William Lawrence teaches political science and international affairs at American University’s School of International Service. He has served as a senior diplomat, analyst, and international programs director. He lived and worked for fifteen years in seven Middle Eastern, North African (MENA), and Sahelian countries and France. Since 2011, he served as Crisis Group’s North Africa director, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s MENA Programs Director, and Control Risks’ MENA Associate Director. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor for Global Engagement in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), working closely with the White House on core Obama administration 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 major U.S.-Libya agreement in decades. He also co-created the State Department’s Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (later Partnership). 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. He appears regularly on NPR, BBC, VOA, France 24, Sky News Arabia, Al Jazeera, and CGTN. He has taught at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, George Washington, Tufts/Fletcher School, Amideast/Mohamed V in Rabat, and Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech and in the U.S. intelligence community and lectured at over 100 universities worldwide. His research, writing, and consulting focuses on youth protest and political culture; comparative politics; security challenges and responses; informal economy, development, and innovation; international engagement with the Middle East, Africa, and the Muslim world; and international and Islamic law and social change. He also co-produced six MENA-related films and fourteen albums of North African music.

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