William Lawrence is a visiting professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University's Elliott School. He has 34 years' experience working on the Middle East and Africa region and wider Muslim world and lived for 15 years in seven Muslim-majority countries and France. 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 Programs 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 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 also co-produced 6 MENA-related documentary films and 14 albums of North African music.
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 French and English, Al Jazeera Arabic and English, and CGTN (China). He received six merit awards from the U.S. State Department, two medals from the Egyptian government, an alumni achievement award from Duke University, and the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Fenn School.
His current research and consulting focuses on youth protest and political culture, security challenges and responses, informal economy and entrepreneurship, policy towards the Middle East and Africa, and international and Islamic law and social change.
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