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"Knowledge from the region, for the region"


The WANA Institute is staffed by a dedicated team of researchers, programme coordinators and support staff based in the offices of the Royal Scientific Society.

The WANA Institute is committed to hiring promising young people from within the region in order to develop the next generation of socially conscious thought leaders.

Each team member has their own field of expertise – from law and conflict studies through to economics and environmental science – and brings with them experience in different sectors and countries.


Dr Omar Rifai

Dr Omar Abdul-Monem Rifai is the Director-General of the WANA Institute as well as the Senior Advisor to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal at the Majlis El Hassan, The Royal Hashemite Court.

Director of Programme

Juliet Dryden

Juliet joins the WANA Institute as the Director of Programme with 20 years of experience in international relations. She began her career at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and Chatham House (RIIA) in London before working with the United Nations in Cairo, Gaza and Jerusalem. She has also worked for the London School of Economics (LSE IDEAS).

Office/Logistics Manager

Angela Kayyal

Angela joins the WANA Institute as the Logistics Coordinator after working for four years as the Executive Assistant to the Jordanian Ambassador to the United States. She is delighted to be living in Jordan again, and brings her passion for the region to her role at the Institute.

Team Leader and Senior Researcher, Human Security

Dr Neven Bondokji

Dr Neven Bondokji is an expert in peace studies and conflict transformation with special emphasis on the nexus between Islam, violence, and peacebuilding. She joins the Human Security team at WANA to lead the qualitative field research and implementation of Countering Violent Extremism projects.

Researcher, Human Security

Barik Mhadeen

Barik joins the Human Security team to support the WANA Institute’s efforts at building the resilience of the region and enhancing its carrying capacity. He has a strong commitment to empowering Arab youth and creating a culture of dissemination of knowledge about the Arab world. 

Team Leader and Senior Researcher, Economic Growth

Dorsey Lockhart

Dorsey joins the Human Security Economics team as a researcher, focusing on refugee economic inclusion as well as the wider-ranging issue of job creation in the WANA region. She has over 7 years of experience in policy and programming related to economic growth and sustainable wealth creation.

Team Leader and Senior Researcher, Sustainable Development

Dr Majd Al Naber

Dr Majd Al Naber joins the WANA Institute as the Team Leader and Senior Researcher in the Sustainable Development pillar. She is a specialist in integrated water resources management and water policy for arid land. She worked on several EU-funded projects as a water expert, as well as for USAID as a consultant, and for several national and international organisations.

Junior Researcher, Sustainable Development

Reem Alhaddadin

Reem joins the Sustainable Development team after having completed her internship with the WANA Institute. She previously interned with Engineers Without Borders in Regensburg, Germany, as a water engineer. Her task consisted of designing an inlet channel and contributing to a manual for a hydropower plant project based in Cameroon.

Team Leader and Senior Researcher, Civil Society

Mahmoud Nabulsi

Mahmoud manages the Civil Society team at WANA, and brings 11 years of professional experience in youth development and participation to the role. Previously, he worked as the Jordan Country Director for Tammey for Human Development, Programme Manager for LOYAC Jordan, and Project Officer for the Royal Health Awareness Society. He was also a freelance trainer for the Princess Basma Youth Recourse Center.

Researcher/Training and Project Design Specialist, Civil Society

Esraa Alshyab

Esraa joins the WANA Institute as the Civil Society Team’s Training and Project Design Specialist. Previously, she worked on Women's Democratic Empowerment for Al Hayat Center for Civil Society Development. She also worked as a journalist for various news outlets. Through her work at the WANA Institute, she hopes to contribute to empowering communities to be part of the development process.

Visiting Fellow

Alexander Decina

Alexander A. Decina joins the WANA Institute as a Visiting Fellow researching factional conflicts and state-building challenges throughout the West Asia–North Africa region with a particular focus on Syria and Libya. Previously, Alexander was a research associate for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he worked with think tanks and NGOs in Lebanon and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Communications Manager

Lien Santermans

Lien joins the WANA Institute as the Communications Manager. She is using her background in media and communications to increase the WANA Institute’s outreach. Previously, she worked as a Communications Officer for EcoWerf, a Belgian intercommunal environmental company. She also has experience writing for several news websites and NGOs.

Finance Manager

Maher Bahlawan

Maher joins the WANA team with 16 years of experience in accounting and auditing. He previously worked as a Senior Accountant for the Royal Scientific Society (RSS), and is happy to now serve the WANA Institute’s mission.

Junior Accountant

Hamzah Omar

Hamzah joins the WANA Institute as Junior Accountant, bringing two years of professional experience in finance and accounting with national financial institutions to the role. He also supports the efforts of the various teams at WANA by providing logistics support.

Logistics Assistant and Driver

Fawaz Mohsen

Fawaz serves the WANA Institute as the Logistics Assistant and Driver.

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