I’m interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and the Middle East, particularly the legal and social status of religious minorities in the Arab world.

I was born in Russia, grew up in Harford County, Maryland, and now live in Washington, DC. I speak strong Arabic, Russian, and Spanish, as well as some Persian/Farsi. I’m a proud naturalized American citizen.

I have a Bachelor’s in Middle East Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

I founded and edited Wonkistan.com, a blog and YouTube channel that covers a wide range of news and cultural topics, together with my friend Amanda McLoughlin. 

I’ve written for First Things’ website, made videos for myself and for nonprofits, and done lots of other stuff besides — check out my portfolio!

You can follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and visit Wonkistan.com as well as the project’s YouTube channel. If you know me in real life, connect with me on LinkedIn. Or send me an email at ivan.i.plis [at] gmail [dot] com.

(Photo: Mar Saba Monastery, the West Bank. Taken by me; all rights reserved.)