Sultan Barakat is the Director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS), which he founded in 2016 and a Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Doha, Qatar. CHS is the leading centre for research and policy analysis on conflict and humanitarian action in the Arab world. Prior to establishing CHS, Professor Barakat was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy and served as the Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center. Professor Barakat is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Politics at the University of York. The status of Honorary Professor was accorded by the University Senate for 5 years, starting from 1 September 2019. At the University of York, he founded and led the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) between 1993 and 2016. He received the University of York Vice-Chancellor's Gold Award for Excellence in May 2011.
Professor Barakat has over 25 years of professional experience working on issues of conflict management, humanitarian response, and post-conflict recovery and transition. He is regularly engaged in providing guidance as a Senior Advisor and Consultant to the United Nations, the World Bank, European Union, DFID, ILO, IFRC and a variety of governments and international non-governmental organizations including CARE and Oxfam. He has led major evaluations and programming initiatives in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Palestine, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Uganda and Yemen.
His work has been published widely, with his most recent book, Understanding Influence: The Use of Statebuilding Research in British Policy published by Ashgate in 2014. Most recently, he has co-led Track I and Track II mediation efforts in Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan. Professor Barakat is also a regular expert commentator in international media, with regular contributions to Al Jazeera English. Professor Barakat serves on the Advisory Board of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute in London. He is a member of the joint Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) Commissioning Panel for research on poverty reduction. Barakat was one of the founding Expert Panel Members of the Global Peace Index where he served between 2008 and 2014.