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The S R Nathan Annual Distinguished Lecture
At the 5th S R Nathan Distinguished Lecture, Professor Olivier Roy delivered a speech entitled “Conflicts in the Middle East: Where is Religion?”, in which he contended that Islam was no longer as significant a factor in politics in the Middle East, in comparison with the past. This was most clearly exemplified in the 2011 Arab Spring, when demonstrations which erupted were arguably less about the instatement of Sharia law or the introduction of an Islamic State, but more a response to local conditions such as state corruption and youth unemployment.
To view an edited excerpt from his talk, please click here.
About the Speaker(s)
Renowned political scientist Olivier Roy (1949) has spoken extensively on the topic of political Islam, providing incisive analysis on the phenomenon of religious extremism. His vast knowledge of the subject matter has landed him a myriad of positions, both in academia and the government. Olivier Roy is presently Professor at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. His various academic positions include scientific adviser of the Middle East Directions programme at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, coordinator of the ReligioWest research project (funded by the European Research Council), Senior Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (since 1985), professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (since 2003), and visiting professor at Berkeley University (2008/2009). His illustrious career made him highly sought after when he acted as a consultant to the French Foreign Ministry from 1984 to 2008. He also headed the OSCE’s Mission for Tajikistan (1993-94) and was a Consultant for the UN Office of the Coordinator for Afghanistan (1988). His areas of expertise include Afghanistan, Political Islam, the Middle East, Islam in the West and comparative religions. Prof Roy received an “Agrégation de Philosophie” and a Ph.D. in Political Science. He is the author of, among other books, “The Failure of Political Islam” (Harvard U P, 1994), “Globalized Islam” (Columbia University Press, 2004), “Holy Ignorance” (Hurst/ Oxford UP, 2010), “Jihad and Death” (Hurst/OUP, 2017), “In Search of the Lost Orient” (Columbia UP, 2017), and co-authored “Tribes and Global Jihadism” (Hurst/Oxford UP, 2017) with his colleague at EUI, Professor Virginie Collombier, whose research interests include Libyan society, political economy and security issues. As one of the foremost authorities on religious extremism, Prof Roy is an invaluable source for anyone seeking to understand political Islam and the motivations of individuals who commit acts of violence in the name of religion.