Jacqueline Ismael

Professor Emerita of Social Work


B.A. Sociology

University of Calgary, 1975

Doctor of Philosophy Sociology

University of Alberta, 1979

M.A. Sociology

University of Calgary, 1976

Contact information

Key Areas of Expertise

Secular Feminism

Dr. Jacqueline Ismael has done extensive work on women’s issues in the context of war and occupation, and societies facing social sectarianism. Her research has included the discourse that has emerged in Iraq surrounding women’s active participation in Iraq’s intelligentsia and in critical debates on issues facing Iraqi society. She is currently working on research on  women in Cairo and Beirut  to better understand the issues faced by women in these areas, their perceptions around issues of violence again women, and their aspirations within their own social context. 

Post-conflict Reconstruction

Dr. Ismael’s research has examined the outcomes for the post-conflict reconstruction of viable households, neighborhoods, and communities, and important implications for specific population groups, including women and children. While literature has looked in depth at formal sector post-conflict institutional development and macro-level institutional change, there has been an absence of discourse on informal sector post-conflict reconstruction, which disproportionately effects women and children and intensified social polarization. 


Dr. Jacqueline Ismael completed her PhD at the University of Alberta, and an MA and BA (Hons) at the University of Calgary. She has been with the Faculty of Social Work (formerly the Faculty of Social Welfare) since 1980, and has been a visiting professor at the UAE University in the UAE and at Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus. She has presented at numerous international conferences, and has published over 120 articles, books, and book chapters.

Dr. Jacqueline Ismael is a political sociologist offering knowledge and expertise to create: 

  • Policy decisions for a more equitable and just society, with specific focus in the Middle East
  • Curriculum to support the growth of students to become better community and international development practitioners

In addition to her notable work around social policy, Dr. Jacqueline Ismael leverages her experience and knowledge to support students interested in work in international or community development in order to obtain a skillset that is relevant to today’s global context. 

Dr. Ismael was a leader in the development of the international social work concentration in the Faculty of Social Work curriculum. She also chaired a committee that led to the development of the International Social Welfare/Social Work concentration in the Faculty’s curriculum – the first of its kind in North America. Through this concentration in social work, students at the University of Calgary have the opportunity to receive:

  • Strong community development skills, transferable between the local and international context
  • Strong orientation and depth of knowledge around social justice issues
  • A cross functional skillset
  • Field placements abroad
  • A deep cultural competency in engaging in a multi-cultural environment


Select Publications

Ismael, T. & Ismael, J. (2014). Iraq in the 21st Century: Regime Change and the Making of a Failed State. London: Routledge (2015).
Ismael, J.S. & Ismael, S. (2011), The Story of the Canadian Welfare State. Vanguardia Dossier, 88:March 20, 48-56. Invited for special issue on Canada. Submitted in English and translated by the journal.
Ismael, T. & Ismael, J. (2016). Governments and Politics of the Middle East. London: Routledge.
Ismael, J.S. and Ismael, T.Y.  (2004) The Iraqi Predicament: People in the Quagmire of Power Politics.  London:  Pluto Press



  • Brussels tribunal on Iraq
    • Seeking justice through the legal system
  • Board member, the International Centre for Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies (ICCMES)
  • Board of Executive member of the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES)
    • Served on the organizing committee of five IAMES international congresses
  • Founding member of the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS)
  • Co-Editor of the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IJCIS), published by Intellect Publishing in the UK