Kunaal Sharma

Kunaal Sharma is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in political science at Columbia University, where he conducts qualitative and experimental research on interventions overseas aimed at reducing religious intolerance and extremism.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Kunaal earned his B.A., M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in political science from Columbia University. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the South Asia research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. At CFR, Kunaal was primarily responsible for providing research on U.S. policy options regarding Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At Columbia, Kunaal’s research has combined multiple methods to study topics including how to reduce prejudice in Turkey toward Syrian refugees; the correlates of radicalization among Christian and Muslim youth in Kenya; and the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing extremism among youth in Kenya and India. His dissertation focuses on Sunni-Shia violence in Lucknow, the capital of India’s largest state. In Lucknow, Kunaal has designed, implemented, and analyzed some of the first-ever experimental evaluations aimed at moderating violent attitudes and behavior among Sunni and Shia youth.

Kunaal’s research has been published in Political Science Research & Methods (PSRM), the official journal of the European Political Science Association. He has also written policy pieces for various outlets, including The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and The Hindu newspaper (India).

Kunaal has been invited to present his research at several policy venues, including the 2016 Kanishka Project Symposium at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the 2015 Hedayah CVE Research Conference. He has been asked to brief on his work with officials in the U.S. Government and the United Nations, as well as with a range of policy organizations, including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Kunaal speaks Hindi-Urdu and is conversant in Persian and French.

At the Program on Extremism, Kunaal’s work focuses on using randomized controlled trials to evaluate interventions seeking to counter violent extremism at home and abroad.