Ahmed Ali Salem

Acting Dean - Professor

I graduated from Cairo University with a B.Sc. in political science with distinction, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an M.A. in African Studies and a Ph.D. in political science. I joined Zayed University in 2006 as Assistant Professor, and in 2011 was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. I am also a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Political and International Studies at South Africa’s Rhodes University where I also worked as Visiting Professor between 2018 and 2020, teaching a postgraduate course on International Relations Theories three times.

I served Zayed University in many administrative posts, including my current position as the Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Previously, I served as the college’s Quality Assurance Coordinator; Assistant Director of the Institute for Islamic World Studies; and chair of several university, college and department committees. I also coordinated two international conferences, a nationally-funded research project, a seminar series, a graduate program, and an undergraduate course, and contributed to designing new graduate and undergraduate programs. I received Zayed University’s Creative Employer Award (2018) and the Award of Exemplary Performance Recognition (three times).

Research and Professional Activities

Research interests:

My research agenda includes mainstream, critical and non-Western theories of International Relations; modern history and international relations of Africa and the Middle East; foreign policies of Muslim and Western states towards each other; and modern Islamic reformist political thoughts. During the last couple of decades, I authored, edited and translated tens of books, book chapters, and journal articles in Arabic and English, and presented papers in tens of international fora on these issues.

Current Projects:

  • Transformations of Major Intellectual Schools of International Relations
  • Riding the International Relations Discipline of Western Epistemological Hegemony
  • Emphasizing the Quran in Islamic Thought and Jurisprudence


International Relations Theory; Foreign Policy; Muslim-Western Relations; Africa; Middle East; Political Thought; Islamic Thought

Teaching Areas

Graduate Courses

Critical and Non-Western International Relations Theories

International Relations

Area Studies: The Middle East

Sectarianism in the Muslim World

Economic and Social Development in the Muslim World

Epistemology and Research Methodology



Undergraduate Courses

Comparative Politics in the Third World

Introduction to Comparative Politics

Introduction to International Relations

International Organizations

History of Modern Middle East

Islamic Civilization I

Islamic Civilization II

Independent Study

Arabic Concepts

Publications in 2021 and 2020 only

  1. “Islam and the West in Ali Mazrui’s African and Global Studies,” in Mohamed Ashour (ed.), Ali Mazrui: Debates on Identity, Islam and Arb-African Relations (Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies, 2021) forthcoming [Arabic]
  2.  “The Quran as the Only Constitutive Source of Islamic Law,” Comparative Islamic Studies, vol. 14 (1-2), 2021, pp.119-135 [English]
  3.  “Tunisia’s Foreign Policy Towards France Before and After an Undemanding ‘Revolution’: A Theoretical Explanation of the Annahdha-led interim governments’ Soft Policy,” in Paul-Henri Bischoff (ed.), Enhancing Foreign Policy Understandings: Selective Contemporary African Foreign Policy Concepts and Practices (London: Routledge, 2020) pp.158-178. ISBN 9780367348281 Scopus-listed [English]
  4.  “Resisting Islamophobia: Efforts of non-Arab International Organizations and Civil Institutions,” The 15th Yearbook My Ummah and the World (Cairo: Civilization Center for Studies and Researches, 2020) pp.439-468 ISBN 9789772788392. [Arabic]