Georgetown University Faculty CIRS Grant Recipients

With a goal of contributing to the existing body of knowledge about the region through original research, CIRS awards research grants to faculty members from Georgetown University. CIRS funds empirically-based, original research projects, and creates a scholarly forum through sponsored research meetings where grant recipients share their research findings with other academics, policymakers, and practitioners. Below are some of the individual research projects funded by CIRS and conducted by Georgetown faculty members under the umbrella of larger CIRS research initiatives.

 

The Gulf Family

The purpose of this CIRS research initiative is to better understand how structural and ideational forces of change have been reflected in the everyday lives of Gulf families. Few studies have explored the challenges facing the Gulf family in the context of the global forces at play in the Gulf region. In effort to understand how structural and ideational forces of change have been reflected in the everyday lives of Gulf families, CIRS launched a grant-funded, multi-disciplinary research initiative to explore questions related to this topic. One of the funded projects included researchers from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar:
 

The Omani/Zanzibari Family: Its Diasporic Histories, Connectivites and Imaginings

Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
 

Informed by key anthropological debates on kinship and segmentation of “tribal” and familial identities, this study asks several questions in light of Omani historical trajectory as an imperial power in the Zanzibar Archipelago: What is the Omani family? Does the family as an institution of social regulation entrusted with maintaining morality and regulating sexuality vary cross-culturally among Omani-Zanzibari families? What were the social and political forces that impacted the ways in which family networks were forged and/or destroyed? Under what circumstances did the family as a tributary form of an established “tribal” structure prevalent in Oman transform itself into an interest group motivated by politics and economics in both locations on the Indian Ocean Rim?

 

Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC

In January 2013, CIRS launched a new multidisciplinary research initiative titled “Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC.” Since the bulk of ongoing research efforts are focused on non-Arab migrants, the Arab migrant communities present in the Gulf have been a neglected area that merits further scholarly discussion and focus. To investigate some of these issues, CIRS awarded several grants, including to the following Georgetown University faculty members:

The Experiences of Egyptian Migrants in Kuwait

Abbie Taylor and Susan Martin, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University

An examination of the migration flows and experiences of Egyptians in Kuwait will provide a fascinating snapshot of Arab migrants in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Researchers at the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown University in collaboration with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) also at Georgetown University propose an ethnographic study, focusing on the lived experience of Egyptians as migrants in Kuwait, through a literature review, desk analysis of online media sources, and fieldwork comprising of interviews and discussion groups with Egyptian migrants in Kuwait, relevant civil society actors, and government officials. 

 

Migrant Labor in the Gulf 

In 2009, CIRS awarded research grants to scholars interested in conducting primary research and field-work on migrant labor issues in one of the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. A total of thirty-three proposal submissions were received under the grant solicitation. After a rigorous selection process, the research grant committee selected four proposals to fund, including a project by Georgetow University faculty members. Below isbrief descriptions of the project:

Trends, Impacts, and Policy Implications of Lesser-Skilled India-Gulf Migrants 

Mary Breeding and Susan Martin, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University
 
The project assesses trends, impacts, and policy implications of “lesser-skilled” Indian workers migrating to Gulf countries. The researchers note that the numbers of Indian migrants to the Gulf have increased dramatically. Yet, to date, detailed data on the demographic characteristics of lesser-skilled Indian migrants has been extremely limited. The researchers propose to provide the first ever detailed individual-level analysis of Indian migrants going to work in the Gulf region. This research employs a mixed-methods approach involving targeted interviews with key informants – employers and government officials in Gulf countries as well as recruitment agencies in India. This work will allow better assessment of current trends, impacts, and policy implications of low-skilled labor to Gulf States, particularly in light of the current financial crisis.