Seteney Shami is founding Director-General of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences since 2012. She is an anthropologist from Jordan. She obtained her BA from the American University of Beirut and her MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. After teaching and setting up a graduate department of anthropology at Yarmouk University, Jordan, she moved in 1996 to the regional office of the Population Council in Cairo as director of the Middle East Awards in Population and the Social Sciences (MEAwards). In July 1999, she joined the Social Science Research Council in New York (from which she is currently on leave) as program director for the program on the Middle East and North Africa (currently) and also the program on Eurasia (until 2010).
She has been a visiting Professor at U.C. Berkeley, Georgetown University, University of Chicago, Stockholm University and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (Uppsala). Her fieldwork has focused on Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and the North Caucasus. Her research interests center on issues of ethnicity and nationalism in the context of globalization, urban politics and state-building strategies, and population displacement and transnational mobility.