Dr. Mai Yamani
Dr. Mai Yamani
Independent scholar, author and broadcaster.

Independent scholar and author



Dr. Mai Yamani was born in Cairo to an Iraqi mother from Mosul and a Hijazi father from Mecca. Her early education included schooling in Baghdad, Mecca, and Lausanne. She completed her B.A. in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania and her M.St. and D.Phil. in Social Anthropology from Oxford University. She was the first Saudi Arabian woman to receive a doctorate from Oxford.

She started her career as lecturer at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and then at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. She then went on to become a scholar at leading international organisations and think tanks in the Middle East, the U.S., and Europe. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut, a Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C., an Academic Adviser to Georgetown University, and a Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London.



Academic & Policy Papers

'Saudi Youth: The Illusion of Transnational Freedom', Contemporary Arab Affairs, Routledge, 2010

'From Fragility to Stability: A Survival Strategy for the Saudi Monarchy', Contemporary Arab Affairs, Routledge, 2009

'The Two Faces of Saudi Arabia', Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008

'The Latent Arab Democratic Revolution', The Middle East and North Africa, Routledge, 2007

'Mecca: Islam’s Cosmopolitan Heart', Open Democracy, 2006


Arabian Business, Special Report: The World's Most Influential Arabs, 2009

Nominated as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Arabs, 2006


Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience

Representative in the U.K., Mosul University, 2018-

Visiting Senior Fellow, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2015-2017

Editorial Board Member, Journal of International Affairs, 2011-2015

Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Middle East Centre, 2008-2009

Policy Fellow, Brookings Institute, 2007-2008

Research Fellow, Middle East Programme, Chatham House, 1997-2007


D. Phil Social Anthropology, Somerville College, Oxford University, 1984-1989

MA Social Anthropology, Somerville College, Oxford University, 1980-1982

BA Anthropology: Honours and summa cum laude, Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, 1975-1979


Arabic, English, French, Spanish (fluent)

Italian, Hebrew, Persian (working knowledge)