Photo of Zahraa Al-Ahmad

Zahraa Al-Ahmad

Student Researcher

Degrees:B.P.S. (York), M.P.S. (Carleton)

I am a graduate of Carleton University’s political science MA program. Before completing my MA at Carleton, I completed my BA in political science at York University. Since the start of my studies, I have been interested in researching about the connections between middle eastern affairs and the broader topic of international relations . While completing my MA, I got the opportunity to focus my research on the Syrian refugee crisis within Lebanon and the varying factors that explain the trajectory of Lebanon’s refugee policies. In my free time, I greatly enjoy cooking and listening to music.

My passion for understanding and researching the realities of the refugee crisis within Lebanon is what originally drew me into the LERRN project. I was particularly excited about the fact that LERRN would be working in partnership with local actors on the ground in order to conduct this much needed research.  Connecting with local actors is one of the most important aspects of international research. Through the partnership with local research groups, I was hoping to be fully integrated into a project that gives voice and leadership to local academics and researchers. This was particularly important to me because I believe that this is the first and most important step to conducting fair and accurately contextualized research.

While serving as a researcher for LERRN, I explored the education to employment trajectory of Syrian and Palestinian refugees by mapping out the educational and employment policy plans of the Lebanese government. I also researched and analyzed the ways in which varying sociopolitical, economic, and historical factors converge to define the reality on the ground for refugees. I greatly enjoyed traveling around Beirut and conducting interviews with local NGOs that work to develop education and employment initiatives for Syrian and Palestinian refugees. This was a very eye-opening and educational experience that allowed me to directly connect with individuals and organizations who directly work through the difficult and limited conditions in order to improve the lives of refugees.