The Role of the Muslim Brotherhood Within the Geopolitics of the Middle East
- Monday 6 May 2019
- Free to visit, registration required
2311 BD Leiden
Nearly seven years after Mohammed Morsi was elected president of Egypt in 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood is a weakened and internally fragmented organization. Tens of thousands of its members are imprisoned or in exile, while certain Arab governments have launched fierce diplomatic and media campaigns against the group, which only add to the internal rifts that have fractured the organization. Despite these setbacks, the Brotherhood remains the Arab world’s largest and most influential Sunni Islamist movement and would likely be one of the strongest forces in free and fair elections in almost any Arab country.
This lecture will look at the geopolitics of the Middle East through the lens of the Muslim Brotherhood. As various governments seek to assert themselves within a highly dynamic region, the respective positions they adopt towards the Brotherhood remain important factors in how they define their foreign policies. Looking at a number of pertinent cases (such as the Gulf diplomatic crisis of 2017, Saudi versus Emirati policy in Yemen, and the so-called ‘new Middle East cold war’ between Iran and Saudi Arabia), this lecture will try to understand to what extent the Brotherhood, despite having been weakened organizationally, continues to influence the geopolitics of the Middle East and North Africa.
About the speaker
Victor J. Willi holds a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford and a Master in History, Arabic & Islamic Studies, and International Law from the University of Zurich. He is the Founder and the Director of Research of the Swiss Research Institute for the Middle East and North Africa, a Geneva-based think-tank providing exclusive research and advisory services to its members.
Victor has 18 years of professional and academic experience in different countries of the Middle East and North Africa, including extended field trips in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, the UAE and Israel. In 2012 and 2013, he conducted extended fieldwork in Cairo and Alexandria, collecting hundreds of hours of recorded interviews with members of the Muslim Brotherhood from across the organizational spectrum. His book The Fourth Ordeal: a History of the Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, 1968-2018 is currently under review by Cambridge University Press and will be published at the end of 2019.
Previously, Victor worked at the World Economic Forum, from where he received an executive Master degree. He has several years of teaching experience, lecturing on post-Arab Spring Middle East politics and the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa. He is the recipient of several full-time research scholarships, including from the Swiss National Science Foundation.
He is a Swiss-American double citizen who is fluent in English, German, Arabic and French. For more information, see www.victorjwilli.com.
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