Sherifa Zuhur

Sherifa Zuhur (Choreographer, Featured Dancer) is a scholar of the Middle East, primarily of Islamist politics, conflict and the expressive arts. She is also a violinist and performs raqs sharqi and folklore under the name Samrah azZuhur Arabi. She was a visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley (2015 – 2016) when she was recruited to work on Opera Frontier’s Arabian Magic Mozart.

In her career as a scholar, Sherifa has served as a Distinguished Research Professor of National Security and Islamic Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, and as a political advisor to the Office of Special Defense. She has been invited to participate in numerous working groups on Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, in a multi-year NATO research team on Islamist extremism, and in research on the conflict in Syria and the Sinai Peninsula. She is past-president of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies and a long-time member of groups and networks working on women’s rights in the MENA.

She has been a professor at the American University in Cairo, MIT, Ben Gurion University of the Negev and other universities. She authored, co-authored or edited 18 books and monographs and hundreds of articles, including a book on Egypt co-authored with Marlyn Tadros. Her most recent book Middle East in Focus: Saudi Arabia was published in 2012. Recent articles appear in Contemporary Review of the Middle East and Middle East Policy. She holds a BA, MA and PhD. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sherifa is also a trained dancer and musician who has performed, taught and choreographed internationally. She studied Arabic and western classical music and dance in Egypt, Lebanon, Europe and the U.S. Among the highlights of her dance career were performances for heads of state, for the Arab League, with the Egyptian actor Samir Sabry, and in the AUC’s national folklore ensemble.

She established the Middle Eastern ensemble of MIT/Harvard and several dance companies. She published several books on the expressive arts in the Middle East as well as a biography of the great singer, Asmahan.