Universiteit Leiden

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Jessica Elias


Drs. J. Elias LLM MA
+31 71 527 2727

Jessica Elias is a lecturer at International Studies.

More information about Jessica Elias

Jessica Elias is a Lecturer at International Studies at the Faculty of Humanities.

She was trained at the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague. Bringing together insights from political theory, she continued to research and lecture on Public International Law at the Amsterdam University College and the Free University of Amsterdam (VU) in 2017-2019.

She also assisted in managing humanitarian and developmental programs in the Middle East. Having lived for 23 years in Lebanon, she worked with Oxfam Great Britain in its regional headquarters, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the wake of the Arab Spring (2012), and the (Lebanese) Red Cross as a volunteer paramedic in Beirut. She is also occasionally consulting for the United Nations’ Climate Parliament, for the Middle East and North African region.

Jessica was a member and Chief of the Scouts Association in Lebanon for 11 years and is fluent in Classical Arabic (along with 15 national dialects of Arabic), English, French, and Dutch (beginner).


At Leiden University, Jessica has been teaching for 5 years in the areas of Politics and Cultural Studies (1st year courses) and in the areas of Culture/Politics of the Middle East and Cultural Interaction (2nd year courses). She was also Visiting Lecturer for the Master programme of Middle Eastern Studies at University of Groningen (2023). Jessica has completed her higher education teaching and curriculum design qualification (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs - BKO) in 2019 and is very passionate about understanding how students are guided in their learning journey as they form key concepts in a dialectical process of meaning construction.

Prior education

Jessica completed her double Master of Laws in International Law with International Relations (with Merit) at the University of Kent in 2015 as a Chevening Scholar selected from Lebanon. She had received her Bachelor of Political Studies at the American University of Beirut in 2012 (GPA: 87/100) and continued to complete the theoretical part of her Bachelor of Laws at The Lebanese University. Previously in 2011, she participated in two tailored exchange programs at Sciences Po Paris (Menton campus) and Georgetown University (Crete campus).

She was awarded with several academic excellence and leadership scholarships including: the Chevening Scholarship from the United Kingdom (2014-2015), the Fund for American Studies Scholarship, the European Council Award for internships, the European Union Institute small grant, the Philippe Jabre Foundation Scholarship, and the Prize for Feminist Scholarship (1st runner-up) at the University of Kent.

Research background

Topics of interest: cultural studies, critical legal scholarship, informal justice, middle east, performativity, protests and social movements

Jessica is particularly interested in research on protests and peace processes to understand the legal imaginaries beyond State-level actors. She relies in her analysis on critical legal scholarship and cultural theory in political discourse for answering the transdisciplinary questions. To address her scientific objectives, Jessica has conducted interviews and focused group discussions on actors of informal justice from Syria and Lebanon.

She will be pursuing her PhD in Law to study: How does the performative character of certain cultural practices in conflict and post-conflict societies establish informal sites of justice? 


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculteitsbureau
  • International Studies

Work address

Schouwburgstraat 2
2511 VA The Hague



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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