Francesca Giovannini
Lead Instructor

Francesca is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Politics and International Relations at Oxford, where she is researching how states cooperate or compete in the production of scientific and technological knowledge. She is also a lecturer in the Department of International and Area Studies at UC Berkeley where she teaches classes on Middle East Politics, Theories of Inter-state Cooperation, and International Conflict Analysis. She has previously studied at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Bologna, at the School of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Development in Rome and at the University of California at Berkeley, where she was awarded several awards including the 2006 Graduate Student Instructor Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2007 International and Area Studies Special Mentioning Award. She is also the recipient of the 2005-2007 Rotary World Peace Fellowship.

Giovannini has extensive experience working for Italian Development NGOs and International Organizations, including the United Nations. She served in locations such as Gaza, Turkey and Lebanon, where she had worked in the fields such as aid coordination, crisis prevention and post conflict peace building.  

Tara Graham
Media Instructor

Tara Graham is a Carnegie-Knight News21 fellow at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she obtained an M.A. in online journalism. Graham has worked as a web reporter for KCET's "SoCal Connected," as an online editor for the New Statesman magazine in London, as the co-editor-in-chief of USC Annenberg's award-winning digital news website, and as an associate editor and humor writer at Sugar Media, the popular Gen-Y women's blog network.

Her work has been featured in NBC and CBS news broadcasts and other online publications, including USA Today and MSNBC. Graham has also contributed to The Huffington Post and Trans/Missions, USC Annenberg's media and religion hub. She recently embarked on a reporting trip to Israel-Palestine and co-produced Checkpoint, a web presentation featuring the faces and voices of the people she encountered along the journey. Graham is the recipient of USC Annenberg's 2010 Penny Lernoux Award for International Reporting. For more information, visit

Andrea Beccalli
Guest Lecturer

Andrea has an extensive experience in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for development, and international communication and information policies, gathered through academic work and experience in the private, non profit NGO, public and international sectors.

His most current field of expertise is on the international arrangements and debate in Internet governance, a field in which he conducted studies and designed policies for UNESCO. Prior to that, Beccalli focused on bilateral projects on ICT for development, and public policies for social inclusion. Beccalli participated as UNESCO representative in several UN Summit and events as the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF); also organized and conducted seminars on UNESCO main activities in the field of communication and information.

Beccalli holds a BA and MA in Political Science from the university of Rome la Sapienza, a MA in International Relations from the Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI), and he is currently in sabbatical leave from UNESCO to pursue as Fulbright fellow a MA in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Boston.  

Gail Bensinger
Guest Lecturer

Gail Bensinger retired in 2007 from The San Francisco Chronicle, where she had been the Foreign Editor for seven years. Prior to that, she had been the Foreign-National Editor of the San Francisco Examiner. During her newspaper career, she has written news stories and travel articles from places as diverse as Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Central Asia, Vietnam, Libya, South Africa, Nigeria, Romania and Ecuador. She is an economics graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where she was editor-in-chief of the Daily Cardinal student newspaper.

Before moving to the Bay Area, Bensinger was a reporter at the Washington Post and Congressional Quarterly. For her reporting and editing, she has received a Professional Journalism Fellowship from Stanford University, an editors' travel fellowship from the International Reporting Project of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and an award from the American Political Science Association. She is a volunteer at two institutions on campus -- the Human Rights Center and the Friends of the Peace and Conflict Studies Department. She is also a regular contributor to California, the alumni magazine  of the University of California at Berkeley.

Jonathan Curiel
Guest Lecturer

Jonathan Curiel, a journalist in San Francisco who has reported extensively on the Middle East, is the author of "Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab andIslamic Roots." He has been a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle; a lecturer at UCLA; an O'Donnell Visiting Educator at Whitman College; a Fulbright Scholar at Pakistan's Punjab University; and a Reuters Foundation Research Fellow at England's Oxford University.

MONA Eltahawy
guest lecturer

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues. She is a columnist for Canada's Toronto Star, Israel's The Jerusalem Report and Denmark's Politiken. Her opinion pieces have been published frequently in The Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune and she has appeared as a guest analyst in several media outlets. Before she moved to the U.S. in 2000, Eltahawy was a news reporter in the Middle East for many years, including in Cairo and Jerusalem as a Reuters correspondent and she reported for various media from Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia and China. In 2005, she was named a Muslim Leader of Tomorrow by the American Society for Muslim Advancement and she is a member of the Communications Advisory Group for Musawah, the global movement for justice and equality in the Muslim family. For more information, visit

Lawrence Michalak
Guest Lecturer

Dr. Laurence Michalak is a cultural anthropologist of the Middle East and North Africa. His main geographical specialty area is Tunisia, where he has spent over ten years.  He received his BA from Stanford (1964), MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London (1970), and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (1983). He is the editor of books on social legislation in the Middle East and the effects of international labor migration on North Africa, plus numerous articles on rural markets and development problems, alcohol in Islam, and images of Arabs in popular culture.  He was Vice Chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC/Berkeley for 23 years (1979, retiring in 2002).  Since then, he has been Associate Research Scientist with the Alcohol Research Group, associated with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, taught in the UC Berkeley Anthropology Department (Spring 2003), taught on the Semester at Sea program (Fall 2005), and was Director of CEMAT, the Center for North African Studies in Tunis, Tunisia, from September 2006 to May 2010.  He has worked and traveled in most of the countries of the Middle East—Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 

Daniel Zoughbie
Guest Lecturer

Daniel is the Founder, CEO, and President of the Global Micro-Clinic Project (GMCP), an organization dedicated to providing access to health care in the developing world. Zoughbie's research interests and community service activities combine the fields of international development, global health, international relations, and higher education. Zoughbie received his BA in Urban Studies (2006) with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies (Phi Beta Kappa and Highest Honors) from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford where he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship. Presently, he is a Weidenfeld Scholar and a DPhil (PhD) candidate in International Relations at Oxford.