William Lawrence

Part-time Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

North African History, Politics and Culture; Comparative and Developmental Political Analysis; Economic Development; Islamic Law and Social Change; Security and Conflict Resolution; Negotiation; U.S. Policy towards the Middle East and North Africa, U.S. Engagement with the Muslim World, U.S. Science and Technology and Environmental Policy Towards MENA, U.S. Diplomatic History

Dr. William Lawrence has thirty-two year’s experience working on the MENA region and wider Muslim world and lived immersively for thirteen 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.


Current Research

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 Policy, Law and Social Change in North Africa


Ph.D. and MALD, Fletcher School, Tufts University, BA Duke University, Advanced Study Certificates from University of Paris (Sorbonne) and American University in Cairo




Stolen Spring, Lynne Reinner, 2018

(Forthcoming) "Trump Administration Factions and Middle East Policy," The Arab Center, 2017

"The Trump Administration and North Africa," The Arab Center, 2017

"In Conversation with the President of the American Tunisian Association," Asharq al-Awsat, 2014

"Jihadi-Salafism's Next Generation," CSIS, 2013.

"After the Uprisings: Political Transition in Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen," World Politics Review, 2013.

"Will Egypt Become the Next Algeria?" Washington Institute, 2013.

"North African Commonalities," Part 1 and 2, MERIP, 2013.

"Libya's Volunteer Peacekeepers," Foreign Policy, 2012.

"L'après Kadhafi: un tournant crucial pour la Libye," Rue 89 (Nouvel Observateur), 2012

"Libya Bin-Najah wal-Faudha," Al-Hayat, 2012.

"Wie Tunesien seine Probleme lösen kann," Die Zeit, 2012.

"Comment Sauver le Sahel," Slate Afrique, 2012.

"Tunisia must address its economic woes," The Guardian, 2012.

"Tunis: muwajaha At-tahdiat al-ijtima'a wal-iqtisaidiya," Asharq al-Awsat, 2012.

"L'exception tunisienne malgé tout," Jeune Afrique, 2012.

"Al-Istithina' at-tounsi," Asharq al-Awsat, 2012.

"Les défis sécuritaires de l'après-Kadhafi," Le Figaro, 2012.

"Tahdiat Al-Libya Al-Amania Fima Baad Al Qadhafi," Sharq Al-Awsat, 2011.

"Global Engagement from Paris to the Persian Gulf," The White House, 2010.

"Translating Moroccan Shaabi and Algeria Rai Music Empathetically, " University of Oxford, 2002.

"Northern Africa," Afropop, World Music Institute, 1995.

Morocco: Crossroads, Ellipsis Arts, 1995.

A Cultural and Cross-Cultural Guide for Cairo, American University, 1992.

Classes Taught

North African Politics, Issues in Middle East and North African Security, Re-Imagining North Africa