Asfar’s voluntary Editorial Team, include young people, current students and recent graduates, as well as more experienced editors. All are fascinated by the Middle East, some have completed regionally-focused studies, while others are regular travelers to the Middle East. All are experienced Editors and specialists in their field, and give up their free time to contribute voluntarily to the success of Asfar.


Joe Worthington – Editor for the Caucasus Region

Joe is a graduate of Aberystwyth University having read International Politics & Military History, and the University of Exeter with an MA in Politics & International Relations of the Middle East.

Joe has a penchant for all things political, particularly Gulf and Caucasus related, aspiring to become a British Diplomat in the not so distant future. Outside of politics Joe has worked as a travel journalist and PR consultant for several years, having successfully written a cover story for National Geographic Traveller, compiled the Tangier & Mediterranean Coast chapter of the Fodor’s Morocco guide, and worked with tourist boards and airlines around the world. Joe is an elected Fellow of the prestigious Royal Asiatic Society – granting him the post-nominal FRAS – and has edited the Caucasus section of Asfar since 2013.

As well as Asfar’s Editor for the Caucasus Region, Joe is also the e-Journal’s Senior Editor.

Follow Joe on Twitter @travelwith_joe and on his website .

To learn about the e-Journal, volunteer as an Editor or submit an article, email Joe at 


Chloë Gotterson – Editor for Yemen and Gulf States

Chloë is the Editor for Yemen and Gulf states. She holds a Masters degree in Geopolitics and Grand Strategy and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Sussex. She has previously worked as an editorial assistant for online international current affairs magazine The Diplomat and has also held a number of other positions within the charity and education sectors. Chloë’s research interests include international relations, development and human rights.


Rebecca Stead- Editor for Israel-Palestine region

I am about to begin an MA in History and Arabic at SOAS with a focus on Middle Eastern history. I graduated from the University of Leeds in July 2014 with a degree in International History and Politics, and since then have volunteered and traveled around Europe and the Middle East. I spent 8 weeks travelling alone through the Balkans, during which time I stayed with local families in Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. I have also lived in Jerusalem for 5 months up to January of this year, where I undertook an Arabic language semester at the Hebrew University. While I lived there, I traveled in both Israel and the West Bank, and hope to revisit my friends there soon. I have been writing and editing content in both a paid and a voluntary capacity for over three years now, and aim to further develop my skills working with Asfar.

Sobia Kashif – Editor for Morocco

My name is Sobia Kashif. I have recently completed a MA Islamic Studies from SOAS, University of London and also hold a MSc Economics degree. Completing these degrees expanded my interest in Islamic art and architecture, both of which are areas I am keen on researching further. Volunteering for an Islamic Art Festival in a Buckinghamshire county museum widened my understanding of the areas and made me want to explore more. I have traveled extensively within the Middle East to countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In the future I hope to research the artistic and cultural contact between Islam and the West.


Rich Quinlan – Editor for Iran

Rich Quinlan is a twenty-year teacher of global and American history and currently lives in Huntington Station, New York. Rich has a BA in English from Franklin and Marshall College and three MA degrees from Long Island University CW Post in  Secondary English Education, Political Science, and History, and is currently pursuing a fourth MA in Public History. He is thrilled and honored to be a part of Asfar and hopes to continue to address social and political issues of the Gulf Region by emphasizing the value of free expression and democratic ideals. His other areas of interest include global educational reform and philanthropic opportunities.


Hatice Soyal – Editor for Turkey

Hatice graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with an M.A in Global Media and Post-national Communication, where her studies primarily focused on the Middle East region. Prior to her M.A, Hatice completed her B.A in Middle Eastern Studies, also from SOAS. Hatice currently freelances as a Production Coordinator within broadcast news. She has worked and volunteered with a variety of NGOs in the past, most recently with Amnesty International UK and Chance for Childhood.


Katie Welsford – Editor for Syria

Katie recently graduated with an MSc in Middle Eastern Politics from Birkbeck College, and is now working as a freelance journalist covering Egypt and the Levant – with a particular focus on Islamic activism, and the Syrian crisis. She writes for a variety of online publications – including the Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Guardian, and Le Monde Diplomatique. When she is not writing, she
works at the human rights NGO ‘Reach All Women in WAR’, and assists as a media volunteer for the British charity ‘Hand in Hand for Syria’. Her broader interests in the region developed whilst she was living in Alexandria, Egypt – having moved there following the completion of her undergraduate degree at Durham University.


Bahar Karimi- Editor for the Middle East

Bahar holds an MA in Political Communication and is currently completing her PhD in Middle East Studies at King’s College London. Her research builds on a Neoclassical Realist framework and focuses on threat perceptions in American policy-making toward Iran between 1978 and 1981. She often undertakes university level teaching on the side of her studies and is also one of the founding interim members of the Students’ Members Committee at the British Institute of Persian Studies, along with having
experience working with think tanks. Bahar’s main research interests lie in the fields of International Relations, Middle East studies – particularly Iran, Political Islam, and the role of technology in social movements. She hopes to pursue a career in academia and consulting after the completion of her doctorate.


Chiara Rodriquez – Editor for the Middle East

Following her completion of an MA in Arabic from ‘L’Orientale – University of Naples’ (Italy), Chiara graduated from SOAS – The School of Oriental and African Studies with an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies focusing on History, Media and Politics. Her experience in the Middle East traces back to her undergraduate studies, during which she lived in Egypt and Jordan where she refined her language skills. Since then, Chiara has extensively travelled in various countries of the Region (including Israel, Palestinian Territories, and Lebanon), before moving back to Egypt where she started working as a freelance journalist. Currently employed as Operations Coordinator at The International Media Associates, a London based Media Production Company, Chiara continues to develop her editorial, research, news coverage and production skills. She aims to move back to the Middle East to closely follow and develop her knowledge of the Region’s politics. Chiara’s fields of specialisation include Egyptian politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Joe Blood – Editor for the Middle East

Biography to appear here shortly.


Sawsan Bastawy – Editor for the Middle East

Sawsan is a British-Egyptian environmentalist and women’s rights advocate. She has worked for numerous NGO’s as a writer and researcher on women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict states, and is interested in the relationship between gender and access to resources, such as water. At current, Sawsan works as a Community Engagement Officer for Bite the Ballot, and volunteers as a Campaigns Organiser for Friends of the Earth.