William Lawrence is a visiting professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University's Elliott School. He has 32 years' experience working on the MENA region and wider Muslim world and lived for 13 years in seven Muslim majority countries. Since 2011, he has served successively as International Crisis Group’s North Africa Project Director, as the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director, and as Control Risk’s Middle East and North Africa Associate Director. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor for Global Engagement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), working closely with the White House on core Obama administration Cairo-speech-related initiatives. He co-created the Global Innovation Through Science and Technology (GIST) Program, the U.S. Science Envoy Program, and the Maghreb Digital Library; co-chaired of the U.S.-Egypt S&T development fund for four years; and served at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, helping negotiate the first U.S.-Libya bilateral agreement in decades.
He has taught at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Tufts/Fletcher School, Amideast/Mohamed V in Rabat, and Cadi Ayyad in Marrakesh and lectured at over 100 universities worldwide. He appears regularly on NPR, BBC, VOA, France 24, Al Jazeera Arabic and English, and CCTV (China). He received six merit awards from the U.S. State Department, two medals from the Egyptian government, and an alumni achievement award from Duke University. He co-produced 6 MENA-related documentary films and 14 albums of North African music.
His current research focuses on North African Arab Spring and its aftermath, youth political culture, security challenges and responses, informal economy and politics, policy towards the Middle East and North Africa, law and social change in North Africa.
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