Newswise — AMHERST, Mass. – David Mednicoff, assistant professor of public policy and director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been awarded a $1.01 million grant to be principal investigator for interdisciplinary research on legal development and practices in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The three-year project titled “The Rule of Law in Qatar: Comparative Insights and Policy Strategies,” has been funded by the Qatar National Research Fund. In collaboration with project staff at FIKRA, a policy-oriented research organization based in Doha, Qatar, Mednicoff will compare the interaction of global, regional and local legal ideas and institutions in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and produce policy suggestions for ongoing legal reform in the Arab Gulf. The study will build on Mednicoff’s previous work on legal ideals and institutions and American rule-of-law aid in the Middle East.

“Countries like Qatar may be unique in the speed of their rise to global prominence and social change,” said Mednicoff. “In such a crucible of upheaval, nested in the midst of a sensitive geopolitical environment, oil-rich Qatar has a particular need for sociopolitical tools to optimize the balance between stability and global integration. The rule of law is perhaps the most central such tool, but can also conceal a wide range of meanings, actors and political agendas. The goal of the project is to analyze legal institutions and tensions in Qatar and similar societies accurately, to help theorize and implement strategies to make them serve their populations as effectively as possible.”

The director of accelerated studies with the UMass Amherst Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), Mednicoff has been a Fulbright scholar in both Morocco and Qatar.

The Qatar National Research Foundation is that country’s major funding entity for peer-reviewed scholarly work. Mednicoff’s is among the largest of the grants awarded this year as part of the foundation’s National Priorities Research Program, the flagship program for original research relevant to Qatar.