Marching in the Opening School Ceremony at the American University of Beirut


Speaking with school children in a Masai village in Kenya (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Having completed a BA, MFA, MA, and PhD from Brown, an MA from Columbia, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard by the age of 30, Emily is certainly passionate about learning and education — especially international education. A global citizen herself, Emily is interested in building educational bridges between institutions and students in different parts of the world. Her own educational experience as a graduate student excavating abroad in Egypt, which helped shape her evolving views on international education, was featured in the article “Uncovering Archaeological Treasures” in International Educator Magazine. Having studied in Indonesia, Tajikistan, Russia, China, and the Czech Republic, she is fully aware of the rewards and challenges of studying abroad. Teaching in Lebanon, the People’s Republic of China, and the Sultanate of Oman has expanded her global horizons as an educator and professor.

Having received an award for excellence in teaching at Harvard, Emily is highly adept at sharing her contagious curiosity and the knowledge she’s acquired in the library and on the road.  She is regularly invited to give lectures at home and abroad at universities, cultural organizations, and think tanks.  She is available to give lectures on a variety of global topics for universities, corporations, religious organizations, museums, and the media.

AWARDS & GRANTS (SELECTED–to be updated in 2021):

• Harvard University Award for Distinction in Teaching
• Whittlesey Chair of History & Archaeology at the American University of Beirut
• Fulbright-Hays Fellowship (Indonesia)
• American Center of Mongolian Studies Field-Research Fellowship
• Harvard University Postdoctoral Fellowship
• Harvard University Postdoctoral Research Travel Grant to Iran
• Research Fellow, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University
• Edward Hewett Policy Fellowship (for research in Tajikistan & Afghanistan), National Council for Eurasian and East European Research
• Research Fellow, American Institute for Indonesian Studies
• Keynote Speaker, The Black Arts Movement in the United States and Algeria Conference, Abdelhamid Ibn Badis University (Algeria)
• Featured in a short film by the American Center for Mongolian Studies (
• Invited Expert Guest Speaker in India, Harvard University
• Invited Expert Guest Speaker in Iran, Harvard University
• Invited Guest Speaker in Iran & Central Asia, Commonwealth Club of California
• Mongolian Language Fellow, American Center for Mongolian Studies
• Weston Creative Writing Award, Brown University
• Minnie Hicks Award for Elocution, Brown University
• Travel Research Grant to Mongolia, American University of Beirut
• Chief Epigrapher Research Grant (Great Pyramids), Brown University
• Title VIII Research Scholar Grant (for research in Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan)
• IREX Short-Term Travel Grant (Czech Republic & Slovakia)
• IREX Short-Term Travel Grant (Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan)
• Visiting Research Fellowship, the Social Research Center at the American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan)
• Pepsico Travel Fellowship to Uzbekistan & Karakalpakstan, Columbia University
• Travel Grant from SOAS for a conference on “Russian-Iranian Encounters Since the Early Nineteenth Century” (Iran Heritage Foundation, London Middle East Institute and Soudavar Memorial Foundation)
• Czech FLAS (Foreign Language & Area Studies) Fellowship, Columbia University
• Persian (Farsi) Fellowship, Persian Flagship Program at the University of Maryland
• University of Pittsburgh Slovak Scholarship for language study in Modra, Slovakia
• Critical Language Scholarship (State Department) to study Persian & Tajiki in Tajikistan
• Foreign Language Area Scholarship (FLAS) to study Advanced Russian at St. Petersburg State University in Russia
• Brown University Research Travel Grant to study several Egyptological collections in Russia
• Wilbour Fellowships in Egyptology, Brown University
• Multiple Brown University Summer Egyptology Fellowships
• Graduate Fellowship in Egyptology, Brown University
• Creative Writing Graduate Fellowship, Brown University