DR. NICOLAI DUE-GUNDERSEN
With four years field experience in the Middle East, I am using my exposure to Jordan, North Africa and the Gulf to explore how MENA governments attempt to maintain legitimacy though non-democratic factors. My work for religious NGOs has helped me develop a model to understand the power of religion as a political platform and my travels across Jordan have allowed me to examine other non-democratic factors manipulated by rulers, including tribalism, local identity and selective enforcement of socio-economic laws and privileges
Guest commentator on the Middle East for various media outlets, including Al Jazeera, CGTN, Sputnik News and Voice of Islam. Topics include the Gulf, Turkey, religion in the Middle East, revolution, Jordan and private military firms
PhD Candidate, Political Science, Kingston University, London.
2016 - present
My thesis is titled The Legitimacy of Arab Governments During the Arab Spring. The PhD programme has allowed me to merge my field experience with structured theory. The result has been that ongoing doctoral research has helped me start a project on nationalism in the Arab world, using countries I have visited as case studies. I envision a series of articles discussing how nationalism is constructed in Arab states. The first of these on Jordan was published by Open Democracy in January 2017, with the second piece on Oman also published by Open Democracy in June 2017.
Lecturer, Research Methodology, Oval Training Centre, Amman, Jordan
June 2015 - August 2016
Teaching exclusively Arab students on the technicalities of academia was both engaging and challenging. My knowledge of Arabic allowed me to focus further on private lessons for MA students and how to approach the academic requirements of their theses (footnoting, contents layout, time management etc).
Adviser, Arab Institute for Security Studies (ACSIS), Amman, Jordan
Advising ACSIS on European NGOs and potential conference partners allowed me to build my network in Jordan with local, regional and Western colleagues from academia and governmental backgrounds. My familiarity with ACSIS partners and conference attendees allowed me to give a substitute lecture at Jordan University on behalf of a professor of MENA energy delayed in Baghdad and unable to attend (June 2015). It also helped strengthen relations with visiting military attaches and led to both my book lecture at Jordan University and my book seminar at the Swiss Embassy in 2016
Qasid Arabic Institute, Levels 1-3, Amman, Jordan
Studying Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) for a year as an intensive course (each semester equivalent to one year of Arabic if part of a political science degree) helped me to engage more with Jordanian culture and in my travels. Concepts of Arab culture were more comprehensible and observable. Further, Arabic knowledge allowed me to diplomatically approach political and religious figures on sensitive subjects
Geneva School of Diplomacy, Switzerland
A one year MA in Geneva forced me to learn French to better cope with locals and helped me start specialising in the Middle East. Many of my later published pieces were written during this period
Editing and proofreading
Norwegian (Second language)