McGill Islamic Studies prof named Carnegie Scholar


Research focuses on Islamist militancy and recruitment

Khalid M. Medani, an assistant professor of Political Science and Islamic Studies at McGill University, has received a $100,000 Carnegie Scholarship to further examine what leads African youth to join Islamist fundamentalist organizations.

Prof. Medani is the sole Canada-based researcher among 21 recipients of the two-year grants, bestowed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the non-profit funding organization created in 1911 by Scottish-American industrialist, businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The grant will fund Prof. Medani’s ongoing research project, “Joining Jihad: A Comparative Political Economy of Islamist Militancy and Recruitment,” and will build on his previous work examining the political and economic conditions that facilitate fundamentalist recruitment efforts among youth in Egypt, Sudan and Somalia.

“I’ve already conducted extensive research in these three countries, looking at the socioeconomic reasons why young people are joining the Islamist fundamentalist movement and militant groups,” said Prof. Medani, who was born in Sudan but is a U.S. citizen. He joined McGill in August 2006 from Stanford University, where he had been visiting professor of Islamic politics at the Centre for International Security.

He will return to Africa next month to continue his work, which will concentrate on the expansion of hawwalat, unregulated Islamic welfare organizations, and the role of Alahi, or private mosques, in providing an environment conducive to recruiting young militants.

The Carnegie Corporation launched the Carnegie Scholars Program in 1999 to support innovative scholarship in the United States as well as in countries that are or have been members of the British Commonwealth. In 2005, the program began to focus specifically on Islamic issues to promote a deeper understanding of Islam and the modern world. Candidates for the scholarships are generally nominated by their host institutions – Prof. Medani was nominated by Stanford University – and then selected by a committee of program leaders and external advisors.

On the Web:

Contact Information

Michael Bourguignon
McGill University
michael.bourguignon [at]
Office Phone: