Meet the Team


Dr Adel Zaid Altoraifi
Chairman and Managing Director

Dr Adel Zaid Altoraifi was the Minister of Culture for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2017 and member of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. He participated in the development of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision and the 2020 National Transformation Plan and chaired the media campaign to promote these programmes. Dr Adel also chaired the media committee for the 2016 and 2017 government budget announcements and served as a member of the Security and Political Affairs Council.

Dr Adel is a journalist and a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs, focusing on Saudi-Iranian relations and foreign policy decision-making in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. He is a board member of the General Authority for Culture in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, and is the chairman of Conrad Holdings Ltd.



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Our Team

Dr Neil Quilliam

Dr Neil Quilliam is an energy policy, geopolitics and foreign affairs specialist, with extensive knowledge and experience of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He is an associate fellow with Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme and headed the programme’s Future Dynamics in the Gulf project.

Prior to that, Neil was project director of the Syria and Its Neighbours policy initiative and acting head of the MENA Programme, having first joined Chatham House as a senior research fellow in January 2014.

He has also served as senior MENA energy adviser at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), senior MENA analyst at Control Risks, London, and senior programme officer at the United Nations University, Amman.

Neil has lived in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and UAE, and has travelled extensively around the MENA region, working on a variety of development, education and research projects.

He has published a number of books and articles on international relations and political economy of Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the GCC states.


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Emily Stromquist
Director – Energy

Emily Stromquist is an energy and political risk analyst with extensive experience advising clients on key energy themes and market developments across Europe, Russia and Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East. Her interests range from upstream investment risks in oil and gas to downstream strategy and product markets, including the evolution of liquefied natural gas versus pipeline gas competition, and clean energy transitions.

She worked for a number of years as a senior analyst on the energy team in the London office of Eurasia Group before joining the International Energy Agency in Paris as the programme manager for both Africa and Russia.

She has an MA from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a BA with a dual major in International Relations and Russian studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Emily speaks Russian and French

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Rachna Uppal
Senior Analyst – Business and Finance, Gulf 

Rachna Uppal is a senior analyst covering the corporate and financial sectors, and the broader economy, of the Gulf states. Before joining Castlereagh Associates, Rachna worked as a financial journalist in the United Arab Emirates, leading Gulf fixed income news and analysis for Thomson Reuters. Prior to that, she was a senior business correspondent at a Dubai-based national daily newspaper.

Rachna has also worked in London as an analyst in the Environmental and Sustainability department at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and in Brussels, advising on EU policymaking, lobbying and communications.                                                                                                                                                                                           

She holds an MSc in Comparative Politics from The London School of Economics and a BA (Hons) in European Studies and French from King’s College London. A fluent French speaker, Rachna also has diploma in Political and Social Studies from Sciences-Po, Paris.


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Amy Stapleton

Amy Stapleton is the Executive Editor at Castlereagh Associates. She specialises in shaping top-quality content for publishing online and in print.

Before joining Castlereagh, Amy worked as a web editor at The Oxford Business Group (OBG), which produces economic intelligence on markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. As Web Editor, Amy managed the production of the company’s online economic and investment news. Prior to that, she was a sub-editor at OBG’s Istanbul branch.

Amy has a BA in English Literature from Lancaster University. She has lived and worked in a number of countries around the world, including Japan, Turkey and Germany.

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Daniel Moshashai
Regional Analyst

Daniel Moshashai is the regional analyst at Castlereagh Associates. He specialises in Iran, the GCC, economic diversification in national agendas and geopolitics in the Middle East.

Daniel is fluent in Persian and French and has working knowledge of German, Italian, Turkish and Arabic. He has a BA in Politics from SOAS University of London and an MA in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Prior to joining Castlereagh, Daniel was a Sponsored Scholar at the International Institute of Strategic Studies and served an internship at the German Development Organisation. His international experience spans France, Iran, Italy, Austria and the UK.

Daniel has been published in “Saudi Arabia Plans for Its Economic Future: Vision 2030, the National Transformation Plan, and Fiscal Reforms in Saudi Arabia” (British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies).

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James Hanna

James Hanna is Castlereagh Associates’ Media and Communications Officer. He specialises in generating video and photographic content from ideation to production. 

James has worked as a freelance photojournalist for national and international publications, including those with a specific focus on the Middle East and its diaspora. He has working knowledge of Arabic. 

James started his media career at BBC Radio 1 while studying a BA in Television Production and Radio Broadcast at the University of Westminster and later went on to co-found one of the UK’s biggest online youth lifestyle channels, SBTV Global. He has also made valuable contributions to media campaigns for Nike, Adidas, Spirit of London, Universal Records and 10 Downing Street.

James has featured in a six-part documentary series tracking the rise and growth of online youth media on Channel 4 as well as appearing in shows on the BBC to promote the idea of disrupting traditional media formats. He has been featured in the Sunday Times and ID magazine and is responsible for viral video content, including those launching musical careers of Ed Sheeran and others.

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Senior Advisors

Dr Sanam Vakil

Dr Sanam Vakil is a Middle East specialist and academic providing political risk and policy analysis of regional and geopolitical developments, particularly in Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf states, Syria and Egypt.

Sanam is a senior research fellow in Chatham House’s Middle East North Africa Programme, where she heads the Future Dynamics in the Gulf project and the Iran Forum. She is also a professorial lecturer in the Middle East Studies Department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe) in Italy and has previously worked as an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at SAIS Washington.

Sanam’s research focuses on Gulf geopolitics and future trends in Iran’s domestic and foreign policy, and her areas of expertise include US foreign policy to the Middle East, civil society development and gender.
She also follows wider Middle Eastern issues as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, associated with the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

Sanam’s past experience includes research positions with the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Department.

She is the author of “Action and Reaction: Women and Politics in Iran” (Bloomsbury 2013) and publishes analysis and comments for a variety of media and academic outlets.


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Dr Karen Young

Dr Karen Young is an academic specialising in the political economy of the Middle East, the GCC and the Arabian Peninsula.

Karen is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington DC and a professorial lecturer at George Washington University. She also heads a seminar on the emerging markets of the Middle East and North Africa at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Before joining AEI, Karen was a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute, a Washington-based think tank, and held academic positions at leading universities both in the US and overseas, including the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the American University of Sharjah in the UAE.

Karen is the author of “The Political Economy of Energy, Finance and Security in the United Arab Emirates: Between the Majilis and the Market” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and has been published in a variety of policy journals.

Her analysis and commentary has appeared in the popular press, including Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Opinion, the Financial Times and FT Beyond Brics, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Al Monitor and Lawfare.


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Jessica Obeid

Jessica Obeid is a consultant working with the public and private sectors on energy policies and strategies in the Middle East. She is also an academy associate in the energy, environment and resources department at Chatham House, London, where she previously served as resident fellow, with a focus on energy diversification.

Before that, she was chief energy engineer at the United Nations Development Programme in Beirut, where she spent almost a decade working on the development and upscaling of the renewable energy industry.

She has published widely, and provides regular commentaries to leading media outlets. Jessica has been awarded the US State Department’s TechWomen and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s International Leaders fellowship.

She holds a master’s degree in Political Sciences and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.


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Fareed Mohamedi

Fareed Mohamedi is an international political economist specialising in the geopolitics of energy markets with a special emphasis on the economic development of oil and gas producing countries and their foreign relations.

As the managing director of SIA-Energy International, the global division of SIA-Energy in Beijing, Fareed analysed the impact of China’s energy needs, policies and institutional development on the global economy and energy system, and advised on the impact of political and economic developments in oil and gas producing states on the energy security of China.

Prior to that, Fareed was the chief economist at Rapidan Energy Group in the US and headed the Corporate Support and Industry Insights unit at Saudi Aramco. He also led the Industry Analysis team in the Global Strategy and Business Development department of Statoil (now Equinor), Norway’s national oil company (NOC).

Over a twenty-year period, Fareed developed the largest country risk practice in the oil and gas industry for PFC Energy, a consultancy specialising in international development strategies for international oil companies and NOCs and, as a partner of the firm, provided forward-looking strategic geopolitical insights and analysis of trends and factors affecting the investment environment in key oil and gas producing countries.

He has worked on country risk issues at Moody’s Investors Service’s Sovereign Risk Unit and the Middle East, Africa and Asia divisions of the Institute of International Finance. He was also a macroeconomist at Wharton Econometrics and the economic research unit of the Ministry of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain.

Fareed has advised senior elected officials in the US government, and energy and economic ministries in the Gulf, Latin America and Asia. He is a regular speaker at US and UK universities, and industry and academic conferences around the world, and is frequently quoted in the international media.


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