Elisabeth Kendall

Elisabeth Kendall is Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford University. Her current work examines how militant jihadist movements exploit and feed off traditional local Arab culture(s).

She spends significant time in the field, particularly in Yemen, and is the author or editor of several books, including Reclaiming Islamic Tradition (2016, with Ahmad Khan), Twenty-First Century Jihad (2015, with Ewan Stein), and Literature, Journalism and the Avant-Garde: Intersection in Egypt (2006, paperback 2010). She also conceived of and edits the “Modern Middle Eastern Vocabularies” series, which includes the titles Security Arabic, Intelligence Arabic, and Media Arabic (she also authored the last two titles). 

She has been invited to present her research at numerous universities around the world as well as in various government, military, and security establishments around Europe, America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Previously, she held tenured lectureships or fellowships at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, and Harvard. Before returning to Oxford in 2010, she served as Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, a U.K. government sponsored initiative aimed at building Arabic language-based research expertise focused on jihad and martyrdom.

For the last five years, she has acted as international advisor (pro-bono) to a cross-tribal body in eastern Yemen that promotes social and political cohesion as a counterweight to AQAP & ISIS expansion.

She studied Arabic initially as an undergraduate at Oxford University, receiving the top 1st class degree in Arabic & Islamic Studies for 30 years.

She features regularly in the international media (including BBC TV, Al Jazeera, CNN, TRT, France 24, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, NPR, Russia Today, ABC, Reuters, and the BBC World Service as well as various national broadcasters around Europe).

This individual is a guest contributor for mei.edu, and is not affiliated with The Middle East Institute.