The below profiles reflect current students’ interests in and experiences of Eastern Mediterranean Affairs at The Fletcher School. As you will note, the students span degree programs, fields of study, and disciplines, and they have incorporated regional analysis into their academic coursework, research, summer internships, and professional paths. These profiles are updated frequently, so please check back soon! If you are a current student focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean or related topics in your Fletcher coursework, internship, or capstone, and you want to be featured on the site, please fill out this survey

Layan Damanhouri

Country of Origin: Saudi Arabia

Fields of Study: Technology Policy

Fares Language Table Leader: Arabic, 2021

Layan is a second-year MALD focusing on tech policy and development. Prior to Fletcher, she worked as a journalist covering news in politics, economy and society. She was also a tech editor in which she traveled regularly to cover business and industry events. Layan holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science with a regional focus on the Middle East from Sciences Po Paris. Her hometown is Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  


Ben Drolet

Country of Origin: United States

Fields of Study: International Security; Religion and Diplomacy

Ben started work with The Fares Center in January 2020, when he began his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy at The Fletcher School. His academic and professional interests include international politics, security, and religion. Before attending Fletcher, Ben worked for two years in Beirut, Lebanon, with an NGO focusing on conflict resolution and humanitarian aid. He received his B.A. in International Relations and certificate in Conflict Management from Pepperdine University. This fall, Ben will begin the second half of his dual degree at Harvard Divinity School.


Mustafa Gül

Country of Origin: Turkey

Fields of Study: International Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

Fares Language Table Leader: Turkish, 2021

Mustafa is a first-year Januarian MALD student. He is a graduate of Bogazici University in Istanbul, where he studied Political Science and International Relations. While completing his undergraduate degree, Mustafa also participated in an exchange program at the American University of Beirut. Prior to beginning his studies at Fletcher, Mustafa worked as a tax analyst for Ernst & Young.  


Julie Salloum

Country of Origin: Syria

Fields of Study: Human Security; International Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

Fares Language Table Leader: Arabic, 2021

Julie grew up in Syria and moved to the U.S. in her early twenties. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science/Dental Hygiene and worked as a dental hygienist for over a decade. However, given the refugee crisis in her home country of Syria, Julie became eager to get involved in humanitarian work, especially with female refugees. She is currently a master’s candidate in the Mid-Career program at The Fletcher School and focusing her studies on Human Security and Conflict Resolution. She is delighted to join the Fares Center as an affiliated student and to lead an Arabic Fares Language Table.  


Eda Nur Yilar

Country of Origin: Germany

Fields of Study: International Business

Born and raised in Berlin, Eda Nur Yilar holds an MA in Global Studies from Humboldt University. As part of her education, she lived in Ireland, Thailand, India, and South Africa. Her professional experience is based at the intersection of the public and private sector, where she has worked for a number of institutions such as the Federal Foreign Office, Volkswagen, the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, and Microsoft. As the Director of the Sakura Peace Institute in India, she has worked to raise awareness about the importance of education for marginalized communities. Hence, she hosted an event on the subject of “Education for Transformation” at the sidelines of the 50th Annual World Economic Forum in Davos. She is involved in supporting underprivileged youth in Berlin and contributed to the public discussion of identity and integration through different volunteering organizations. Eda is fluent in German, Turkish, and English and considers herself a Global Citizen. 



Alexander Kochenburger 

Country of Origin: United States

Fields of Study: Human Security and Conflict Resolution 

Alex is a first-year MALD student originally from Storrs, Connecticut. He received his B.A. in International Studies from the College of the Holy Cross. Before attending Fletcher, Alex was an employee of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program with AMIDEAST in Washington, D.C. and also studied Arabic with the Center for Arabic Study Abroad program. His primary interests lie in international education, youth engagement, and conflict resolution. 


Miriam Israel

Miriam is in her first year as a dual-degree student at the Fletcher School and the Harvard Divinity School studying environmental policy and the role of faith communities in combatting climate change. She previously worked at a refugee resettlement agency as well as at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, supporting inclusive governance and political organizing by LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities and religious and ethnic minorities. She grew up in Maryland and speaks Hebrew, Arabic and French.





Dana Duffis

My Name is Dana Duffis, I’m a first year MALD student focusing on migration and refugee’s resettlement. I studied Peace and Conflict Studies and Political Science as an undergraduate. I’m originally from the Middle East, Half Iraqi and half Palestinian. I work for the International Institute of New England and love to help non-native speakers to learn more about the Middle East and the Arabic language. I’m hoping to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees someday.



Will Crass

Country of Origin:USA

Fields of Study: Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization;United States

Will is a second year MALD student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,focusing on the Middle East. He is originally from the Boston area and received his BA in 2019 from Dickinson College in International Studies and Arabic.Prior to his time at Fletcher,Will worked in Egypt at The American University in Cairo.He is interested in political movements and 20th-century history in the Levant and Iraq



Nezihe Fazilet

Country of Origin: Turkey

Fields of Study:International Development & Law and Institutions

Nezihe is a second-year JanuarianMALD student focusing on law and institutions, international development, and development economics. She received her B.A. in Economics from Bilkent University in Ankara. Prior to Fletcher, she worked as a senior legislative expert concentrating on gender equality and European Union harmonization at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara and as a foreign law consultant at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. She joined the Fares Center in Fall 2021 and leads the Turkish Language Table.