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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Rana Kazkaz appointed Roberta Buffett Visiting Professor of International Studies

The Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences are pleased to welcome Rana Kazkaz as the Roberta Buffett Visiting Professor of International Studies in the Program of Middle Eastern and North African Studies for the fall quarter of the 2021-22 academic year.  Kazkaz is assistant professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) and an award-winning filmmaker who has been recognized at the world’s leading film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca and Abu Dhabi.

As the Roberta Buffett Visiting Professor of International Studies in the Program of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Kazkaz will teach two courses in the Program of Middle Eastern and North African Studies that will be cross-listed with the Department of Radio, Television, and Film in the School of Communication. Kazkaz will also deliver a public lecture organized by Northwestern Buffett.

“We are honored to welcome Rana to campus to share her perspectives and impressive body of work with the Northwestern community,” said Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs Executive Director Annelise Riles. “Her appointment is a unique opportunity to elevate key synergies among Northwestern Buffett, Weinberg and the School of Communication.”

With a focus on Syrian stories, Kazkaz’s producing, screenwriting, and directing portfolio includes Mare Nostrum (2016), which has featured in over 90 international film festivals and won more than 30 awards, Searching for the Translator (2016), Ham (2013), Deaf Day (2011), Exquisite Corpse (2009), and Kemo Sabe (2007). Her first feature film, The Translator (2020), won several development awards including the Arte Award at L’Atelier de la Cinefondation at the Cannes Film Festival (2017), the CNC Award at Meetings on the Bridge at the Istanbul Film Festival (2017) and a Tribeca Alumni Grant (2018).

“Kazkaz’s groundbreaking work as a filmmaker and storyteller is the perfect catalyst for interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration across the university,” said Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences Dean Adrian Randolph.  “Both students and faculty alike will have so much to gain from her presence on campus this fall.”

Kazkaz received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University/Moscow Art Theater Acting Program and holds bachelor’s degrees in Theater and Russian from Oberlin College. She has also earned certificates from the American Film Institute, where she attended the Directing Workshop for Women, and from the National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut.

“The appointment of an NU-Q professor to this prestigious professorship underscores the distinctive quality of NU-Q faculty and their important contributions to the Northwestern universe beyond Doha,” said Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO at Northwestern Qatar. Kraidy also said that Kazkaz’s appointment reinforces the partnership between the Buffet Institute, Weinberg College, and NU-Q. “I am excited and grateful to have partners like Associate Provost and Buffett Executive Director Annelise Riles and Weinberg Dean Adrian Randolph, and I am elated that an NU-Q professor and filmmaker of the caliber of Rana Kazkaz gives us an opportunity to team up, reinforce our bonds, and offer new voices and expertise to the Northwestern community.”