Resident Research Fellows


Ramazan headshot

Dr. Ramazan Akkır is a post-doc at CME. He is a sociologist of religion, completing his master's thesis on "Religion and Conservatism in Turkey" and his doctoral dissertation on "The Religious Policies of the Republican People's Party," focusing on the relationship between religion and politics. Akkır has authored books and articles in the field of religion and politics and he also includes topics such as religious radicalization and Salafism in Turkey among his research interests. He also has a background in column writing and media and aims to research the religious policies of the Democratic Party in the US and the approach of Muslims living in the US to the Democratic Party.


Headshot of Dr. Asefi looking to the right, wearing a suit

Dr. Mohammad Asefi is a celebrated painter; having produced thousands of pieces depicting everything from idyllic natural landscapes; to his country’s political crises; Kabul’s historic city center, and sporting and cultural occasions. He is most well-known for covering up the living beings present in some of Afghanistan’s most prominent art work when the Taliban first came to power in 1996, before revealing after their regime collapsed, that he had in fact only covered the pictures with temporary watercolor that he subsequently washed off. At CME-US, Dr. Asefi is creating a series of paintings depicting the cultural differences of Muslim communities throughout the world (including in the US, India, and Africa). He has already displayed a collection at ASU’s Harry Wood Gallery called “War and Emotion” and he is hoping to display more of his works in the near future. 

headshot of Najim

Najim Asefi has a Diploma in Business and Administration and is working towards his Masters in Political Science. He has plans to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when he returns to Afghanistan. He is also an art-lover, having worked extensively over the years at his father’s gallery, and managing it when his father was away. Whilst at the Center, Najim is collecting oral histories of Afghan refugees in the Phoenix area, interviewing and collecting the stories and memories of those who came over beginning after the Soviet Union invasion in the 1980s, up until after the American pullout from Afghanistan in 2021 and the subsequent establishment of the second Taliban regime. With Arizona as one of the top states for receiving refugees, and being a recent refugee himself, Najim hopes to bring more attention to the depth and breadth of challenges that Afghan refugees have faced over the years, and their stories of integrating into American society.