Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Dr Solava Ibrahim

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Humanities and Social Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Politics and international relations , Policy
Research Supervision:

Solava is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations, and Course Leader for ARU's MA International Development and MA International Relations.

Solava's main research areas are: The politics of voice and marginalisation; the dynamics of political change in the Middle East; and challenges of grassroots-led development; regional expertise: Egypt, Senegal and the UK.

[email protected]


Solava is an affiliated lecturer at the Centre of Development Studies at University of Cambridge. For five years, she the Director of the MSc in Poverty, Inequality and Development at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.

She was also a research fellow in Global Poverty Reduction at the Brooks World Poverty Institute and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre at the University of Manchester and worked as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the American University in Cairo.

Her publications include articles in Third World Quarterly, Oxford Development Studies and Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

She also published a co-edited book, The Capability Approach: From Theory to Practice (2014), and a monograph, The Role of Local Councils in Empowerment and Poverty Reduction in Egypt (2007).

Spoken Languages
  • English
  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
Research interests
  • Dynamics of political change and state-society relations in the Middle East
  • Human development and capability approach
  • Poverty reduction
  • Gender and women groups
  • Grassroots-led development 
Areas of research supervision

Supervision of potential PhD researchers will be considered, esp. those wishing to work on the politics of the Middle East; youth-state relations, and exploring the impact of political change on marginalised groups in different socio-economic contexts.

  • International Relations Theory in Context
  • International Institutions and Policy
  • PhD, Development Studies, University of Cambridge
  • MPhil, Development Studies, University of Cambridge
  • MA, Political Science, American University in Cairo
  • BA, Political Science, American University in Cairo
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Member, Middle East Studies Association
  • Member, International Development Ethics Association
  • Senior Treasurer and Advisor, Cambridge Development Initiative
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • ESRC Impact Acceleration Fund Grant: research project entitled: Building Capacity for Grassroots-led Development in West Africa and beyond with Tostan International. 
Selected recent publications

Ibrahim, S. 2017. How to Build Collective Capabilities: The 3C-Model for Grassroots-led Development, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Jan 2017.

Ibrahim, S. and M. Tiwari (Eds.) 2014. The Capability Approach: From Theory to Practice, Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN: 9781137001443.

Tiwari, M. and S. Ibrahim. 2012. ‘Sustainable Human Development at Grassroots: Different Contexts, Similar Ingredients?’ Oxford Development Studies, 40 (1), pp. 69-85.

Ibrahim, S. 2011. A Tale of Two Egypts: contrasting state-reported macro-trends with micro-voices of the poor, Third World Quarterly, 32:7, pp. 1347-1368.

Ibrahim, S. and S. Alkire. 2007. ‘Agency and Empowerment: A proposal for internationally comparable indicators’, Oxford Development Studies, vol. 35 (4) pp.379-403.

Ibrahim, S. 2006. ‘From Individual to Collective Capabilities: the Capability Approach as a Conceptual Framework for Self-help’, Journal of Human Development, vol.7 (3) pp. 397-416.

Ibrahim, S. 2007. The Role of Local Councils in Empowerment and Poverty Reduction in Egypt, Cairo, American University in Cairo Press, ISBN: 9774160142.

Recent presentations and conferences

Solava has organised two workshops jointly with Tostan International as part of the ESRC project 'What Works for Grassroots-led Development' project and she also helped organise the CPRC 2010 Conference on Ten years of 'war against poverty'.

Media experience

Solava is one of the BBC's Expert Women North and has conducted interviews with numerous TV and radio stations in the UK.