Robert McKenzie joins New America as Founding Director of Muslim Diaspora Initiative

Press Release
April 7, 2017

Washington, D.C. – New America is pleased to announce that Robert L. McKenzie, PhD has joined as a senior fellow and founding director of the new Muslim Diaspora Initiative. McKenzie is a domestic and foreign policy analyst and scholar of the Middle East and North Africa, with fifteen years of applied research and work experience for the U.S. government, private sector, and academia.

An anthropologist by training, McKenzie is an expert in forced migration and refugees, refugee resettlement and integration, and Arab and Muslim communities in the United States and Europe. At New America, McKenzie will continue to focus on these issues.

"We are thrilled that Robert has agreed to join New America and provide a much needed and fresh perspective on two separate sets of issues: first, the diverse experiences of Muslim communities in the United States and Europe and second, forced migration and refugees in the Middle East,” said Peter Bergen, vice president of New America. “On both sets of issues, Robert will be a real asset in New America’s efforts to advance a wide range of domestic and international policy discussions."

Before joining New America, McKenzie was a visiting fellow and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he focused on Muslim communities in the West and the Syrian refugee crisis. In his most recent government position, McKenzie served as senior advisor for countering violent extremism (CVE) at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to that position, McKenzie was project director and responsible for establishing and launching the Hedayah Center in Abu Dhabi — the world’s first-ever international center on CVE. His latest book project explores humanitarian assistance to protracted refugee situations in the Middle East.

McKenzie earned his BA in economics from Michigan State University, an MA in security studies and a graduate certificate in Arab studies from Georgetown University, and a PhD in anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.