The department is a lively community that is recognised internationally as one of the top centres for research and teaching in development studies.
Ali is currently working on The Politics of the Syrian Refugee Crisis project at the Refugee Studies Centre, which compares policy towards Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. He has undertaken fieldwork to gather data on policy in Lebanon and Jordan in the form of interviews with officials at the national and local level, and with members of local and international organisations working with displaced Syrians.
His previous research at the London School of Economics examined the socio-economic implications of the war in Syria during which time he conducted fieldwork in Turkey in regions bordering Syria in 2013 and 2014. The research examined activists' use of technology to challenge the state, security in opposition areas, and the political economy of war. His doctoral work at the University of East London addressed the relationship between displacement and state-transformation in occupied Iraq and the coercive transformations of space that took place in Baghdad with implications for displacement. His research was based on interviews with Iraqis living in Syria during 2010 and 2011.