Welcome! My name is Shahin (pronounced Shah-heen) and I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Albritton Center for Grand Strategy (CGS) at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University. Previously, I worked at Southern Methodist University where I served as the Colin Powell Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs. I earned my Ph.D in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles in 2017 and my B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California in 2007.
My research and teaching interests include, but are not limited to, foreign policy decision-making, diplomacy/diplomatic history, international security, conflict resolution, political psychology, qualitative methods, the Cold War, and the international relations of the Middle East.
In my research, I examine why, and under what conditions, leaders initiate conciliation in strategic rivalries. Of the many ways decision-makers can extend olive branches, I am particularly interested in studying their motivations for undertaking what I refer to as bold gestures. These are conciliatory acts or statements in which one state offers a major unilateral concession to its adversary that is unprecedented, irreversible, and noncontingent. Why leaders choose to initiate conciliation in such a risky manner when smaller, less radical avenues exist to engage adversaries is puzzling and has important implications for our understanding of decision-making, diplomatic signaling, and trust building. I argue that the ability of leaders to empathize, or take the perspective of others, explains how they choose to accommodate their rivals.
My research has been published in International Security and Security Studies and my commentary has been featured in such outlets as the National Interest and E-International Relations.