In this talk, Tarek Osman will share his essay, The Two Futures of the Arab World, published in 2016. He will put forward the argument that the Arab world is currently undergoing its most transformative change since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. But that politics is leading to polarisations, violence, and chaos, not only due to present conditions, but primarily because of legacies of failure in the past half century. Osman will shed light on where the real potential for a transformation towards a better future for the Arab World lies: the widenining and increasing competitiveness of the private sector across the region, rising social entrepreneurship, new forms of governance, a wave of artistic innovation, and new approaches to the role of religion in society. He argues that there’s a struggle between the failure of politics and the promise of these trends, and that this is the key battle in the Arab World today and what will determine its future.
Tarek Osman is an author, essayist, and broadcaster focusing on the Arab and Islamic worlds. He is the author of Islamism: A History of Political Islam (Yale, 2017) and the international bestselling book Egypt on the Brink (Yale, 2010). Tarek wrote and presented several BBC documentary series, including The Making of the Modern Arab World, Sands of Time: A History of Saudi Arabia, and Islam Divided: Sunni-Shii. He is a regular contributor on the Arab and Islamic worlds for leading newspapers and magazines.
Tarek is the senior political counselor for the Arab world at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He advises the Board of Directors, representing over 65 countries, and senior management on the region’s geo-politics and political-economy, and on the dynamics and challenges of political and economic reform.
Tarek studied at the American University in Cairo and at Bocconi University in Milan.