Dr. Ali Riaz is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council South Asia Center and a Distinguished Professor at Illinois State University, USA. He currently also holds the Thomas E Eimermann Professorship in Political Science. He was the chair of the Department of Politics and Government between 2007 and 2017. Riaz previously taught at universities in Bangladesh, England, and South Carolina, USA, worked as a Broadcast Journalist at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London, and served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at Washington D.C. Ali Riaz earned his PhD in political science from the University of Hawaii in 1993. He also has master’s in Communication, and Political Science from the same institution. 

He served as a consultant to various international organizations and appeared before the US Congress in 2013 and 2015 as an expert witness. His primary area of interests are democratization, violent extremism, political Islam, madrassahs, South Asian politics, and Bangladeshi politics. Dr. Riaz has published in English and Bengali. He has authored 19 books in English and 12 books in Bengali, 37 book chapters and more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in English; his recent publications include Voting in A Hybrid Regime: Understanding 2018 Bangladeshi Election (2019), Lived Undying Issues: Reframing Debates on Contemporary Challenges (2018),  Islam and Islamism in Bangladesh (2017); Bangladesh: A Political History since Independence (2016).  He has coedited Political Violence in South Asia (2019) and Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh (2016).

Professor Ali Riaz received several awards including the College of Arts and Sciences first Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement 2004, Outstanding College Researcher Award 2005, and Pi Sigma Alpha Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. Riaz regularly contributes to Bangladeshi and international media on South Asian politics. He appeared on CNN, CNN​, BBC, Al-Jazeera English, Canadian TV​, and quoted in the NYT, FT, WSJ, Tokyo Shimbun, Guardian among other media. He was  the editor of the bi-annual journal,  Studies on Asia, between 2010 and 2015.