Moyara Ruehsen

Associate Professor

I am passionate about capacity building in the areas of financial regulatory compliance and investigations, and public policies related to illicit markets as well as the macro-economy.  While my research and consulting work can be invigorating, my first love will always be teaching.  I hope to convey my own passion for these subjects to my students and inspire them to go out and explore new career paths they might not have considered when they first began their studies here.

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS is the energy and commitment of my graduate students to making a positive difference in the world.  One of the most gratifying things about being a professor is to hear either through social networking, email, holiday cards, and sometimes the media, what students are doing in their lives and careers with the skill sets they’ve developed at MIIS.

Professor Ruehsen is an award-winning instructor, who has given guest lectures throughout the U.S. and overseas. She received three graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University (MHS, MA, PhD) and then spent a post-doctoral year in 1993 at the University of California, Berkeley.  An economist by training and a certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS), and certified financial crime specialist (CFCS), for the past seventeen years she has  been teaching courses on international economics, financial crime, counter-terrorism financing and asset recovery.

Dr. Ruehsen's regional expertise is the Middle East, where she spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Bahrain.  She has also studied at Yarmouk University in Jordan.

Her current research focuses on trade-based money laundering, proliferation financing, and sanctions. Professor Ruehsen has published in a variety of academic journals and professional periodicals. She was a long time contributor to Money Laundering Alert, and also served as a consultant to governments and the private sector.


Money laundering, terrorism financing, corruption, asset recovery,  illegal drug markets, and international macro-economy.

Prof. Ruehsen speaks on euro crisis May 2010


PhD, International Economics and Middle East Studies, Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); MA, International Studies, MHS, International Health, BA, Social Science, Johns Hopkins University; CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist); CFCS (Certified Financial Crime Specialist)


"Breaking the Ice In Baghdad," Toastmaster Magazine, September 2014.

Freeman, Michael and Moyara Ruehsen, "Terrorism Financing Methods: An Overview,"_Perspectives on Terrorism_Volume 7, Issue 4, August 2013.

"PKK" in Michael Freeman's_Financing Terrorism:Case Studies_, Ashgate Press, 2012.

"Afghanistan's Drug War - The Farmers Aren't the Enemy." LA Times 2 November 2009.

Arab Government Responses to the Threat of Terrorist Financing,” Chapter in J. Giraldo and H. Trinkunas, Terrorism Financing and State Responses in Comparative Perspective, Stanford University Press, Fall 2007.

“Choosing an Appropriate Palestinian Monetary Regime.” Research in Middle East Economics Volume 6, 2005, pp. 183-199.

Diamonds Are a Terrorist’s Best Friend,”, (September 2004).

Little Noticed UN Report Cites Alleged Saudi Terrorist Financing,” Money Laundering Alert, (October 2003).

Dirty Laundering: Financing Latin America’s Drug Trade,” (review essay) in Harvard International Review, (Winter 2003).

The Fallacy of Sanctions,” Middle East Insight (March-April 2002).

Tracing al-Qaeda’s Money,” Middle East Insight (January-February 2002).

Suspected UAE Links to Terrorist Funds Spark Anti-Laundering Efforts,” Money Laundering Alert (December 2001).

Arab Naming Customs Complicate Screening for Suspected Terrorists,” Money Laundering Alert (December 2001).

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ECPR 8501 - Economics Preparation-Macro      

This intensive course in introductory macroeconomics places emphasis on the fundamental principles necessary for success in International Economics II (IPSG 8503), Development Economics (IPSG 8551) and is strongly recommended for Money Laundering & AML Policies (IPSG 8581).

In this course, we examine how the overall level of national economic activity is determined, including output, employment, and inflation. We explore the roles of monetary and fiscal policies in stabilizing the economy and promoting growth, with a focus on contemporary policy debates.

Summer 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS, Summer 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8503 - IntEconIICurrncyCashFlowCrises      

This course focuses on international monetary theory and exchange rate determination, as well as macroeconomic policymaking in an open economy. Topics include balance of payments analysis, currency and debt crises, exchange rate regimes such as monetary unions, and more.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8581 / IPSG 8582 - MoneyLaundering & AML Policies      

This course provides an introduction to money laundering and serves as a foundation for any of the related follow-up workshops and courses. Topics covered include the three typical stages of money laundering (placement, layering, integration), how to spot “red flag” indicators, trade-based money laundering techniques (false trade invoicing, use of high-value metals, black market peso exchange), misuse of informal value transfer systems, monitoring politically exposed persons, FIU’s and the Egmont Group, and finally global anti-corruption compliance and enforcement. Capital flows and payment methods will also be scrutinized, so an introductory Macroeconomics course is _strongly_ recommended. The goal of this workshop and the three that follow, is to prepare students to take and pass the Certification for Financial Crime Specialists (CFCS).

Spring 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8583 - FraudDetctnTaxEvasnAssetRecvry      

This is the third installment of the CFCS preparation series. Topics covered include understanding and recognizing different types of financial fraud, tax evasion vs. tax avoidance, the use of offshore entities, FATCA, different types of asset recovery tools, and how to trace, forfeit and repatriate assets.

Spring 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8584 - FinCrimeInvst,CompliancBstPrct      

This is the fourth and final installment of the CFCS preparation series. Topics covered include laws and investigative techniques for financial crime investigations, how to interpret financial documents, the risk-based approach to compliance, Basel Committee Guidance, Wolfsberg Group recommendations, KYC, KYE, compliance monitoring systems, ethics and best practices.

Spring 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8595 - AdvPublcSpkngForPolicyProfsnls      

Public Speaking for Policy Professionals is an intensive, interactive workshop that will provide you with the basics for making skilled and professional presentations in a variety of venues. Our work together will provide you with the foundation to not only hone your skills, but will offer you practical tools for making expert presentations in other academic and professional venues.

In order to promote your effectiveness as a presenter, you will be called upon to participate in various activities and discussions that require both individual and team considerations. This will include group collaboration on a presentation in our workshop setting, as well as individual attention to your public speaking skills, including use of visual support tools. It is my explicit aim to help you become better presenters by providing you with skills and models to use for your professional development.

By the end of the workshop, you should have a greater understanding of how to present effectively and professionally as an individual and as a team. You should also garner critical tools to develop and hone your language and delivery skills, including non-verbal aspects, effectively organize and create interesting content, and expertly utilize visual support tools.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8608 - Sem:Topics in Devp: Corruption      

Corruption is a cancer that thwarts both political and economic development throughout the world. With the U.N. Convention on Corruption and now that corruption is a predicate offense for money laundering, it is easier to recover stolen assets that corrupt leaders and their associates have moved overseas. This course will look at the efforts underway to recover and return these stolen assets. For the final project, students will produce a 15-20 minute documentary looking at a case study of their choice. No prior film editing experience is needed (there will be tutorials provided by the DLC), but it helps.

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8613 - Sem: Illicit Drug Markets      

This course is divided into two segments. The first segment of the course covers illegal drug markets along their entire transaction chain from the growing regions of Latin America and Asia to the end-user markets. Emphasis is placed on the international markets for cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines, and the negative impacts of trafficking and use. The second segment examines the cost-effectiveness and viability of different supply and demand strategies, ranging from crop eradication and border interdiction to treatment and prevention.

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8619 - Sem:Econ Anlysis:Emerging Mkts      

This seminar is designed to provide students with critical skills in the area of economic analysis and writing. It will also be an opportunity to go into more depth on several important economic policy issues such as sovereign debt, foreign direct investment, capital account liberalization, trade liberalization and facilitation, and exchange rate policy. Students will pick one country and write an extensive economic analysis of that country by way of several assignments during the course of the semester.

Fall 2013 - MIIS

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IPSG 8662 - Advanced Terrorism Financing      

This course is a follow-up to the two workshops on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. It will go beyond the techniques that terrorists groups use to raise and move funds, and focus on strategies employed to stop them. We will also examine specific case studies, including proliferation financing cases and the use of non-profits.

Spring 2014 - MIIS

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IPSS 8675 - IPSS Field Deliverables      

During their IPSS internships students complete applied academic deliverables for which they earn six academic credits. The academic credit is not awarded for the internship itself, but for the work that applies students’ academic training to contribute to their host organizations’ mission in area of student’s career interest. The letter grades will be assigned based on the assessment of the following four deliverables:

IPSS Field Project: By the end of their internships students must have completed an ambitious project or other relatively autonomous contribution that presents value for the host organization and builds on students’ strengths and advances his/her skills and knowledge. The field project can take the form of a policy or consultancy report, evaluation, analysis, a website, or other substantive contribution to their host organization that integrates high quality research, analysis, and other skills and subject-matter knowledge. Faculty with relevant expertise and assigned peers will provide every student regular feedback on the major steps of the field project. Student’s regular internship responsibilities ideally should overlap with, but are not limited to the core field assignment. The organizations receiving interns are encouraged to help students identify such assignments prior to their arrival or at the very latest within one month after the start of student’s internship. The organization should provide assistance and guidance in completing this assignment.

Presentation: In the final part of the internship students will present on their field project to their colleagues at their host organizations. The video recording of that presentation will be then reviewed by the MIIS faculty who will invite students for Q&A and also provide additional feedback to students to improve the quality of their final deliverable(s).

Peer feedback: Interns will collaborate with their assigned peers by providing mutual peer feedback on their core field assignments to improve the quality of their work and learn from each other.

Final reflection: Interns will submit a final reflection to IPSS faculty and staff near the end of their internship- summarizing their most important insights and lessons they obtained from the internship experience for their professional and academic development.

Optional: Students are also highly encouraged to blog about their reflections on their internship experiences and comment on each others’ blogs throughout the internship assignment to maximize their learning.

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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NPTG 9581 - MoneyLaundering & AML Policies      

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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NPTG 9582 - TerrorFinanceSanctnsCybercrime      

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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