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Introducing Dr Eduardo Abou Ltaif

Monday, 13 February 2017 8:26am

Image of Eduardo Abou LtaifThe Department of Politics congratulates Eduardo Abou Ltaif, who recently completed his PhD.

Eduardo’s PhD topic dealt with factors that influence power sharing arrangements in Lebanon. He traced the origins of power sharing in Lebanon, studied its limitations and strengths, then explained how the weakness lead to civil unrest, while a proper consociational system protects the country from civil war.

“The most fascinating thing I learned during my PhD is how a researcher should be careful in analysing and comparing political systems or societies,” says Eduardo. “Both the context and historical evolution of each system explains the institutional limitations of certain states.”

Eduardo was supervised by Professor William Harris and Dr James Headley, both of the Department of Politics. His primary supervisor, Professor William Harris, notes "Eduardo produced a rich and original survey of Lebanon's vicissitudes since the 1840s in applying a version of consociational politics. He has shown much dedication and imagination in his pursuit of sources and deployment on concepts."

Professor Harris also commended Eduardo's work ethic, "Eduardo presented a number of lectures and seminars during his time at Otago, tutored an undergraduate class on Middle East politics and gave public lectures for large audiences in Invercargill and Queenstown. All of this whilst completing his thesis in three years and having six papers published."

Eduardo looks back fondly at his time with the Department of Politics. “I enjoyed the harmony at the Department of Politics. Each professor would show enthusiasm and support for PhD students. I also liked the positive interaction between professors and undergrads. Above all, it was fascinating to see how world class scholars would be called by their names even by undergrads, making the professor closer to students.”

And like many Otago, will miss his Dunedin days. “There is a mysterious charm in Dunedin; the serenity of its nature, the public spaces, the friendly people, and especially the people at the University of Otago. I wish the people of New Zealand the very best, and I am grateful for the University for giving me a scholarship to study at Otago. I am forever grateful.”

Eduardo is now working at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, where he continues his research on the deeply divided societies and politics of the Middle East.