Field-tripping with my Harvard students

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.

Stateside she has taught at Columbia, Brown, and Harvard, where she received an award for teaching excellence. For her expertise in Islamic law, she has been a Research Scholar in Law and Islamic Law and Civilization Research Fellow at Yale Law School, and an editor for Harvard Law School’s SHARIASource.

She has taught abroad as the Whittlesey Chair of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut, an Associate Professor at Sichuan University–Pittsburgh Institute in China, and an Assistant Professor at Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman. She is presently a fellow at the American Institute for Indonesian Studies in Java and a professor in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

Field-tripping in Byblos (Lebanon)

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, Mongolia, Tibet, 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, the Sultanate of Oman, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has expanded her global horizons as an educator and professor.

Her record of teaching excellence in the Ivy League, Asia, the Middle East, and Persian Gulf attests to her strong ability to effectively communicate knowledge across borders and disciplines. 

Sudanese colleagues at my Malcolm X talk in Beirut
Nahr el-Kalb

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. 

As she works in a variety of geographies, she is always interested in expanding programming to be groundbreaking and inclusive.  

As the Whittlesey Chair of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut, she co-created the new Semitics Studies Program – the first of its kind in the Arabic speaking world — to introduce Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian students to different Semitic languages and literatures (including Hebrew).  

She was also the first professor to teach Ge’ez (Classical Ethiopic) in Lebanon and a course on ancient Sudanese history and archaeology.

As the co-founder of the first mental health awareness initiative in the Middle East run by young people with mental illness, Emily organized mental health awareness events at The American University of Beirut and high schools in Lebanon.

She also conducted disability workshops for Lebanese high school students, yoga classes for Palestinian refugees in Beirut, and photography workshops for disabled Syrian refugees.

In Oman, she helped train new doctors in dealing with sensitive medical situations (Down Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, intersexuality) by way of live simulations with her students who acted as patients.

Emily has also curated a number of unique classroom learning experiences under the pressures of war, authoritarianism, and the pandemic. In Lebanon, she had the rare experience of teaching Islam / Christianity / Judaism to Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian students from Sunni / Shia / Christian / Druze backgrounds – at a time when car bombs were regularly exploding around Beirut. She also taught Sufism to Ibadi Muslim students in the Sultanate of Oman where Islamic mysticism is effectively banned.

In China, she explored the cultures of Xinjiang and Tibet with her students at a time when Chinese repression in both regions was intensifying.

As a result of her global, nomadic life, she is well-positioned to create bridges within and across communities for educational efforts, research production, and dialogue endeavors. Due to her expertise and experience on the road, she has been a guest speaker for Harvard, Columbia, and the Commonwealth Club of California in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

Hosting a historic anti-racism event in China

Emily loves making history with her students, colleagues, and communities. In the People’s Republic of China, she put on the first large-scale anti-racism event (300 students attended!) with American civil rights legends.

In Lebanon, to mark the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, she brought together Sudanese diplomats, professors, students, and migrant workers at the American University of Beirut to present her research on Malcolm X.

While teaching in the Sultanate of Oman, she broke new ground on the Arabian Peninsula in teaching Russian (Chekhov, Gogol, and Dostoevsky), Czech (Vaclav Havel & Kafka), and Uyghur literature (Tahir Hamut), along with the Battle of Algiers and the works of Zadie Smith, Han Kang, Ta-Nehisi Coates, bell hooks, and Angela Davis.

She also produced, directed, and performed the first production of Our Town in the Middle East and the first playwriting festival (in English!) at Sichuan University.

Judging a Communist Youth League music competition in China

Emily’s interdisciplinary research, expat professor life abroad, and far-flung research endeavors make her the very definition of a global scholar passionately dedicated to promoting intercultural dialogue and learning across borders. She takes great joy in watching her students from around the world be accepted into top graduate programs in America.


Whether at home or abroad, Emily loves taking her students on field-trips near and far. At Harvard, she brought her students to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery to view Egyptian Revival monuments and tomb architecture, as well as the colossal Sphinx monument.

Algerian students attending my keynote at the Black Arts Conference in Mostaganem

While teaching in Lebanon, she took her students to on archaeological adventures to Baalbek, Byblos, Nahr al-Kalb, and Sudan House. And when on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the People’s Republic of China, she took her students to view the ruins of Jinsha in Sichuan Province.

Emily 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.

Launching a mental health initiative in Beirut


Entombed in Byblos

• 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

• 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

Producing the first playwriting festival (in English!) at Sichuan University