Ahmed Ali Salem

Associate Dean - Associate Professor

I graduated from Cairo University with a B.Sc. in political science with distinction, then joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I earned an M.A. in African Studies (2002) and a Ph.D. in political science (2006). I also worked as an independent instructor and teaching, research and graduate assistant. Upon graduation, I joined Zayed University as an Assistant Professor, and in 2011, I was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. In summer 2018, I was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Political and International Studies at South Africa’s Rhodes University where I taught a postgraduate course and was nominated as a Senior Research Associate.

At Zayed University I was the first Assistant Director of the Institute for Islamic World Studies (2012-2013) and chaired several university, college and department committees. I also coordinated two international conferences, a nationally-funded research project, a seminar series, two graduate and undergraduate courses, and the designing of new graduate and undergraduate programs. Currently, I am Associate Dean at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Research and Professional Activities

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 or so I authored, edited and translated tens of books, book chapters, and journal articles in Arabic and English, and made tens of presentations in international fora on these issues. 

Current Projects:

  • Tunisian-French relations post 2011
  • Islam and the West in Ali Mazrui’s African and Global Studies
  • An Islamic civilizational perspective in international relations teaching and research 


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

Teaching Areas

Graduate Courses at Zayed University

International Relations

Area Studies: The Middle East

Sectarianism in the Muslim World

Forms of Economic and Social Development in the Muslim World

Epistemology and Research Methodology


Undergraduate Courses at Zayed University

International Organizations

History of Modern Middle East

Islamic Civilization I

Islamic Civilization II

Independent Study

Arabic Concepts

Selected non-ZU Courses

Critical and Non-Western International Relations Theories (Graduate)

Comparative Politics in the Third World

Introduction to Comparative Politics

Introduction to International Relations

Study Abroad

Publications in 2017 and 2018 only

  1. Ahmed      Ali Salem, “Promoting or Resisting Change? The United States and the      Egyptian Uprising (2011-2012),” in Geoffrey F. Gresh and Tugrul Keskin      (eds.), U.S. Foreign Policy in the      Middle East: From American Missionaries to the Islamic State (London:      Routledge, 2018) ISBN 9780815347149 (in English) – listed in      SCOPUS
  2. Ahmed      Ali Salem, “Determinants of State Compliance with      International Legal Obligations: A Critical Reading of International      Relations Theories,” in Chougrani Elhoucine and Abdur-Rahim Khalis (eds.),      Human Being and Environment: Intellectual, Social and Economic      Approaches (Beirut: Center for Arab Unity Studies, 2017) pp.207-220      (in Arabic). ISBN 978-9953-82-806-0
  3. Ahmed Ali Salem, “Ali Mazrui’s Islamic Studies: Defending Oppressed Muslims,      Reforming Islamic Thought,” in Kimani Njogu and Seifudein Adem (eds.), Critical      Perspectives on Culture and Globalization: The Intellectual Legacy of Ali      Mazrui (Nairobi: Twaweza Communications, 2017) pp.161-177 (in      English) ISBN: 978-9966-028-67-9