Dr Elisabeth Kendall

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Dr Elisabeth Kendall
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EducationKennedy scholarship
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
OccupationBritish Arabist, academic and commentator
AwardsSchacht Memorial Prize

Elisabeth Kendall is a British Arabist, academic and commentator whose scholarship has ranged from Middle Eastern literatures to militant jihad[1]. She is best known for her work on how Islamist extremists exploit Arabic cultures and traditions.[2]


She attended Beaconsfield High School before reading Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford where she gained the top first class degree for 30 years[3]and was awarded the Schacht Memorial Prize. She secured her first lectureship at Pembroke College, Oxford aged just 23. She was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship[4] to pursue her doctoral research at Harvard University. In 1997 she returned to Oxford to take up a post-doctoral Laming Fellowship at The Queen's College, Oxford.

From 2000 to 2010, she held positions at St Antony's College, Oxford then the University of Edinburgh, where she was appointed Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World. Since 2010, she has been Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. She spends significant time in the field, particularly in Yemen[5]

She is the author or (co-)editor of several books, including Twenty-First Century Jihad, ReClaiming Islamic Tradition, and Literature, Journalism and the Avant-Garde: Intersection in Egypt [1] and has published dozens of book chapters and briefing papers.[6] She conceived of and edits the "Essential Middle Eastern Vocabularies" series, for which she also authored three volumes: Diplomacy Arabic, Intelligence Arabic and Media Arabic.[7]

She has acted as international advisor to a cross-tribal council in east Yemen and is Chairman of a grass-roots Yemeni NGO, the Mahra Youth Unity Association,[2]that promotes community cohesion as a counterweight to extremism and militarization. She sits on a number of national and international Advisory Boards and works on consultancy and pro bono projects in the Middle East.

Kendall appears frequently in the international television, [3]radio and print media. She has been invited to present her research to governments, military and intelligence audiences all around the world.[8]


  1. Petter, Olivia (1 September 2017). "Why reading jihadist poetry might help combat extremism". The Independent.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Marshall, Alex (28 August 2017). "Why I became a jihadist poetry critic". BBC News.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Pembroke College Record, 1993
  4. "Full List of Kennedy Scholars". Kennedy Trust.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Reisz, Matthew (31 July 2014). "Oxford to Yemen: From Literary Scholar to Tribal Advisor". Times Higher Education.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Elisabeth Kendall". Academia.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Essential Middle Eastern Vocabularies". Edinburgh University Press.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "MEI Experts". Middle East Institute, Washington DC.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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