Dr. Fatouh Haikal

Political Advisor - Director of Research

Dr. Fatouh Haikal is a Political Advisor of TRENDS Research & Advisory and Strategic Researcher with over 20 years of experience across many research centers in the Middle East. His areas of interest include Gulf security, extremism, terrorism, and Arab and regional affairs.

Dr. Fatouh has published several books and studies, including one dealing with international efforts to fight terrorism and its implications on national sovereignty. The book was published by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in 2014.

In October 2005, he co-authored a book on civil society in GCC countries, which was published by the Gulf Center for Strategic Studies and Research. Many of Dr. Fatouh’s studies and articles have been published in various periodicals and websites.

Fahad Essa AlMahri

Head of Barometer Department

Fahad Issa Al-Mahri is the Director of the Global Barometer Department at TRENDS Research & Advisory. Mr. Al-Mahri has worked in several agencies and institutions, including the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs.

Prior to joining TRENDS, Al-Mahri worked as Deputy Director of the Opinion Polls Department at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) from 2013 to 2021. He also served as an Opinion Poll Specialist at the ECSSR’s Opinion Polls Department.

In 2012, Al-Mahri graduated from the United Arab Emirates University with Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While working at the ECSSR, he obtained the Specialized Scientific Research Diploma in 2014. Mr. Al-Mahri has also completed training courses on Professional Implementation of Opinion Polls and the Role of Opinion Polls in Public Policy.

Dr. Huda Al-Nuaimy

Political Islam Advisor

Dr. Huda has a PhD in political science from Al-Nahrain University in 1999, and she was appointed – before this – a research assistant at the Center for Palestinian Studies in 1991, then a chief researcher. In 2000, she held the position of Director of the Palestinian Studies Center, then worked as a lecturer at Al-Mustansiriya University/College of Political Science in 2004. After this, she moved to work at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi as a researcher from 2006 to 2014.

Dr. Huda published many researches in local and international scientific periodicals, participated in Arab and international academic symposia and conferences, supervised many masters’ degree students and discussed a number of scientific theses. She also published a book on “Internal Variables in Making Israeli Foreign Policy“, and participated in a collective book on the Iranian project and its extension in the Arab region.

Her research interests focuses on international relations and foreign policies of the countries of the Middle East and Iraq, and on issues of terrorism and extremism, and focuses in her recent work on Iranian policies and its project vis-à-vis the countries of the region.

Dr. Kristian Alexander

Director of International Security & Terrorism Program

Dr. Kristian Alexander is a Senior Fellow and the Director of International Security & Terrorism Program at TRENDS Research and Advisory , as well as an adviser at Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based geopolitical risk consultancy. He has worked as an Assistant Professor at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Dr. Alexander’s papers have been published by numerous outlets, such as the Middle East Institute, The Arab Gulf States Institute (AGSIW), International Policy Digest, International Institute for the Middle East, and Balkan Studies (IFIMES), Inside Arabia, and Fair Observer. His research examines social movements in the Middle East and security-related issues, with a particular interest in migration in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Dr. Mohammed Farid Azzi

Senior Fellow - The Barometer Department

 Dr. Mohammed Farid Azzi has most recently served as an international scholar at the Arab Barometer. Based in the UAE, Dr. Farid earlier headed the Department of Surveys and Public Policy at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) and was Director at the Center of Cultural and Anthropological Research in Algeria from 1995 to 2002. He chaired the Department of Sociology at Oran University in Algeria and worked alongside research teams from France and the United States. He has also done lecture tours in the US and France.

Dr. Farid has published articles on MENA youth attitudes and values, social activism, the generation gap, and Islamic movements in the Maghreb countries. He has contributed to surveys conducted in 1995 and 1997 on values, attitudes, and social change in North African countries at the American Institute of Maghrebi Studies (AIMS). He has supervised over 150 surveys, opinions polls and public policy reports on diverse issues in the UAE from 2003 and 2018.

Dr. Mohammad Abu Ghazleh

Senior Fellow - The Strategic Studies Department

Dr. Mohammad Abu Ghazleh is a Senior Researcher at TRENDS Research & Advisory, Abu Dhabi. He has worked with several Arab and international studies centers since 2006. He was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at The Arab Academy in Denmark (2010-2012) and a Visiting Researcher at IUJ Research Institute, International University of Japan (2001). In addition, Dr. Abu Ghazaleh has taught History at the Integrated College in Kuala Lumpur (2001-2003) and was Press Editor at the Akhbar Al-Usbu’ and Al-Liwa’a newspapers in Jordan (1993-1997). 


Dr. Abu Ghazaleh received Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship (SYLFF) from the Tokyo Foundation to conduct his Ph.D. (1998-2002) and was awarded a certificate of appreciation from Chiang Mai University and the Tokyo Foundation (2003). He also received the Malaysian Technology Collaboration Program (MTCP) Award in 2000. His books include The Structure of the International Political Order: Theory and Analysis (1997, 2020) and International Relations Theory in the 20th Century (2005).


Dr. Abu Ghazaleh has published many studies and research papers in refereed journals and numerous local and international newspapers. He has also presented many working papers at local and international conferences and has delivered lectures on Middle East issues in universities such as the Japanese National Defense Academy, the International Islamic University, and the International University of Japan. He has participated in many youth forums and summits, including Student Forum2000, Prague, Czech Republic (2000), the International Youth Professional Summit (IYPS), Gold Coast, Australia (2001), and Asia/Pacific SYLFF Regional Forum, Chiang Mai, Thailand (2003).  


Dr. Abu Ghazleh received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Jordan (1992) and a Master’s in International Relations from the same university (1995). He has a Ph.D. in International and Strategic Studies from the University of Malaya (2003).

Abdulla Khalifa Matraf

Senior Fellow - Head of Iranian and Turkish Studies Unit

Abdulla Khalifa Matraf is the Head of Head of Iranian and Turkish Studies Unit. From 2011 to 2015, he worked at the Municipal Affairs Authority in several sections, including “Security and Utilities Department, Career Development Section, and Human Resources Department. He joined military officers’ course for university graduates and served as a strategic analysis office in 2002-2010 after completing the course.

He joined several scientific and practical courses in and outside the country, including a diploma course in scientific research at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in 2006, and completed a course in advanced information analysis at the Institute of Strategic Sciences in Egypt in 2008.

Abdulla Khalifa Matraf obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the United Arab Emirates University in 2002.

Mohammad Salim Al-Salimi

Senior Fellow

Muhammad Salim Al-Salimi is a Senior Researcher at TRENDS Research & Advisory. He served as a Media Monitor at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) from 2013 to 2015 and as an Assistant Researcher at the ECSSR’s Opinion Poll Department and Strategic Studies Department from 2015 to 2021.

He participated in a conference held at Naif Arab University for Security Sciences in Riyadh on “The Role of Scholars in Preventing Terrorism and Extremism.” A-Salimi received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the UAE University in 2012 and a Diploma in Research Methodology in 2020.

Dr. Mohamed Bouchikhi

Senior Fellow - The Political Islam Department

Dr. Mohamed Bouchikhi specializes in political affairs and Islamic movements. He holds a Ph.D. in political studies from the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. His current research focus is on political Islam and the religious phenomenon.

Dr. Bouchikhi has worked with several research centers on joint field research programs and reports, organization of cultural events and training workshops for students, administrative personnel and junior researchers. He has also worked in journalism, specializing in cultural reporting.

In addition to a book Religion and the State in the Maghreb during 2011, Dr. Bouchikhi has written several studies and research on topics related to the state, Modernism, Shiism, Salafism, Religious Education, and Islamic Feminism, among others.

Khalid Abd Al-Hamid

Head of Political Islam Department

Mr. Khalid Abdelhamid He is a researcher specialized in political and strategic affairs at the TRENDS Research & Advisory. He has worked at several prominent think-tanks over the last 20 years.

Mr. Abdelhamid began his career at the Egyptian General Information Authority. He then worked as a Non-Resident Researcher at the Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies in Kuwait (Cairo Branch) before joining the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

He has authored many studies, articles, and reports dealing with the Gulf, Arab and international issues. His writings have been published in several political periodicals and journals.

Dr. Nath Aldalala’a

Main Researcher

Dr. Nath Aldalala’a holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies. His research interests include the discourse of representation, American foreign policy in the Middle East, China’s relations with the Middle East (UAE in particular), and China’s global governance.  Aldalala’a is currently serving as a professor of International Relations at Shandong University,  China.

Dr. Wael Saleh

Senior Fellow - Political Islam Program and Head of the Global Trends Follow-up Unit

Prof. Wael Saleh is an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Studies, the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), Canada, and Senior Research Advisor at the Institute of Religious Studies, Montreal University. He obtained a Master’s degree in Applied Political Science with excellence from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, in 2011 and a Ph.D. in Applied Human Science (Political Science and Islamic Studies) with high honors from the University of Montreal, Canada, in 2016.

He is the Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Post-Arab Spring Studies (IEPPA) since May 2017, Associate Researcher at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, UQAM, Canada, since 2013, and Chief Researcher at the Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montreal, Canada.

Prof. Saleh is also the Head of the Research Group on Epistemological and Methodological Challenges in Studies on Violence in the Name of Islam, University Program for the Study of Islam in Europe (PLURIEL), Lyon, France, since 2017. He was elected a member of the board of directors of PLURIEL in 2021.

His published books include Political Islam in the post-Arab Spring Era: Have We Entered the Death-of-Islamism Era? (2017), The Concept of the State in Contemporary Egyptian Thought: Continuities, Changes, and Breaks (2017), and In Search of Modernity of Islam: Contemporary Arab ways (2018). His published papers focus on criticizing and deconstructing the Islamist discourse and its sympathizers, the extremism leading to violence in the name of Islam, and contemporary Arab Islamic thought.

He regularly writes for Al-Ain News, Mominoun Without Borders, and Aswat Online. Prof. Saleh is currently a Visiting Researcher at TRENDS Research & Advisory.

Dr. Mohamed Youssef

Senior Fellow - The Economic Studies Department

Dr. Mohamed Youssef is a senior researcher in the Economic Studies Department at TRENDS Research and Advisory Center, with over 18 years of professional and academic experience. He holds a PhD degree in economics from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University (2016). His thesis evaluated the relationship between Egyptian treasury bills issuance and the efficiency of the Egyptian investment climate. Between 2005-2016, he was a researcher and then a senior researcher at Egypt’s General Authority for Investment, participating in the preparation of specialized financial and economic studies on the business environment in Egypt and other Arab countries. He also participated in many local and international conferences and workshops.

From 2016 to 2019, Dr. Yousef was a faculty member (economics and budget team) at the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, delivering dozens of training programs for Saudi government cadres to develop their capabilities, knowledge and skills in various areas of economic analysis. He also participated in preparing and delivering specialized master’s programs for Saudi government employees and some Arab governments’ employees. His work at IPA enabled him to gain first-hand knowledge about the Saudi business environment and offered him an opportunity to provide specialized economic advice and write articles that were published in Saudi and Arab scientific journals.

Dr. Youssef also worked as a visiting professor for postgraduate studies in the Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt. In 2020, he joined the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research as an associate researcher in the scientific research sector.

Dr. Youssef writes specialized analytical articles in the opinion page of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk. He also writes in various publications of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies and the Saudi Administrative Development Journal.  In addition, he has published many economic studies and specialized papers in several scientific journals. Despite the variety of economic topics covered by his research and studies, including specialized studies on investment, international reserves, export, public spending, taxes and social justice, he mainly focuses on issues of technology, manufacturing, finance and independent development in developing countries.

Yoannis Lahzi Gaid

Former Personal Secretary to His Holiness the Pope of the Catholic Church - Member of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity - Egypt

Yoannis Lahzi Gaid was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1975. He studied at the Coptic Catholic seminary in Cairo. He was ordained priest for Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria, Egypt in 2001.

In 2002 He studied at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, earning a doctorate in the canon law of the Eastern Churches.

In 2006 He edited a volume of texts from the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches.

In 2007 He attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See. His assignments included stints in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon, and as charge d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciatures to Jordan and Iraq. He also served as an Arabic translator for Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis at his general audiences and in meetings with Arabic-speaking diplomats and government officials.

In July 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him a chaplain of His Holiness           with the title monsignor.

In April 2014 Pope Francis appointed him as his Second Personal Secretary. He continues to work for the Secretariat of State as well. His appointment was interpreted as gesture of support for Eastern Catholic churches and dialog with the Arab and Muslim world.

In February 2019 Mgr Gaid participated in the Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates, where the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, was signed in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb.

In February 2019 His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates, has conferred the First Class Order of Zayed II on Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, in recognition of his efforts to guarantee dialogue and coexistence between different religions.

In September 2019 Mgr Gaid was named as one of the first members of a Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. He was also named a member of its executive board.

In July 2020 Mgr Gaid left his service as Personal Secretary of Pope Francis and is currently the President of the Bambino Gesù Association and the Human Fraternity Foundation.