Hanlie Booysen

Hanlie Booysen profile picture photograph

School of Social and Cultural Studies


PhD (Wgtn), MA (Durham; University of Johannesburg)


Hanlie’s main research interest concerns the relationship between Islam and politics (ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9058-5759). Her PhD thesis explained the moderate platform of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB). Moreover, Hanlie is exploring the notion that Islamists are not “essentially” democratic or autocratic, but that the political environment influences their behaviour and policies. This research is of interest to scholarship on the securitisation of Islam, religious inspired conflict, and democratisation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Hanlie is a founding member of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Aotearoa (MEISA) network, which promotes research on and engagement with the MENA region from an Aotearoa New Zealand perspective. MEISA also strives to enhance social cohesion and cultural competency in Aotearoa through the production and sharing of knowledge.

Hanlie’s research interest and engagement with policy practitioners are served well by her former career as a South African diplomat to Jordan (1993-1997), Chargé d'affaires to Palestine (2000 – 2004), and Deputy Head of Mission to Syria (2009 – 2012).

Recent Publications

Hanlie Booysen (2021) Martyrs as a conduit for legitimacy – explaining Iran’s foreign policy towards Syria, Third World Quarterly,  DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2021.1952067.

Hanlie Booysen (2020) Qatar’s Calculated Gamble on the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. In The Regional Order in the Gulf Region and the Middle East: Regional Rivalries and Security Alliances, edited by P. O. Amour. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Booysen, H. (2018). The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood: Surviving the Syrian Uprising. In New Opposition in the Middle East, edited by Conduit, Dara and Shahram Akbarzadeh. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Public Engagement

Israel’s military occupation of Palestine is not sustainable, Newsroom, May 19, 2021.

Understanding the significance of Suleimani’s assassination, Newsroom, January 10, 2020.

Why New Zealand needs to translate its response to Christchurch attacks into foreign policy, The Conversation, April 26, 2019.

Competing foreign interests trump Syrian aspirations for political change, The Conversation, May 14, 2018.

“The Best Kept Little Secret – A Posting in the Middle East”, published in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s electronic magazine, 2017.

Presentation on the Syrian Crisis, Wellington North Rotary Club., 2016.

Presentation on the Undoing of the Sykes-Picot Understanding, Masterton Rotary Club, 2013.

Conference, Seminar, and Workshop Papers

2018:‘Moderate Islamists: Ideology versus Political Environment’, NZPSA Conference (Wellington, New Zealand).

2018. ‘Qatar’s Calculated Gamble on the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’, Religious Studies Seminar Series (Wellington, New Zealand), and the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (Melbourne, Australia).

2017:‘Surviving the Syrian uprising: The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’, the Alfred  Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (Melbourne, Australia).

2017. ‘Are Islamists Rational Political Actors? Case study IS/ISIS’, the Antipodean East European Study Group workshop (Wellington, New Zealand).

2016:‘Moderation in Exclusion – The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’, the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (Melbourne, Australia).

2015:‘The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood: Moderation in Islamic Governance’, the Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS), (St Andrews, Scotland).