Social Inquiry formed in 2017. The impetus for starting it came from working as researchers in Iraq amid conflict, mass displacement, and political and economic crises. In witnessing how often the best intended programming and policy, from livelihoods assistance to rule of law reforms, fail to hit the mark because they never effectively take into account the messy, all too human complexity of fragile communities, we seek to fill in this gap: to put the “social” back into social science and the “human” back into the study of human development. To understand what vulnerability means in a given context, what social cohesion can look like, what true and legitimate justice entails, how change is possible. And why.
Check who we work with here.
WE ARE INQUIRY
Nadia is a cross-disciplinary researcher and writer interested in the links between cultural practice, social dynamics, and justice. As a co-director at Social Inquiry, she leads research exploring identities and belonging in displacement (and return), measuring social cohesion, and understanding what reconciliation and accountability mean to communities. She has previously worked with Oxfam, the Middle East Research Institute, the Afghanistan Analysts Network, the Applied Theatre Collective, and the International Center for Transitional Justice, among others. Nadia has also helped produce art/design events in New York City that have garnered national and international attention. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and an MSc. in Evidence-Based Social Interventions from the University of Oxford.
Roger is an economist by background but aims to go beyond economics, reconciling development with social cohesion. In Social Inquiry, he leads the application of quantitative analysis to better understand conflict and its aftermath on community dynamics – experimenting with data visualization to better share findings. Prior to starting Social Inquiry, Roger worked for several years in Iraq on research projects with UNHCR, Middle East Research Institute, the International Organization for Migration, and UNDP. Previously, he has six years of experience in environmental and natural resources policy research in Spain and the United Kingdom. He holds a BSc. in Economics from Universitat de Barcelona and an MSc. in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics.
Aaso Ameen Shwan
Aaso is a researcher located at the intersection of security and politics. In this role at Social Inquiry, Aaso has focused on exploring how political dynamics, reconciliation needs and security configurations combine in the aftermath of conflict – with a particular focus on the disputed territories of Iraq. Prior to co-starting Social Inquiry, he served as news assistant covering the Mosul Offensive for The Washington Post and as a research assistant with the Middle East Research Institute. In addition, as Kirkuk-native he worked with the U.S. Military, including the Army Corps of Engineers. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the School of Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg.
Joshua is an anthropologist and humanitarian researcher with a passion for creating and using applied research and narrative content to influence policy and design that reflects the day to day, lived experience of refugees and immigrants. His research topics of particular interest include mental health, sex and gender based violence, oral histories, identity, conflict narratives and memory, and the impact of aid and development on local communities. He has worked for more than ten years with local organizations and NGOs in the Middle East, mostly recently managing psychosocial support programming for Syrian refugees in Jordan. He has degrees from Davidson College and SOAS, University of London, and also spent time studying at the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo.
Elaf joined Social Inquiry in 2017, contributing to project implementation and design with her extensive experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative fieldwork. She brings the best from Sulaimaniya and Baghdad to Social Inquiry. Elaf oversees the formation and management of diverse teams of enumerators across Iraq as well as the organization of field operations. Previously, she worked as a field officer for the International Organization for Migration in Iraq. She graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Salahaddin University.
Sogand is an Iranian-American researcher and media specialist with over six years of experience in the Middle East. Prior to moving to Erbil, she was pursuing a Master’s degree in History at the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies in Tehran and working as a media manager for See You in Iran. Her areas of interest include migration and gender studies, and she previously worked in outreach for Middle Eastern-American non-profits. Sogand received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Middle East Studies from Fordham University in New York City.
Linda is an economist with interests in development, trade and the politics that determine the two. She is interested in using empirical methods to break down policy issues into answerable questions. As a part-time data analyst at Social Inquiry, she helps to investigate patterns of displacement and returns and the socio-economic conditions associated with those decisions. Prior to working with Social Inquiry, Linda worked as a researcher and livelihoods program officer in Iraq. She holds a BA in International Relations and Economics from the University of Southern California, and is currently pursuing a MA in Applied Economics at Georgetown University.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. Sari Kouvo
Co-Founder, Afghanistan Analysts Network, Professor of Law, Gotenburg University, Sweden
Dr. Farhan Siddiqi
Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-e Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Senior External Relation Officer, Rule of Law Collaborative, University of South Carolina