Zoe Petkanas is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, working under the supervision of Professor George Joffe, as a Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholar. In 2012, she obtained a Master of Philosophy (Distinction) in International Relations from Cambridge as the George Washington University's Bender Fellow. Previously, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa, and a minor in Political Science from the George Washington University. In the past, she has independently researched the barriers facing secular women in the 2011 Tunisian elections for the Constituent Assembly, microcredit and women’s empowerment in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan as a George Gamow Research Fellow, and in establishing a new econometric definition of global ultra-poverty with the Institute of International Economics at the George Washington University. She has also worked as Director of New Media and Communications for a progressive American political organisation, as a research consultant for Microfund for Women, and with an organisation responsible for social service dissemination to urban Iraqi refugees in Jordan.