I'm an Economist, with a BA from the University of Aleppo, an MSc from University Putra Malaysia, and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington. I currently work as the Research Director of the Operations and Policy Center and as a part-time Senior Analyst at the New Zealand Treasury. I'm also an independent consultant on Syria's political economy and a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute.
I'm particularly drawn to understanding how we depart from rationality in our thinking and decision-making, and how this drift affects policy design. My favourite books are Nudge by Richard Thaler and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
Photo of our house in Aelppo by my brother, Al-Hakam
I've never felt like a stranger in my new home in New Zealand, where I sought asylum in 2016. I'm lucky to have two countries I can wholeheartedly call home—one in the Middle East and the other in Middle Earth.
Before coming to New Zealand, I lived in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. I grew up in a gorgeous house from the Ottoman era in Aleppo, Syria. As the uprising began in 2011, I took an active role in the civil movement against the Assad regime. Years later, our family home was destroyed, my family and I fled to five different countries, while al-Assad remains in business. Yet, I can't be more optimistic about Syria's future—change is inevitable. Perhaps that’s why Cast Away is, by far, my favourite film.
We see the world through the lens of our experiences. I invite you to take a look through mine.