Professor Kavakci is a former member of the Turkish Parliament. She holds a Ph.D in political science from Howard University, an MPA from Harvard University and a B.S. in software engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her areas of expertise are the democratization of the Muslim world, contemporary Turkish politics, women in Islam, and Muslim women in politics. She is a columnist for daily Turkish newspaper Vakit (www.mervekavakci.net). She currently is a professor at the George Washington University.