Our Team

Our Team | Al Qasim Foundation | Ras Al Khaimah | Diversity


  • Visiting Scholar

    Dr. Elizabeth Buckner

    Dr. Elizabeth Buckner is an Assistant Visiting Professor of International Comparative Education and Middle East Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her position is sponsored through a formal collaboration among the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, and Teachers College. As part of her position, Elizabeth regularly conducts field research in Ras Al Khaimah and the United Arab Emirates and contributes to the Foundation’s broader work.

    In addition to her academic research, Elizabeth has also worked in research consultancies and internships with numerous non-profits and international development organizations. She is interested broadly in globalization, education and international development policy. She has researched various aspects of globalization’s effect on education, including textbook portrayals of globalization, the growth of English language learning, and the privatization of higher education.

    Elizabeth completed her Ph.D. in International and Comparative Education and Sociology and Education at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education in 2014. She holds a M.A. in Sociology from Stanford and a B.A. in Educational Studies and Sociology from Swarthmore College, where she graduated with Highest Honors in 2006.

  • Visiting Scholar

    Sandeep Agrawal

    Dr. Sandeep Agrawal is an internationally recognized urban planning scholar and practitioner with over 20 years of experience. Currently, he is a Professor and the Inaugural Director of the Urban and Regional Planning Programs at the University of Alberta in Canada. His expertise lies in international development and planning and he has been a recipient of multiple international faculty fellowships and grants to conduct research works in Canada, India, Sri Lanka and China. He has experience working in a variety of capacities here in the UAE and has collaborated extensively with the American University of Sharjah.

    Dr. Agrawal received his Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois in 2001. He is currently researching the impacts of affordable housing policies and programs in Ras Al Khaimah. He is examining the location, effectiveness, urban impact, and policy alignment of housing programs in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE, while comparing and contrasting housing for Emirate households with that for expatriates to uncover possible lessons that can be learned.

  • Visiting Scholar

    Beth Derderian

    Beth Derderian is a cultural anthropologist currently based in the UAE. She holds an MA in Near Eastern and Museum Studies from NYU, and is a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Beth received a Fulbright to conduct her research in the 2015-2016 academic year, and is currently a visiting doctoral scholar at the Al Qasimi Foundation in 2016-2017. Her research focuses on the development of arts and cultural initiatives in the UAE.

    She is currently researching contemporary arts practice by interviewing and working closely with artists, curators, gallerists, and other arts-related professions. Her research explores professionalization and cultural infrastructure, critique, the role Dubai plays as art hub within the Gulf region, emerging arts initiatives across the emirates, and the relationship between commerce and art. Beth is also researching arts and cultural initiatives and opportunities in Ras al Khaimah. She is researcher-in-residence at Tashkeel, and has written for Canvas and Ibraaz.

  • Visiting Scholar

    Emily Winchip

    Emily Winchip is currently a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on the experiences of teachers with a specific focus on teachers in international and for-profit schools. She is interested in feminist, quantitative approaches to research and specializes in Rasch analysis.

    Emily has previously worked as an international educator, teaching music in Dubai, Kuwait, and in Oregon, USA. She received a Master of Education in Educational Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment from the University of Illinois – Chicago in 2014 and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Western Illinois University in 2006. While with the Foundation, Emily will be investigating the business influences on teachers’ work in the United Arab Emirates.

  • Non-resident Researcher

    Elizabeth Bruce

    Elizabeth holds a BS with Honors in Textile Chemistry from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. Currently, she is pursuing an MEd in Globalization and Educational Change at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Her research interests center on sub-Saharan Africa, specifically focusing on the areas of health research partnerships and academic publishing. Elizabeth has also been involved with work related to the migration and resettlement of Syrian refugees in Europe and is part of collaborative work examining the scientization of mass education worldwide. For her internship with the Foundation, Elizabeth is providing background research support for a research project exploring global trends in boys educational attainment and retention.

  • Foundation Photographer

    Rhys Simpson-Hopkins

    Rhys Simpson-Hopkins is from Wales and arrived in the United Arab Emirates in 2008. He has a passion for working with brands for commercial and fashion photography and has served as Creative Director on campaigns/projects for clients such Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority, Al Marjan Island and Ras Al Khaimah Hospitality Holding. He also produces and directs videography. Rhys is known for his creativity and his natural, keen eye for detail, his professionalism that creates an easy working environment, and his ability to manage projects. He is driven to produce results and form long-lasting relationships with ambitious clients.

    Rhys has collaborated with the Al Qasimi Foundation on various award ceremonies and public events.