2017 Tillman Scholar

Sarah Abdella-El Kallassy

Marine Corps
Johns Hopkins University
M.A., Middle East Studies & International Economics

“I want to be the extra set of eyes helping communities find locally sustainable solutions in their midst.”

Sarah proudly served as a Marine and spent two, year-long tours in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. A Pashto linguist, she was a liaison officer to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, assigned to the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. During her time in Helmand, Sarah focused on empowering Afghan women to participate in the peace process and aiding the Afghan government in their efforts to reintegrate Taliban members into local communities.

These experiences taught Sarah the high value of regional expertise and locally sustainable solutions. In the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Sarah is conducting research on the current role of women in the peace process and models of best practice for their further integration in the greater Middle East region and Afghanistan. A Fouad Ajami Fellow, she is also conducting research on the local sustainable solutions to resilience challenges in the civil society and infrastructure of the city of Byblos, Lebanon.  In her free time, she serves as the ESL Coordinator for No One Left Behind, a non-profit serving Afghan and Iraqi SIVs.

Sarah hopes to use her regional expertise, language skills, and practical experience gained through her military service to serve as a policy advisor, implementing sustainable solutions to peace and resilience challenges in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.