Lara-Zuzan is a scholar-practitioner who established an United Nations-awarded non-profit NGO while completing her PhD in politics at The New School for Social Research in New York. She also holds a master’s degree in international affairs and in politics. Lara-Zuzan has advanced knowledge in institutions, migration, human and civil rights. She is a visionary social justice advocate known for innovative ideas that connect theory and practice in policy and scholarship.
Lara-Zuzan is deeply committed to addressing ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination at the local and global level. Her dissertation on State-Islam Relations in Germany and the United States examines the extent to which the “place” of Muslims and Islam has been contested in the contemporary moment. Her recent work focuses on refugees and sustainable livelihoods. For her project, The Refugee Gender Gap, she conducted ethnographic research in Turkey, Jordan, and Germany.
Informed by her scholarly research, Lara-Zuzan developed a policy project, WoW, and founded a human rights NGO, WoW e.V., to address the employment rights of Muslim immigrants and refugees in Germany. In 2015, WoW was selected as a winner of the Global Diversity contest sponsored by the United Nations Academic Impact and the UNHATE Foundation. Currently, WoW is part of the ANKOMMER Perspektive Deutschland fellowship program, which supports socially innovative ideas and projects that help provide refugees with social and economic resources.
Through her human rights practice, Lara-Zuzan has been able to push for more inclusivity in the German labor market at the European Commission and the United Nations, as well as on the federal and state level in Germany. Recently, she became a regional delegate for CLAIM – Alliance against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism in Germany. As of August 2018, Lara-Zuzan is a visiting assistant professor of politics at the University of Portland.