focuses on the historical formation and imagination of frontiers in the Maghrib.

Kahlaoui, Tarek. 2019. "How Tunisia’s presidential election could deliver a populist president". The Washington Post.

Kahlaoui, Tarek. 2019. دورات التغيير من زاوية خلدونية وما بعدها: العصبية العابرة للازمان السياسية محركا للتاريخ

Kahlaoui, Tarek. 2017. “Creating the Mediterranean”. Brill.

Maher Zoghlami


Biography: Maher Zoghlami holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Tunis. He is a researcher in sociology focusing on violent extremism. He previously worked as head of the research department at Jasmine Foundation. His research examines the redefinition of the concept of borders and marginalization in the Maghrib from a sociological perspective. His research focuses on the alternation between, first, sociological analysis of social phenomena, second, a forward-looking prediction based on scenario technics and third strategic planning of public policies by the differentiation between expected scenarios. In his previous research collaboration with the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Zoghlami’s approach sought to address religious politics and deradicalization in Tunisia. He has written a forthcoming in-depth study entitled ‘Managing the religious field in Tunisia between social reality and strategic construction’.

Zoghlami, Maher. 2019. “Rethinking the Concept of Human Security and Its Approaches to Preventing and Combating Violent Extremism in Tunisia” West Asia-North Africa Institute.

Zoghlami, Maher. 2019. Embracing Social Exclusion in Douar Hicher: Isolation and Code Words. West Asia-North Africa Institute.

Zoghlami, Maher. 2019. The Battle of Ben Guerdane: Between Savagery and Resilience. West Asia-North Africa Institute

Karim Marzouki


Biography: Karim Marzouki holds a Master’s degree in Private Law from the Faculty of Juridical, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis. He published articles on Ultra Tunisie and the Legal Agenda. He previously worked as research assistant at the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies and communication liaison for the Truth and Dignity Commission (Instance Vérité et Dignité (IVD). His research examines the crisis challenging the Maghrib unity project and the material and immaterial frontiers issues pre and after the 1989 moment.

Marzouki, Karim. 2020. جلسات الاستماع العلنية في تونس: منصة الحقيقة غير المكتملة. The Legal agenda.

Marzouki, Karim. 2020. نتائج الدور الأول للرئاسية والتشريعية.. قراءة تحليلية للمشهد الانتخابي التونسي. Ultra Tunisia

Walid Haddouk


Biography: Walid Haddouk is an independent researcher. He previously worked at the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies in the founding phase between 2011 and 2014 and contributed to several research and development projects with international institutions in Tunisia and Libya. He is currently an expert and program coordinator at the German Hans-Seidel Foundation - the regional office in Tunis, Algeria and Libya, as well as consultancy missions with international organizations in Geneva - Center for Humanitarian Dialogue. His research examines the microeconomics of frontiers across Algerian-Tunisian-Libyan borders.

Tarik Ghodbani


Biography: Tarik Ghodbani is a lecturer at the Department of Geography and Urban Planning at the University of Oran 2 Mohamed Ben Ahmed. He is the director of the Laboratory for Research on Geographic Space and Urban Planning (EGEAT), associate researcher at the Center for Social and Cultural Anthropological Research (CRASC), and member of the Scientific Council of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS). His work focuses on land use planning, environment, peri-urban areas. He published articles on development issues in the Maghrib in international peer-reviewed journals. He recently coordinated the publication of Issue 14 and 15 of the “Cahiers Geographique de l’Ouest”. He is currently supervising students’ dissertations on social transformations, and local and environmental governance systems.

Godbani, Tarik. Et al. 2015. “Un écosystème littoral fragile menacé sur la rive sud de la Méditerranée”. Méditerranée.

Ghodbani, Tarik. Et al. 2017. “Entre perte de savoirs locaux et changement social : les défis et les enjeux de la réhabilitation des foggaras dans le Touat, Sahara algérien”. Autrepart. (81) p. 91-114

Godbani, Tarik. Et al. 2018. “L’agriculture au Sahara du sud-ouest algérien : entre développement agricole moderne et permanences de l’agriculture oasienne traditionnelle”. Cahiers Agricultures.

Godbani, Tarik. & Berrahi-Midoun, Fatiha. 2013. “La littoralisation dans l’Ouest algérien : analyse multiscalaire des interactions hommes-espacesécosystèmes”. Espace populations sociétés.

Godbani, Tarik. Et al. 2016. “Développement du tourisme balnéaire en Algérie face à la problématique de protection des espaces littoraux. Le cas des côtes mostaganemoises”. Études caribéennes. 33-34.

Godbani, Tarik. & Bougherira, Abdeldjalil. 2019. “Le littoral algérien entre protection de l’environnement et impératifs du développement, Enjeux et Perspectives”. Geo-Eco-Trop. 43, 4 : 559-568.

Godbani, Tarik. & Bougherira, Abdeldjalil. 2019. “Les côtes basses d’accumulation de la région orientale de la baie de Jijel :Enjeux, vulnérabilité et nécessité de protection”. Geo-Eco-Trop. 43, 4 : 541-558.

Godbani, Tarik. Et al. New reading of Saharan agricultural transformation: Continuities of ancient oases and their extensions (Algeria). World Development.

Godbani, Tarik. Et al. “Les gravures repestres de la région de Taghit : intérêt archéologique et dégradation”. Insaniyat.

Godbani, Tarik. Et al. 2018. “L’eau et l’agriculture dans un écosystème oasien : transformations et défis de développement”. Moyen-Orient. 40 Godbani, Tarik. & Messahel, Abdallah. “Les terres agricoles et les espaces naturels face à la ville : le cas d’Oran, Algérie”.

Godbani, Tarik. & Amokran, Khelifa. 2013. “La zone humide de la macta : un espace à protéger sur le littoral ouest de l’Algérie”. Physio-Géo - Géographie Physique et Environnement. VII.

Ahmed Mokhtar Lensari


Biography: Ahmed Mokhtar Lensari is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Oran 2, Algeria. He is a researcher at the Laboratory for Research on Geographic Space and Territorial Planning (Espace Géographique Et Aménagement du Territoire-EGEAT). His research interests include urban dynamics in the border areas of southern Algeria, cross-border population movements, cross-border trade, and socio-economic transformations in the agricultural sector of Sahara. His research focuses on the socio-economic transformations in the Algerian Sahel region, focusing on the cities of Tamanrasset and Bordj Badji Mokhtar as well as the Malian and Nigerien border. He published articles in the Algerian Scientific Journal Platform, The Arab World Geographer and Democratic Arabic Center for Strategic, and Political and Economic Studies.

Lensari, Mokhtar Ahmed. 2019. “Illegal Migration from the Sahel Countries to Europe: Tamanrasset is an Algerian City with Sahelian Characteristics”. The Arab World Geographer.

Tayeb Addoun


Biography: Tayeb Addoun is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant in the Department of Geography at the University of Oran 2, Algeria. He is a researcher at the Laboratory for Research on Geographic Space and Urban Planning (Espace Géographique Et Aménagement du Territoire-EGEAT). His research interests include geography, spaces and territories in the region of western Sahara, space dynamics in the region of Ghardaia, socio-economic transformations, trans-Saharan trade, and agricultural and rural development. He is writing a dissertation on the regional dynamics and the socio-spatial development in the Central Sahara, focusing on the city of Ghardaia.

Addoun, Tayeb. Analysis of the Spatial Distribution of the Commercial Activities in Desert Cities: A Case Study of Ghardaia, Algeria

Rida Diab


Biography: Rida Diab is a third-year PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography and Land Planning at Mohammed Ben Ahmed University in Algeria. He is also a research member in the Laboratory for Research on Geographic Space and Land Planning (Espace Géographique Et Aménagement du Territoire-EGEAT). Diab’s research interests include cross-border trade in Algeria, (informal trade, social network analysis, and cartography of flows and trade networks). His approach in this research is focused on a cross vision of commercial activities in two different border regions Tebessa on the Eastern border with Tunisia and Maghnia on the Western border with Morocco.

Karim Ouaras


Biography: Dr. Karim Ouaras is a sociolinguist and a researcher in the field of language policy, linguistics, semiotics, (critical) discourse analysis and research methodology. He holds a post of associate professor at Department of French language, University of Oran 2. His main fields of interest concern graffiti and public space in Algeria; political and media discourses; languages, identities and Nation State in North Africa. He is also Associate Director of the Centre d’Études Maghrébines en Algérie.

Ouaras, Karim. 2019. « De la nécessité d’interroger les pratiques ludiques traditionnelles en Algérie » in Conference Proceedings Pratiques sportives traditionnelles et tourisme culturel durable, Association Imzad, Tamanrasset.

Ouaras, Karim. 2018. « Le street art: prémices d’une nouvelle pratique langagière en Algérie », in Cahiers de linguistique n°44-1, pp. 281-298.

Ouaras, Karim. 2018. “Tagging in Algeria: graffiti as aesthetic claim and protest”, in The Journal of North African Studies, 23, 1-2 : Violence and the politics of aesthetics : A postcolonial Maghreb without borders, pp. 172-190.

Ouaras, Karim. 2015. « Langues, identités et espace urbain à Alger », in Cahiers d’Études Berbères, EHESS Paris, n°43/44, pp. 89-109

Ouaras, Karim. 2015. « L’espace urbain algérois à l’épreuve de ses graffiti », Année du Maghreb 12/2015, Villes et urbanités au Maghreb, pp.157-179.

Mansour Ghaki


Biography: Mansour Ghaki is Research Director in the department of History and Archeology the National Heritage Institute (Institut national du patrimoine – Tunisie). He has written many studies dealing with the different aspects of Amazigh civilization during antiquity, covering history, Libyan writing, beliefs, rites and funerary architecture. An Amazigh, born in Ath Mazret (Tamazret), Mansour Ghaki is the founding member of two organizations : « Association de sauvegarde du village de Tamazret » and « Association Tunisienne de la Culture Amazighe ».

Ghaki, Mansour. libyque et punique à Dougga

Reda Sebih


Biography: Reda Sebih is a Linguistic Scholar, Doctor of Sociolinguistics and Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Languages, Bouira University, Algiers. His work focuses on the relation between sociolinguistic and religious practices of the dwellers of the Casbah of Algiers.

Nacer Si Hamdi


Biography: Nacer Si Hamdi is a PhD Candidate of Language Sciences and Assistant Professor at the department of French at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Algiers 2 University. He is a research fellow at the Centre de Recherche en Anthropologie Sociale et Culturelle (CRASC) and Centre d'Etudes Maghrébines en Algérie (CEMA). His research interests cover socio-linguistic and discursive dynamics in urban areas, with particular reference to the marginal practices and discourse analysis study of the village of Tizi-Ouzou, through field surveys, space articulation and appropriation study. Si Hamdi’s work addresses graffiti themes and the political and/or ideological discourse within Algeria’s sociopolitical context.

Si Hamdi, Nacer. Forthcoming. "Les dynamiques sociolangagières et les pratiques discursives mises en mots par les graffiti de la ville de Tizi-Ouzou". Insaniyat.

Si Hamdi, Nacer. Forthcoming. "La mise en mots des slogans muraux de la ville de Tizi-Ouzou" in Graffiti et espace public en Algérie : pratiques langagières et stratégies discursives.

Jacob Mundy


Biography: Jacob Mundy is an Associate Professor at Colgate University in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program. He is the author of Imaginative Geographies of Algerian Violence (Stanford University Press, 2015) and more recently Libya (Polity Press, 2018). During the 2018-19 academic year, Professor Mundy was a Fulbright Scholar with the Université de Tunis and a research affiliate with CEMAT. He has also twice served on the board of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, and is also on the editorial committee of Middle East Report. His current research examines the political economy of Libya’s transition after 2011.

Mundy, Jacob. 2019. "Libya," in The Middle East. 15th Edition, edited by Ellen Lust. SAGE.

Mundy, Jacob. 2019. The Globalized Unmaking of the Libyan State," Middle East Report. . 290.

Mundy, Jacob. 2018. Libya. Polity Press.

Amal El-Obeidi


Biography: Amal El-Obeidi is Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Benghazi, Libya. Currently she is a fellow researcher at the Institute for African Studies at Bayreuth University, Germany. She is a founding member and vice president of the Libyan Experts Forum for Development since 2017. Author of Political Culture in Libya, her work has appeared in Open Democracy and Middle East Monitor. Prof. El-Obeidi's research interests include gender issue, local reconciliation, governance and security issues, migration, conflict resolution, and peace building. Her current research addresses tribalism in Libya from a gender perspective.

Obeidi, Amal. 2008. The Political Elites in Libya Obeidi, Amal. 2012.The National Security in Libya: Challenges of the Transitional Period.

Obeidi, Amal. 2013. “The Impact of the Revolution and the Transitional Period on Women’s Empowering Policies in Libya”. Beirut.

Obeidi, Amal. 2013.“From Forced Reconciliation to Recognition: The Abu Salim Case in Historical Perspective” in Jan Michiel Otto et. al. (eds), Searching for Justice in Post-Gaddafi Libya: a So¬cio-Legal Exploration of People’s Concerns and Institutional Re¬sponses at Home and from Abroad. Leiden.

Obeidi, Amal. 2015. “Identity in Libya: Orientations of Loyalty and Identification “, Benghazi University Research Centre.

Obeidi, Amal. 2017. “Political Socialization in Post Qhadafi Libya: Analysis Study of the Values of the Co-Existence” in the Primary School Curriculum in Social Cohesion in Libya and Elsewhere. Tunisia.

Obeidi, Amal. 2018. Local Reconciliation in Libya: An Exploratory Study on Traditional Reconciliation Processes and Mechanisms since. UNDP.

Obeidi, Amal. 2019. Local Reconciliation in Libya since 2011-Actors, Processes, and Mechanisms (in: Thomas Hüsken (eds), The Multiplicity of Orders and Practices. Kölin.

Obeidi, Amal. 2019. New tribal order in Libya

Obeidi, Amal. 2019. Tribe and Tribalism in Libya from Gender perspective.

Mustafa Fetouri


Biography: Mustafa Fetouri is an independent Libyan academic and an award-winning journalist. He is a recipient of the EU’s Freedom of the Press prize in 2010. He contributes to Al-Monitor, MEMO, and Deutsch Welle. He is graduate of management with over a decade of teaching in different counties including The Netherlands, Libya and China. His research focus is Media Studies and region broacastings. His most recent book, in Arabic, published in 2018. His weekly articles are available at:

Emad Badi


Biography: Emadeddin Badi is a researcher and political analyst, specializing in governance, conflict and the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on Libya. Badi has also worked on multiple research and policy-oriented projects with various institutions, with an extensive focus on Libya and its hybrid armed actors. Most recently, he co-authored a paper on the “Development of Libya’s Armed Groups Since 2014 – Community Dynamics and Economic Interests” with the Royal Institute of International Affairs – Chatham House. He is currently affiliated with the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, where he focuses on EU policy towards Libya. Emad is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Program.

Badi, Emad. 2019. Libya's Haftar and the false narrative of authoritarian stability. The Middle East Instittute.

Badi, Emad. Libya's Coming Forever War: Why backing one militia against another isn't the solution. War on the Rocks.

Badi, Emad. 2019. Stalemate in Tripoli. Chatham House.

Badi, Emad. 2018. At a Glance: Libya's Transformation 2011-2018, Power, Legitimacy and the Economy. Democracy Reporting International.

CAORC/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Modern Art History

The CAORC/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Modern Art History at the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT) is a three-year-long training, research and mentorship program to build research skills and methodology in the study and practice of art history, with a focus on North Africa. The aim of the Fellowship is to assist graduate students, scholars, and professionals in the arts with developing their proposed research projects, as well as to facilitate knowledge exchange in the arts and humanities across the Maghrib. Generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and implemented by the the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), the Fellowship seeks to strengthen art historical research individually and as a discipline in North Africa.