TEAM

We have an experienced core team, and we have built a consulting network of international experts which we draw on to assemble teams to meet the needs of each project.

FOUNDERS

Partner

Istanbul, Türkiye

A consultant on urban planning, development and local governance.  A Partner at LUGARIT, where he is engaged in facilitating various dialogue and research projects for peace building and recovery planning in Syria.  His professional and published research covers the institutional, financial and political aspects of the urban built environment; housing, land and property (HLP); and the war economy.  Formerly, he was the CEO of the Syria Trust for Development, and served on the boards of several NGO’s, and public commissions.  In 2007, Mr. Hallaj was the recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture as team leader of the Shibam Urban Development Project. He subsequently served on the master jury.  He is currently a member of the Syrian Constitutional Committee as part of the civil society delegation.

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Partner

Melbourne, Australia

An advisor to governments, businesses, and civic organizations in the built environment and social impact space.  As a Partner in LUGARIT, he handles the management of the think tank.  He is also a Principal at THΘHT, a boutique consultancy that provides advisory services to public and private sector clients.  He consulted for the GIZ on numerous international cooperation programs in Syria, and led engagements with 100+ clients on a variety of projects in the fields of architecture, urban development, historic rehabilitation, natural resources, economic development, tourism, branding, and marketing.  Educated as an architect and an urban planner, Nihad was a Fulbright Scholar and holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, USA.  

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Director

Berlin, Germany

An expert in international development projects.  As a Director in LUGARIT, he leads projects and publications focused on Syria and the Arab region.  His professional and research work covers civil society development, local governance, peace building, conflict resolution, humanitarian aid, gender mainstreaming, facilitation, and training.  Since 2016, he has supported the UN Office of Special Envoy to Syria by facilitating the meetings of the Women Advisory Board and the Civil Society Support Room.  Previously, he was the CEO of the French NGO UOSSM, where he managed a coalition of humanitarian and medical organizations from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and Turkey providing independent and impartial relief to victims of war in Syria.  Holds a PhD in Management from the Arab Academy for Finance and Banking Sciences, and post-doctoral studies at the Technical University in Berlin, Germany.

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CONSULTING  NETWORK

Our consulting network model enables us to assemble teams whose skills align perfectly with the unique requirements of each project, ensuring stellar results. This approach not only leverages the best talent for our clients but also fosters a work environment where our consultants are engaged in work that matches their passions and expertise. 


Our virtual workforce is a tapestry woven from over 160 independent consultants. This pool of talent is not just a group of individuals but a multicultural mosaic representing over 20 nationalities, residing in more than 30 countries across continents including Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and North America.


Our network spans generations, including vibrant minds from their 20s to the seasoned wisdom of those in their 70s, ensuring a blend of fresh perspectives and experienced insights. Gender balance is a cornerstone of our network, with an equal representation of male and female consultants.


The specialties of our network members are as diverse as their backgrounds. With over 30 fields of expertise, our consultants bring a wealth of knowledge in areas like advocacy, anthropology, architecture, cartography, civil society, communications, community development, data analytics, data science, disabilities, economics, facilitation finance, gender, geography, governance, heritage conservation, housing land and property, human resources, human rights, infrastructure, information technology, international relations, journalism, landscape design, law, local development, logistics, mapping, media/news, mediation, micro credit, migration, monitoring and evaluation, peace, politics, poverty, project management, public relations, research, refugees, scenario development, sociology, strategy, training, urban design, urban development, urban planning, urban ecology.

SUBJECT  MATTER  EXPERTS

Subject Matter Expert 

Bonn, Germany

A senior researcher and project leader at the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) in Germany.  Esther's current research focuses on differing local vs. Western conceptualisations of war, conflict resolution, reconciliation and peace. With a geographical focus on Syria and Iraq, her research also analyses the local impact of humanitarian, development and peacebuilding assistance and negotiations of power. She holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester.  She also teaches as an associate lecturer at the University of Bonn.

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Subject Matter Expert

Rome, Italy

A cultural heritage specialist and community development practitioner. Her work revolves around the convergence of academic research and field-based practice in the Near East, Arab, and Mediterranean regions. She has led national and transnational projects, with a primary focus on community development in conflict zones. Her expertise lies in addressing challenges like rural marginalization, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and exclusion through the development of methodologies involving local resource mobilization and understanding of governance policies. Her research interests extend to exploring the politics and people's interpretations of heritage and cultural identities.

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Subject Matter Expert

Paris, France

An urban planner and researcher. Petra’s professional projects encompass spatial planning, urban design, and policy studies.  Her research spans topics such as land, property, planning, housing, public space, mobility, migration, and climate change.  Petra's work has been featured in numerous professional and academic publications.  She holds a BA and MA in Architecture from the Lebanese University, and a Master of Urban Design and Planning from the American University of Beirut.  Currently, she is pursuing her PhD at Sciences Po, Paris, focusing on state property and public domains.

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Subject Matter Expert 

Paris, France

A senior consultant on economy, finance, labor, and urban planning. President of the "Cercle des Economistes Arabes". Former Editor in Chief and General Manager of “Le Monde diplomatique éditions arabes”. Professor of political economy at the University of Paris Dauphine-PSL, Paris I Sorbonne and Saint Joseph, Beirut.  His professional experience includes managing companies in several sectors, from hi-tech to banking to economic research, and advising large companies, governments, the UN, and the World Bank Group.  He was also active with UN agencies for reconciliation and peace-building in Syria, and he created an NGO partnering with UNHCR for the high education of Syrian refugees.  Studied at Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées , Postgraduate from the “Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales”, the “Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires” and HEC Executive Management (CPA-HEC).

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CONSULTANTS

Consultant

Paris, France 

An urban planner with a passion for cartography and data science, dedicated to enhancing location intelligence in vulnerable geographies. Through consultancy services offered in Paris and Istanbul, he contributes to research, design, dialogue and education initiatives. Strives to leverage innovative technologies and collaborative approaches to drive sustainable urban development and territorial innovation.

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JUNIOR  CONSULTANTS 

Hasan Masri

Research Assistant 

Istanbul, Türkiye

A Research Assistant at LUGARIT, specializing in research on authoritarian regimes, decentralization, democracy, and democratization.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Istanbul University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the same field at Ibn Haldun University. Hasan has previous experience as a project assistant for Civilians for Justice and Peace.

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Haya Mercan

Research Assistant 

Istanbul, Türkiye

A Research Assistant at LUGARIT, where she participates in literature review and data collection and analysis.  She also manages our library of 6,000+ books.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Istanbul Bilgi University, and will soon be pursuing her Master's degree in Psychology.  Haya has previous experience as a sales consultant.  

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