News from the Bush School

TAMU Awards Tabaar with Jamal Daniel Faculty Fellowship and Middle East Research Endowment Funds

May 01, 2017

Dr. Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar

Dr. Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar

Dr. Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, assistant professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University (the “Bush School”), was awarded the Jamal Daniel Faculty Fellowship for the current academic year.  The Jamal Daniel Faculty Fellowship is funded by a donation from the Levant Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization based in Houston, Texas. The Jamal Daniel Faculty Fellowship enables Dr. Tabaar to expand his ongoing research on the strategic use of religion by political elites in the Middle East.

The Levant Foundation’s mission is to further knowledge about Levantine culture and history as well as the complex interrelations of the three monotheistic religions originating in the region: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Founded by Jamal Daniel, the Levant Foundation seeks to sponsor programs emphasizing subject matter that contributes to intellectual enrichment and fosters multicultural understanding.

The Bush School’s Dean Mark Welsh III expressed his delight for Dr. Tabaar’s recognition by the Levant Foundation: “Congratulations to Dr. Tabaar for receiving this prestigious fellowship,” Dean Welsh said. “We are exceptionally privileged to have faculty members such as Dr. Tabaar here at the Bush School and look forward to the work he will be able to do with this wonderful support from the Levant Foundation!”

Dr. Tabaar’s research lies at the intersection of comparative politics and international relations and focuses on religion, factional politics, and foreign policy. In addition to his appointment at the Bush School, Dr. Tabaar is a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. He recently completed a book manuscript on religious statecraft in Iran and will now be examining the instrumental use of religious ideas in other countries in the region.

Dr. Tabaar thanked the Levant Foundation for its generosity and the Bush School for its support of his research projects. “The fellowship will help correct the much misguided debate on religion and politics in the Middle East,” he said.

The Levant Foundation’s gift establishing a professorship, fellowship, and research endowment has previously supported the Bush School through faculty and student research efforts related to the Middle East. Projects supported by the Levant Foundation include Dr. Erin Snider’s data collection and visualization on networks of professionals engaged in the field of democracy and governance worldwide, but particularly in the Middle East. The information will be included in Dr. Snider’s forthcoming book Engineering Democracy: The Political Economy of Democracy Aid in the Middle East. The Levant Foundation has also supported Bush School students conducting research and studying languages abroad.

“The Levant Foundation congratulates Dr. Tabaar on his receipt of the Jamal Daniel Faculty Fellowship. The Levant Foundation is pleased to continue to support the efforts of the Bush School’s faculty and students in their research, teaching, studies, and professional development,” said Greg Keever, director of the Levant Foundation.