Shelly Culbertson, M.A. is a former officer of the U.S. State Department and currently a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. She is the author of “The Fires of Spring” about the current social, political, economic, and cultural effects of the Arab Spring movement. Her research focus includes international development, education, workforce development, innovation policy, and the Middle East. She has conducted four studies about the Middle East refugee crisis, related to refugee education, job opportunities for refugees, and the management model for provision of public services for refugees. Shelly co-led a multi-year effort to advise the Ministry of Education of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on improving its K-12 and vocational education systems. She coordinated RAND’s projects to design programs for the Qatar National Research Fund, which has supported over $620 million in research grants; this work also included developing research priorities and research strategies for Qatar. Prior to RAND, Ms. Culbertson worked at the U.S. State Department on the Turkey Desk, and at LMI Government Consulting, conducting analysis about international trade. Her commentaries about the ongoing Middle East refugee crisis have appeared in Newsweek,, U.S. News and World Report, the Georgetown Journal for International Affairs Online, and other outlets. She received a B.S. in mathematics and political science from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.