Salafism, Radicalization & Social Norm Formation
Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess’ current research examines how ultraconservative groups leverage education, both informal and formal, to instigate changes in social norms, values, and behaviors. Salafism, in particular, has developed innovative and transformative educational capacities that inject new social norms and ultraconservative beliefs into previously unreceptive societies. Even initially unreceptive populations are often transformed into supporters and eventually self-conformers to the new ideological platform and belief system. How education aids this path towards radicalization is at the core of Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess’ upcoming book on Salafism.

Social Mobility, Corruption & Teaching
Her most recent 2016 publication, “Merit matters: Students perceptions of faculty quality and reward” (International Journal of Educational Development) employs logistic regression to empirically demonstrate the importance of quality in teaching. The study underlines that the absence of quality teachers and merited mobility among teachers leads to broader social consequences, particularly in developing countries that are poorly equipped to react to such systemic digressions.

Additional Research Interests
Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess has taught, researched, and published on a range of issues in education, including mixed methods, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, development, social analysis, social norm formation, social mobility, higher education policy, transitional justice, financial inclusion of women, and corruption.

Education & Professional Engagements
Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess started her work in education as one of the youngest teachers working under the military siege during Bosnia’s devastating war. More recently, Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess obtained her PhD (2012) in Comparative and International Education with specialization in Economics at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Her doctoral research employed mixed methods to examine the intricacies of favor reciprocation and corruption in education, providing empirical evidence on how such phenomena usurp merited social mobility and equality in education.

Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess holds a Masters of Philosophy (2010) from Columbia University’s Teachers College and Masters in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (2004), as well as a B.A. in Economics from Brown University (2000). She is a recipient of multiple awards, including grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation; Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Kennan Institute; International Research and Exchange Board; Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies, and others.

Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess has worked in various capacities for Columbia University, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, UNDP, IFES, IMC, OSCE, UNICEF, ICTJ, and other globally renowned institutions. Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess is the Board Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice; Board Director of the Tuxedo Park School; Board Director of the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation; Visiting Scholar at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education; Affiliated Faculty Member at the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and Eastern Europe Studies; Member of the World Association of International Studies; Member of the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies; and Member of Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences.