Heydemann holds the Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair in Middle East Studies with joint appointments at Smith College’s Department of Government and Brookings’ Center for Middle East Policy. Between 2007-15 he served in numerous leadership capacities at U.S. Institute of Peace’s Washington office including Vice President for Applied Conflict Research Research and Senior Advisor on Middle East issues.
Early Life and Education
Steven Heydemann was raised near New York City. He studied political science at Columbia University. Today, he holds the Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair for Middle East Studies as well as joint appointments in both the Department of Government at Smith College and in its Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair in Middle East Studies – while between 2007 and 2015, he held various leadership roles with the United States Institute of Peace such as vice president for applied research on conflict and senior adviser for Middle East issues.
He serves as a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution. His research interests lie mainly with comparative politics and political economy of Syria as well as authoritarian governance, economic development, social policy reform, political reform, and reform efforts generally.
Steven Heydemann holds the Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Professorship in Middle East Studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and is also an affiliated nonresident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. His research interests encompass authoritarian governance, economic development, social policy reforms, political reforms, civil society engagement and authoritarianism in the Middle East region.
Between 2011 and 2015, Heydemann oversaw USIP’s Syria program including The Day After project. Through this collaboration with Syrian opposition groups, USIP assisted them with transition planning efforts, producing “The Day After: Supporting a Democratic Transition in Syria”, widely utilized during early phases of uprisings by activists, NGOs and governments alike.
Rebuilding Syria at the Rafik Hariri Center brings together local and international experts for two years of study that brings them together to present a development strategy focused on long-term political and economic sustainability for Syria. He regularly writes about Syria and the Middle East for major media outlets; has appeared as an expert witness on television networks like BBC, Al Arabiyya and Al Jazeera; newspapers/magazines including New York Times Foreign Policy Journal PBS
Achievement and Honors
Heydemann holds the Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair in Middle East Studies and is professor of government at Smith College. Between 2007 and 2015, he held several senior roles at the U.S. Institute of Peace including vice president for applied research on conflict, senior adviser on Middle East affairs, and director of The Day After project (USIP-facilitated, monthly meetings between Syrian opposition leaders and subject-matter experts to formulate principles and goals for political transition).
Heydemann was Vice President of Applied Research on Conflict and Senior Advisor for the Middle East at the United States Institute of Peace from 2007-2015, having previously held roles as Director of Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University as well as an associate professor in their Department of Government. A world-renowned expert on comparative Middle Eastern politics with special attention on Syria; Heydemann’s expertise encompasses authoritarian governance, economic development, social policy development and political reform.
Heydemann advises US government, NGOs, and European governments on issues regarding Syria. He writes extensively on this subject for major media outlets, and has appeared as an expert commentator on numerous TV networks as an expert in regards to this conflict.