Zahra Babar

ZahraZahra Babar is Associate Director for Research at CIRS at Georgetown University in Qatar. Previously, she has served with the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Development Program. Her current research interests include rural development, migration and labor policies, and citizenship in the Persian Gulf states.








  1. Babar, Zahra. "Purveyors of Dreams: Labour Recruiters in the Pakistan to Saudi Arabia Migration Corridor." Journal of Migration and Development (2020): 1–18.

  2. Khattab, Nabil, Zahra Babar, Michael Ewers, and Miriam Shaath. "Gender and Mobility: Qatar’s Highly Skilled Female Migrants in Context." Migration and Development (2020): 1-21.

  3. Babar, Zahra, Michael Ewers, and Nabil Khattab. “Im/mobile Highly Skilled Migrants in Qatar.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45, no. 9 (June 2019): 1-18.
  4. Babar, Zahra. “The ‘Enemy Within’: Citizenship-Stripping in the Post-Arab Spring GCC.” The Middle East Journal 71, no. 4 (2017): 525-43.
  5. Babar, Zahra. “The ‘Humane Economy’: Migrant Labour and Islam in Qatar and the UAE.” Sociology of Islam 5, no. 2-3 (2017): 200-23.
  6. Babar, Zahra. “Population, Power, and Distributional Politics in Qatar.” Journal of Arabian Studies 5, no. 2 (2015): 138-55.
  7. Babar, Zahra. “The Cost of Belonging: Citizenship Construction in the State of Qatar.” The Middle East Journal 68, no. 3 (2014): 403-20.

Book Chapters

  1. Babar, Zahra. “Migrant Labor and Human Rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries.” In Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary Global Affairs, ed. Mahmood Monshipouri, 231-248. London: Routledge, 2020.
  2. Babar, Zahra. “Labor Migration in the Persian Gulf.” In Routledge Handbook of Persian Gulf Politics, ed. Mehran Kamrava, 216-231. London: Routledge, 2020.
  3. Babar, Zahra. “Understanding Labour Migration Policies in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries.” In Asianization of Migrant Workers in the Gulf Countries, eds. S. Irudaya Rajan and Ginu Zacharia Oommen, 37-53. Singapore: Springer, 2020.
  4. Babar, Zahra. “Enduring Contested Citizenship in the GCC.” In The Middle East in Transition: The Centrality of Citizenship, eds. Nils A. Butenschøn and Roel Meijer, 115-132. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.
  5. Babar, Zahra. “Working for the Neighbours: Arab Migrants in Qatar.” In Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC, ed. Zahra Babar, 19-38. Oxford University Press/Hurst 2017.
  6. Babar, Zahra, and Andrew Gardner. “Circular Migration in the Gulf States.” In Impact of Circular Migration on Human, Political and Civil Rights: A Global Perspective, eds. Carlota Solé, Sonia Parella, Teresa Sordé, and Sonja Nita. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2016.
  7. Babar, Zahra, and Dwaa Osman. “Women, Work, and the Weak State: A Case Study of Pakistan and Sudan.” In Fragile Politics: Weak States in the Greater Middle East, ed. Mehran Kamrava, 197-226. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016.
  8. Babar, Zahra, and Mehran Kamrava. “Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East.” In Food Security in the Middle East, 1-18. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2014.
  9. Babar, Zahra. “Migration Policy and Governance in the GCC: A Regional Perspective.” In Labor Mobility: An Enabler for Sustainable Development, 121-142. Abu Dhabi: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies (ECSSR), 2013.
  10. Kamrava, Mehran, and Zahra Babar. “Situating Labor Migration in the Persian Gulf.” In Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf, 1-20. Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2012.

Edited Books/Journals

  1. Babar, Zahra, guest ed. "Citizenship." CIRS Special Issue of Middle East Journal 73, no. 4 (Winter 2019).
  2. Babar, Zahra, and Elizabeth Wanucha, guest eds. "Family in the Arabian Peninsula." CIRS Special Issue of Hawwa 16, nos. 1–3 (November 2018).
  3. Babar, Zahra, ed. Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC. Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2017.
  4. Babar, Zahra, and Suzi Mirgani, eds. Food Security in the Middle East. Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2014.
  5. Kamrava, Mehran, and Zahra Babar, eds. Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf. Hurst/Columbia University, 2012.

Conference Papers

  1. Akbar, Fatema, Dr Ingmar Weber, Dwaa Osman, and Zahra Babar. “Politicization Of Migrant Communities In The GCC As Seen On Twitter.” In Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference, no. 1, 2014.


  1. Babar, Zahra. "Locked Down but Essential: Gulf Migrant Workers and the COVID-19 Pandemic." MERGE Snapshot Analyses, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, July 2020.
  2. Babar, Zahra, and Irene Promodh. "Overcoming Isolation: Migrants, Connectivity, and Covid-19 in Qatar." CIRS Online Brief, May 28, 2020.
  3. Babar, Zahra. "The COVID-19 Pandemic in the GCC: Underlying Vulnerabilities for Migrant Workers." CIRS Online Brief, April 28, 2020.
  4. Babar, Zahra. “Mobility and Migration from the Southern Mediterranean States to the GCC.” IEMed MediterraneanYearbook 2014, November 2014.
  5. Babar, Zahra. “Labor Migration in the State of Qatar: Policymaking and Governance.” Center for Migrations and Citizenship, Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri), 2013.
  6. Babar, Zahra. “Free Movement of People within the Gulf.” UNU-CRIS/UNESCO World Report, 2011.
  7. Babar, Zahra. “Free Mobility Within the Gulf Cooperation Council.” CIRS Occasional Paper, 2011.