Georgia College welcomes Coverdell Scholar for Fall 2021

Georgia College welcomes Coverdell Scholar for Fall 2021

T his year’s Paul D. Coverdell Visiting Scholar brings his unique life and academic experience to Georgia College. His research focuses on refugee and migrant populations— a topic he knows about first-hand.

“I was born in Iran, and my family left when I was about five months old,” said Dr. Amir Moheet, Coverdell Scholar. “My parents were politically active, and that didn't sit well with certain people over there. We were refugees and received asylum in the United States.”

Although he admits he grew up “privileged” compared to many other refugees, his family’s experience shaped his life in many ways.

It led him to study political science and research democratization, authoritarianism and global migration. While working on his Ph.D. he received a highly competitive David L. Boren Overseas Doctoral Fieldwork and Critical Language Fellowship in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.

“I was fortunate enough to receive this doctoral fellowship which allowed me to go overseas for a year to study advanced Persian and Turkish,” he said. “The fellowship also requires you to serve a minimum of one year with the federal government once it’s completed.”

It was a great experience to literally occupy the same positions in an agency that was responsible for granting my family access to come to the United States.
– Dr. Amir Moheet

Moheet chose to work at the very agency that was responsible for helping his family into the U.S. years before.

“I worked for Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate,” said Moheet. “It was a great experience to literally occupy the same positions in an agency that was responsible for granting my family access to come to the United States.”

He left DHS to pursue his passion in academia and to use his skills to dive into areas like human rights and social justice in for refugees.

“I'm working on a book that looks at cultures of resistance globally, Borderlands, migrant justice and human mobility,” said Moheet.

Dr. Amir Moheet teaches his class.
Dr. Amir Moheet teaches his class.

“Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable populations in the world. In a lot of cases, they lack the legal protections. We’ve seen that from what's happened in the last couple of years,” said he said. “I worked on some of those issues.”

This semester he’s teaching a course called Global Migration where students will be exposed to all aspects of international migration and human mobility.

“I've been living in the Middle East for the past three years, and in Turkey specifically, which has the largest refugee population in the world,” Moheet said. "I've worked with a good friend of mine, a lawyer who works with LGBTQ refugees and LGBTQ Turks who are attempting to obtain some measure of justice and express their human rights.”

“That's a lot of what I attempt to bring to my class examining and analyzing the ways in which all refugees pursue justice,” he said.

Moheet holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He has taught across the departments of political science and ethnic studies at the University of Hawaiʻi and was a visiting scholar at Bilkent University in Turkey. 

The Paul D. Coverdell Chair in Policy Studies was established in 2008 and occupied by Dr.Roger Coate, professor of political science and public administration, for its first decade. In 2018, the endowed position was transitioned into a visiting scholar program. More information is available here.