Wadah Khanfar: "One Year After Mubarak: The Past and Future of the 'Arab Spring'"

February 24, 2012


MIT Media Lab, E14 6th Floor


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MIT Media Lab
Center for Civic Media
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University
Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy at Tufts University

Wadah Khanfar is president of the Sharq Forum, an international think tank focused on political and economic development in the Arab world, and former director general of the Al Jazeera network. Under Khanfar's leadership, Al Jazeera offered to the world a front-row seat to witness the fall of dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt, and the wave of rebellion that swept the Arab world. A year later, Khanfar reflects on the hopes raised by the Arab Spring, the changes that have—and haven't—taken place, and the challenges Egypt and other countries face on the road towards democracy.
Khanfar's talk will be followed by a dialogue with Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab; Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT's Center for Civic Media; and Mohamed Nanabhay, head of online at Al Jazeera English, as well as questions and answers with the audience.


Wadah Khanfar first appeared as a commentator on Al Jazeera shortly after the network was founded, in 1996. In that role, he developed a reputation for a willingness to report from the front lines of international conflict, managing the network's Kabul bureau, reporting from Kurdish Iraq, and serving as bureau chief for Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein. In 2003, he became managing director of Al Jazeera, and in 2006, director general. He announced his resignation from the network in September 2011, and subsequently co-founded the Sharq Foundation. In 2011, Khanfar was one of Foreign Policy magazine's Top 100 Global Thinkers, and headed Fast Company's list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. He was also named one of the most "Powerful People in the World" by Forbes magazine in 2009.

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