Cole Bunzel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where his research focuses on the history and theology of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and the jihadi salafi movement underlying groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State. An Arabic speaker, he has written extensively on developments in jihadi ideology, including the seminal report From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State (Brookings, 2014) as well as numerous contributions to the website Jihadica. His publications also address the ideological bases and historical evolution of the jihadi movement.
Cole earned his B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 2008 and M.A. in Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 2012. His time in the Middle East includes a year in Damascus, Syria as a fellow with the Center for Arabic Study Abroad and multiple research trips to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is also an associate fellow with the International Centre for Radicalization and Political Violence at Kings College London.