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Crystal Ennis

University Lecturer Political Economies of the Middle East

Dr. C.A. Ennis
+31 71 527 5635

Crystal Ennis is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. Crystal is a scholar of Global Political Economy whose research examines the political economy of dependency on hydrocarbon revenue and foreign labour in Gulf economies. With a regional focus on the Arabian peninsula, her areas of expertise include international political economy, development planning, labour markets, migration governance, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Crystal has published in New Political Economy, Global Social Policy, Third World Quarterly, and Cambridge Review of International Affairs, among others. Crystal is serving as the chair of Middle East Studies programmes from 2019-2021. She is the vice president of the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (AGAPS).

More information about Crystal Ennis

Fields of interest

Research Themes

  • Global Political Economy
  • Gulf political economy
  • Gulf labour markets
  • Youth and socio-economic change
  • Migration Governance
  • Migration: South and South East Asian migratory corridors to the Gulf
  • Entrepreneurship and sustainable development
  • Entrepreneurship in the Middle East
  • Innovation, the Knowledge Economy, and Development in the Gulf
  • International Relations of the Gulf


Crystal A. Ennis is a scholar of Global Political Economy and has been a university lecturer in the economies of the Middle East at Leiden University since 2014. She researches the conditions and consequences of resource dependence and foreign labour dependence in Gulf economies, and the governance of labour and of migration in West Asia and in the corridors from South and South East Asia to the Gulf. She is writing a book on Omani youth in Gulf labour markets, and co-editing another book on the governance of migration in the South-to-West Asian migration corridor.

Crystal’s current and recent projects include Omani millennials in the economy; Migration Governance in the South-to-West Asian Migration corridor; health care worker migration to the Gulf; entrepreneurship and innovation in the Oman and Qatar; Gulf-Asia relations; and rising powers. Her publications have appeared in New Political Economy, Global Social Policy, Third World Quarterly, and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, among others.


Crystal is serving as the chair of Middle East Studies programmes at Leiden University from 2019 to 2021, and became the Vice President of the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (AGAPS) in 2019. She writes, speaks, and consults in several areas connected to economic development programmes and visions, including entrepreneurship and innovation promotion, knowledge economies, labour market governance and regulation, youth and employment, Gulf-Asia relations, among others.

Crystal received her PhD from the University of Waterloo, Canada where she was trained in the fields of Global Governance and Global Political Economy. Her work experience includes positions in education and non-profit for over 15 years. Prior to joining Leiden in 2014, Crystal lectured at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Shinas College. She has academic programme planning and development experience at York University in Toronto, Ontario and from serving as the inaugural head of the Business Studies department at Shinas College of Technology in Oman. In non-profit, Crystal worked as a research associate for the Jerusalem Old City Initiative, a track-two diplomacy initiative seeking governance and security solutions for the Old City of Jerusalem, as a youth programme coordinator at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, and also served as a member of a Canadian International Development Agency funded project with the United Group for Democrat ic Development in Cairo, Egypt.

PhD, Global Governance, University of Waterloo (2009 - 2013)
MA, Political Science, University of Windsor (2005)
Bachelor of Commerce (Honours Business Administration), University of Windsor (2003)

Teaching activities and supervision

Dr. Ennis supervises students working on the political economy of the Middle East, the Middle East in Global Political Economy, and the Middle East in International Relations. Dr. Ennis welcomes topics dealing with labour markets, youth and the economy, gender and work, migration governance, transnational labour activist networks, resource dependence, local content policies, knowledge economy and innovation policy, central bank history, south-south cooperation, development finance, investment, and trade. Students interested in focusing on the Arabian Peninsula (and GCC in particular), and the flow(s) of capital or labour within and across the Gulf from the Indian Ocean and wider Asia are especially encouraged to approach her.

Crystal has taught the following graduate and undergraduate courses:

  • The Middle East in International Political Economy (MA seminar)
  • Theories and Methods of Middle East Studies (MA seminar)
  • Global Political Economy: Rereading Histories of Capitalism (PhD seminar)
  • Economies of the Middle East (BA MES)
  • Political Economy: Middle East (BAIS)
  • Emerging Economies (BAIS)
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics (BAIS)
  • Global Political Economy: Middle East (BAIS)

Grants and awards

1. Asian Modernities and Traditions (AMT), Phase II Large Project Grant (2017-2019)
2. Asian Modernities and Tradition small project grant (2015-2016)
3. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship (2012-2013)
4. University of Waterloo President’s Scholarship (2012-2013)
5. Balsillie Doctoral Fellowship (2009-2013)
6. Provost Doctoral Entrance Award for Women (2009-2010)
7. Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) grant through the Canada Corps University Partnership Program. Good governance. Team Project. Cairo, Egypt (2005)

Key publications

Ennis C.A. (2019), The Gendered Complexities of Promoting Female Entrepreneurship in the Gulf, New Political Economy 24(3): 365-384.

Ennis C.A. (2018), Reading entrepreneurial power in small Gulf states: Qatar and the UAE, International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy Analysis 73(4): 573-595.

Ennis C.A. & Walton-Roberts M. (2018), Labour market regulation as global social policy: The case of nursing labour markets in Oman, Global Social Policy 18(2): 169-188.

University Lecturer Political Economies of the Middle East

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies

Work address

Herta Mohr
Witte Singel 27A
2311 BG Leiden
Room number 294



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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