Sultan Barakat was the director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy. Barakat has been widely published, and has over 25 years of professional experience working on issues of conflict management, humanitarian response, and post-conflict recovery and transition. Much of his work has been based in, but not limited to, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

His research focus includes strategic conflict assessment; post-war reconstruction and state-building; humanitarian action; education in emergencies; and program evaluation and value attribution. Underlying these themes is a principal research concern with public diplomacy towards the Muslim world and the effectiveness of the research-policy nexus.

Barakat has acted as principal investigator on numerous large-scale conflict and recovery research projects for the World Bank, the EU, U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, The Institute of International Education, United States Institute of Peace, the International Labour Organization, and others. Over the past three years, he has led an international multidisciplinary team in carrying out an education focused conflict analysis of Somalia on behalf of UNICEF; evaluated the effectiveness of the Afghanistan National Solidarity Program in terms of the reintegration of refugees on behalf of the World Bank; and completed a flagship Economic Social Research Council funded project investigating the impact of DFID-sponsored research on British state-building policy.