Networks of Cooperation and Conflict in the Middle East (2017-2018)

In the Middle East, autocratic governments, sectarian conflicts and foreign occupation have put many people in a state of despair and destitution. The nature of social networks is one of the most important determinants of how the region is grappling with these challenges.

This project drew on social network analysis to empirically identify patterns of cooperation and conflict in the Middle East. The team built a research group at Duke that investigated how social networks affect behavior in the context of Middle East.

Team members gathered quantitative and qualitative data on 46 Muslim community grassroots organizations installed in the Research Triangle area between 1960 and 2018.

Students on the team also participated in a seminar course in Fall 2017 that included guest lectures from experts across disciplines. The team also convened a public lecture series of Duke scholars and representatives of nongovernmental organizations with fieldwork experience, to promote exchange between Duke researchers working on networks (related to health, education, poverty, economic opportunity) and people actively engaged in community networks (e.g., Muslim Inclusion Committee (Chapel Hill, NC), Muslim Public Affairs Council (Los Angeles, CA) and Search for Common Grounds (Washington, DC & Brussels, Belgium).

The team also hosted an outreach event with 40 Muslim community leaders at the Assalam Islamic Center in Raleigh in May 2018.


Summer 2017 – Spring 2018

Team Outcomes

Social Network Analysis of Muslim-led Networks in the Triangle (poster by Lela Ali), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

Social Networks and Child Soldier Recruitment (poster by Neelesh Moorthy), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

Network Analysis and Social Policy: A Public Lecture Series

This Team in the News

Why People Join Terrorist Groups


Team Leaders

  • Abdeslam Maghraoui, Arts & Sciences-Political Science
  • Barak Richman, Duke Law
  • David Siegel, Arts & Sciences-Political Science
  • Giovanni Zanalda, Social Science Research Institute

/graduate Team Members

  • Lela Ali, Liberal Studies-AM
  • Margaret Foster, Political Science-PHD
  • Shajuti Hossain, Juris Doctor
  • Hao (Howard) Liu, Political Science-PHD
  • Jordan Roberts, Political Science-AM
  • Juan Tellez, Political Science-AM

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Jared Chappell, Int Comparative Studies (AB), Political Science (AB2)
  • Shajuti Hossain, Economics (BS), Public Policy Studies (AB2)
  • Usha Kadiyala, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Yijun Li, Statistical Science (BS), Mathematics (BS2)
  • Natasha Rothenbucher, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
  • Michael Tan, Economics (BS)
  • Roey Vardi, History (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • David Schanzer, Sanford School of Public Policy

/zcommunity Team Members

  • AssAs Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh
  • Muslim Inclusion Committee
  • Al-Razaq Islamic Center
  • Muslim Women For
  • Muslims for Social Justice
  • The Light House Project
  • Jamaat Ibad Ar Rahman
  • Muhammad Mosque No. 34
  • Cultural Enrichment Center
  • Islamic Association of Cary
  • Apex Masjid
  • Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies
  • Islamic Association of Raleigh
  • Al Muslim Net
  • Triangle Muslim Aid
  • Triangle Association of Muslim American Mothers
  • Masjid Tawheed wa Sunnah
  • W. Deen Mohammed Islamic Center
  • Triangle Muslim Professionals
  • North Durham Masjid