The Hiwar Speaker Series is a platform to host individuals who can speak to the Northwestern Qatar community on issues that affect them  – from journalism to geopolitics – engaging students, faculty, and staff in dialogues that are challenging and enriching.

Past Speakers

Ranjit Singh

Ranjit Singh is a Senior Researcher at Data & Society focussed on qualitative methods to evaluate impact of algorithmic systems at the Algorithmic Impact Methods Lab. With a particular focus on research equity, he also helps guide the organization’s commitment to equitable research practices both internally and with its external partners. Singh’s work examines the everyday experiences of people subject to data-driven practices and follows the mutual shaping of their lives and their data records. 

Dena Takruri

Dena Takruri is an award-winning journalist and author who has reported extensively on events of global significance, including Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Europe’s refugee crisis, and tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Dena is a senior presenter and producer at AJ+ (Al Jazeera) and one of the channel’s founding members. She hosts the docu-series, Direct From with Dena Takruri, which has been honored with a Peabody Award and two Edward R. Murrow Awards. Dena is also the co-author of the memoir, They Called Me A Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom, which chronicles the life of young Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi and offers a rare, intimate account of Palestinian childhood under Israeli military occupation. It was published by One World/Penguin Random House in 2022 and was recently awarded a Palestine Book Award.

Lina Attalah

Lina Attalah is co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr, a Cairo-based news website ‘that attempts to secure a house for a dislocated practice of journalism that did not survive in mainstream organizations and their associated political and economic conditions’. Before, Ms Attalah wrote for Reuters, Cairo Times, the Daily Star, the Christian Science Monitor, Al-Mzasry Al-Youm English Edition, and Egypt Independent. Ever since, she has been fighting to keep press freedom alive in Egypt. In 2005, she worked as a radio producer and campaign coordinator with the BBC World Service Trust in Darfur, Sudan. Ms Attalah also worked as a project manager for a number of research-based projects with multi-media outputs around the themes of space, mobility, and intellectual history.

Ramona Diaz

Ramona S. Diaz is a Peabody and Emmy-award-winning Asian American filmmaker best known for her compelling character-driven documentaries that combine a profound appreciation for cinematic aesthetics and potent storytelling. Ramona’s films have demonstrated her ability to gain intimate access to the people she films - rock stars, first ladies, dissidents, teachers, or journalists – resulting in keenly observed moments and unforgettable nuanced narratives. Her films have been screened and won awards at Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, SXSW, IDFA, HotDocs, and many other top-tier film festivals. All of Ramona’s feature-length independent films— Imelda (2004), The Learning (2011), Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (2012) and, Motherland (2017), A Thousand Cuts (2020)—have been nationally broadcast on PBS, Arte, and the BBC amongst others. Ramona is both a Guggenheim Fellow and a USA Fellow – prestigious awards given to artists with singular visions who have significantly contributed to the arts in the United States. She was recently named the inaugural McGurn Family Trust Resident in Film by the American Academy in Rome. Ramona is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Producers and Writers Guilds of America. In 2017, she received a Women at Sundance Fellowship, a Creative Capital Award, and a Chicken & Egg Pictures Filmmaker Award. Ramona is a graduate of Emerson College and holds an MA from Stanford University. 

Picture a Scientist

Triumphs, Challenges, Solutions

A screening of the award-winning documentary, Picture a Scientist, featuring female scientists who discuss their research, inequities they encounter, and search for solutions, followed by a one hour discussion with a distinguished panel that includes Abeer Hassan Buhelaiqa, founder and vice chairperson of Qatar Women Engineers Association; Ghada Salama, professor of chemical engineering, Texas A&M University at Qatar; and Anto Mohsin assistant professor of science and technology studies, Northwestern Qatar. Moderated by Assistant Professor Rana Kazkaz, Northwestern Qatar.

Amaney Jamal

Amaney A. Jamal is Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics, and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is the former Director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice. Jamal also directs the Workshop on Arab Political Development and the Bobst-American University of Beirut Collaborative Initiative.

Her book, Barriers to Democracy (2007), which explores the role of civic associations in promoting democratic effects in the Arab world, won the 2008 American Political Science Best Book Award in the Comparative Democratization section. Her other books include, Of Empires and Citizens and her co-edited volume Arab Americans Before and After 9/11. Jamal’s articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Comparative Politics, Perspectives on Politics, International Migration Review, and other venues. Her article “Does Islam Play a Role in anti-Immigrant Sentiment: An Experimental Approach.”, in Social Science Research 2015 won the 2016 Louis Wirth Best Article Award: American Sociological Association, International Migration Section.  

Jamal is the co-Principal of the Arab Barometer  Project (Winner of the Best Dataset in the Field of Comparative Politics (Lijphart/Przeworski/Verba Dataset Award 2010), and has secured over 4 million dollars in grants for this and other projects from the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), National Science Foundation (NSF), NSF: Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), Qatar National Research Fund, (QNRF), United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Luce Foundation. 

In 2006, Jamal was named a Carnegie Scholar. She holds a Phd from the University of Michigan (2003). Her areas of specialization are the Middle East and North Africa, mass and political behavior, political development and democratization, inequality and economic segregation, Muslim Immigration (US and Europe), gender, race, religion, and class.

Hassan Akkad

Hassan Akkad is a Syrian refugee, cleaner and refugee rights activist living in London. He fled Syria in 2015 and after a punishing 87-day journey across Europe, he arrived in London. Akkad was part of the team that made Exodus: Our Journey to Europe which won the BAFTA for Best Factual Series or Strand in 2017. He worked in film and TV production and for Choose Love, a refugee advocacy organization until the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when he took a job as an NHS hospital cleaner at Whipps Cross hospital in east London. He documented the pandemic through photographs of his colleagues posted on social media. His posts went viral and he has since been featured in Vogue, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, BBC News and Independent.

Dean Starkman

Dean Starkman is a fellow-in-residence at the Center for Media, Data and Society and a visiting lecturer at the Department of Public Policy, the Central European University. He is the author of The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism, an acclaimed analysis of business-press failures prior to the 2008 financial crisis and theoretical framework for journalism’s past, present, and future.

Previously, he ran the Columbia Journalism Review’s business section, The Audit, a web-based provider of media criticism, reporting and analysis.

Most recently, he was Wall Street correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reporting on the intersection of finance and society from New York. His work on finance and media has also appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, Mother Jones, Washington Monthly, among other publications. An investigative reporter for more than two decades, Starkman covered white-collar crime and national real estate for The Wall Street Journal and helped lead the Providence Journal’s investigative team to a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

Rafia Zakaria

Rafia Zakaria is the author of Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption, The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan, Veil, and many essays for the Guardian, CNN, and The New York Times Book Review. She is a regular columnist for Dawn in Pakistan and The Baffler in the United States. 

Winston Mano and viola c. milton

A discussion titled "Afrokology and Media Studies: Theorising from the Global South" with speakers Winston Mano and viola c. milton, editors of the Routledge Handbook of African Media and Communication Studies.

Ece Temelkuran

Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator, whose journalism has appeared in The GuardianThe New York TimesNew StatesmanFrankfurter Allgemeine, and Der Spiegel. She won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book award for her novel Women Who Blow On Knots and the Ambassador of New Europe Award. She has been twice recognized as Turkey’s most-read political columnist. Her new book Together is coming out in May 2021.