Banafsheh is an independent scholar of international affairs and Middle Eastern studies. She is the author of Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), also published in Arabic and Persian, the editor of a forthcoming book Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East (New York: Peter Lang, 2020), the translator of the book Refugee Rights in Iran (London: Dar AlSaqi, 2008), and editor of five volumes of Persian epic poetry entitled Five Treasures of Ferdowsi (Tehran: Iranian Calligraphy Society, 1999). Banafsheh was recently a visiting scholar at Princeton University in 2017-2018. She has done fieldwork in the Gulf region through self-funded research trips including in Saudi Arabia and Iran, where she was a visiting fellow at The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and a visiting researcher in Iran. A professor at universities in the Bay Area, the East Coast and the Middle East, she is also a member at the Carnegie-funded The Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation (SEPAD) project based at Lancaster University’s Richardson Institute. She has advised the United Nations, consulted for US private sector companies, and worked at the World Bank, the Asia Foundation, and the Swiss Academy for International Development. An American citizen, Banafsheh received her Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and completed joint degree coursework at The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.