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A Perfect Storm in the Arab World?

LSE Middle East Centre public lecture

Date: Thursday 24 February 2011 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue:  Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Professor Fawaz Gerges
Chair: Dr Maha Azzam

UPDATE Wednesday 23 February, 3.15pm: due to unforeseen circumstances Professor Mamoun Fandy will no longer be speaking in this event.

Regardless of the outcome of events in Egypt, for Arabs, psychologically and symbolically, this is their Berlin Wall moment. They are on the brink of a democratic wave similar to the one that swept through Eastern Europe more than 20 years ago, hastening the Soviet Union's collapse. The Arab intifada has put to rest the claim that Islam and Muslims are incompatible with democracy. The democratic virus is mutating and will probably give birth to a new language - and a new era - of politics in the Arab world.

Fawaz A. Gerges is a Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East and is the Director of the Middle East Centre at LSE.

He earned a doctorate from Oxford University and M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gerges has taught at Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia, and was a research scholar at Princeton and was a chairholder (the Christian A. Johnson Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs) at Sarah Lawrence College, New York.

His special interests include Islam and the political process, social movements, including mainstream Islamist movements and jihadist groups (like the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda), Arab politics and Muslim politics in the 20th century, the international relations of the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, state and society in the Middle East, American foreign policy towards the Muslim world, the modern history of the Middle East, history of conflict, diplomacy and foreign policy, and historical sociology.

Gerges is author of two recently acclaimed books: Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy (Harcourt Press, 2007), and The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (Cambridge University Press, 2005). The Washington Post selected The Far Enemy as one of the best 15 books published in the field. Journey of the Jihadist was on the best-selling list of Barnes and Nobles and Foreign Affairs Magazine for several months.

He is writing two books tentatively titled The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda: What American and Western Politicians Don't Want You to Know? (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Obama and the Greater Middle East: Rhetoric versus Reality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Professor Mamoun Fandy is a former professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University. He has been recently the Director of the Middle East Programme and Gulf Security at the International institute for Strategic Studies  in London. His articles in the pan Arab daily 'Asharq Alawsat' enjoy popular readership throughout the Middle East. Dr Fandy is the author of  'Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent' (Macmillan 1999) and '(Un)civil war of words: media and politics in the Arab world' (Praeger, 2007).

Dr Maha Azzam is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. She was Head of the Security and Development in Muslim States Programme at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies from 1995-1999. Azzam is a leading commentator on political Islam and has written extensively on the subject. Her forthcoming publications include 'Islamism Revisited' (Blackwell / Chatham House 2011).

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.


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