- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Noora Lori Looks at Changing Nature of Immigration

  • Dominic Contreras
| Summer 2013

The study of citizenship, what it means and what it entails, has always been a topic of considerable debate in international relations and political science. Discussions of citizenship usually occur from the perspective of those who are included within a particular community, yet accelerated changes in global migration flows over the past 60 years have shifted the discussion into new waters. Noora Lori is among those attempting to understand this changing relationship between the state, the citizen, and the migrant.

With the spread of globalization and the breaking down of both material and immaterial boundaries between countries, domestic populations, particularly in the developing world, are increasingly comprised of foreign nationals who do not neatly fit the traditional conception of a citizen.

"Almost all major state-building projects over the past 200 years have had temporary worker programs," Lori said in an interview. Faced with these changing demographics, the question of how it is determined "who gets included and who gets excluded and what kind of conduct makes them included or excluded," drives her research.

A Ph.D. candidate in political science at John's Hopkins University in Baltimore, Lori is now completing her second year at the Kennedy School, where she was previously a fellow with the Belfer Center's Dubai Initiative. Lori's primary area of focus is the United Arab Emirates, where 96 percent of the population is comprised of foreign nationals. As a native Arabic speaker, Lori conducted 18 months of fieldwork for her dissertation, to be completed in May, and to teach comparative politics at the Dubai School of Government.

A desire to confront issues of human rights and security while retaining her intellectual freedom originally led Lori to a career in academia and later to the Belfer Center.

"If you want to do something different, if you’re more interested in the questions and you don't necessarily want to go through the ranks of a government job then being a researcher lets you have the best of both worlds; I do research that has direct policy recommendations but also have the freedom to be able to produce work that is not necessarily in the strategic interest of one government or another," she said.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Contreras, Dominic. Noora Lori Looks at Changing Nature of Immigration.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Summer 2013).

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