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Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict

Crisis Group Role

Azadeh Moaveni is Crisis Group’s Gender and Conflict Project Director.

Areas of Expertise

  • Gender and Islamist militancy (Islamic State, Boko Haram/ISWAP, al-Shabaab)
  • Gender-sensitive demobilization and reintegration
  • Peacebuilding/Gender inclusive peace processes
  • Women’s right and security in the context of counter-terrorism
  • Women Peace and Security/UNSCR 1325 implementation

Professional Background

Azadeh is a writer, researcher and academic who has been covering the Middle East for two decades. She started reporting in Cairo in 1999 while on a Fulbright fellowship, and has worked across the region for years, covering Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia. A Pulitzer finalist, she is the author of Lipstick Jihad, Honeymoon in Tehran, and co-author, with Iranian Nobel Peace Laurate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening. Her latest book, Guest House for Young Widows, Among the Women of ISIS, was shortlisted for the Bailie Gifford Prize and the Folio Rathbone prize. She writes for the London Review of Books, the Guardian, and the New York Times, among other publications. She lectures in journalism at New York University’s London campus.

Selected Publications

  • “Lipstick Jihad”, Public Affairs, 2005
  • “Iran Awakening”, with Shirin Ebadi, Random House, 2006
  • “Honeymoon in Tehran”, Random House, 2010


  • English
  • Persian (Fluent)
  • Arabic 
  • French (conversational)

In The News

6 Jan 2020
The outpouring of grief for Qassim Suleimani is the country’s first act of retaliation. New York Times

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict
6 Mar 2019
Our work is informed by research that explores gender and conflict as ideas, political challenges and lived realities. Twitter

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict
26 Feb 2019
The role of women in Isis is one of the most significant questions of the post-Arab spring period. The Guardian

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict
15 Feb 2019
Too much of the public discussion around repatriating Western citizens, male or female, hinges on an assumption that letting them come home is equivalent to leniency or forgiveness. Bloomberg

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict
14 Jan 2019
While ending the insurgency and countering the militants’ appeal is obviously vital, it is also essential to recognise what precisely has guided women to join [Boko Haram] in the first place. The Guardian

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict
7 Nov 2018
[Under sanctions] women, as organisers of family life, healthcare, education, will often carry the burden of trying to come up with alternatives for their families in all instances. Al Jazeera

Azadeh Moaveni

Project Director, Gender and Conflict

Latest Updates

Another deeply gendered war is being waged in Ukraine

Countries with ‘feminist’ foreign policies need a sharper gender framework for addressing Ukraine’s predicament.

Originally published in Aljazeera

Podcast / Global

Can War Be Feminist?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh are joined by Crisis Group’s gender and conflict expert Azadeh Moaveni for a special International Women's Day episode where they untangle the complex relationship between gender and conflict – from Cameroon to Pakistan to Syria and beyond.


The big idea: can foreign policy be feminist?

Originally published in The Guardian

Also available in العربية

U.S. “Maximum Pressure” on Iran Hurts the Women It Claims to Help

To help justify its coercive measures against the Islamic Republic, Washington often evokes Iranian women’s struggles for inclusion and equality. But evidence from today’s Iran shows that U.S. policies are instead contributing to holding women back.