Public Policy PhD candidate Layla M. Hashemi has had a busy year. In addition to doing all the things she needs to do to complete her degree, Hashemi has been invited to participate in several high-profile panel discussions in her area of research: antiquities trafficking and its links to terrorism. She has been working with the Schar School’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) director, Louise Shelley.
In March, Hashemi joined a global three-day conference hosted by NATO called “Building Integrity: Building Capable and Resilient Institutions to Strengthen Our Partnerships.” In addition to Hashemi, panelists included several ministers of defense, thought-leaders in counterterrorism, human trafficking, international security, and several NATO deputy assistant secretaries general.
Following the NATO conference, she traveled to Vienna, Austria, to attend a UN Office on Drugs and Crime expert group on a related interest, cybercrime.
“Layla is taking part in high-level policy fora in emerging areas of security studies,” said Shelley. “With her superior skills in data analytics and social media, she is exploring important issues. Her [speaking engagements] show how she is able to connect her doctoral research to the arts and a broader understanding of the social and cultural context of contemporary Iran.”
In October, Hashemi was invited to spend a week at the 2019 Next Generation Symposium hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based Women in International Security (WIIS). The competitive program saw some 500 applicants from around the world apply to be part of the five-day event; one in 20 were selected. Participants tackled a range of security issues, including power politics and competition, arms control and nuclear security issues, and gender equality in the security field.
“The chance to work with a talented group of scholars and researchers dedicated to promoting a gendered perspective of international peace and security issues comes at a perfect time in my doctoral studies,” she said of the WIIS conference. “In addition to attending receptions hosted by ambassadors and meeting with members of WIIS and the broader Washington policy community, I had the opportunity to present my dissertation research as it relates to the gender and security agenda and gained valuable feedback from experts.”
The new year is already looking like another busy one for the ambitious PhD candidate. In addition to defending her dissertation, Hashemi has been invited to speak in January at the Arthur Sackler Gallery relating her research to the “My Iran: Six Women Photographers” exhibition. In February she will travel to London to present the research findings of TraCCC's Countering the Looting of Antiquities in Syria and Iraq (CLASI) grant. She is co-editing with Shelley and contributing a chapter to a book on antiquities trafficking. Hashemi was honored to receive the Daniel Druckman Fellowship in fall 2019 and is looking forward to presenting her research at a related funding event.
And as for her “spare” time? “I teach violin and Farsi, political science courses, and belly dance—with swords,” she said, demonstrating how she maintains her diverse interests while moving to the finish line in the program.
Read more in the latest Schar School Pulse Magazine.