Fouad Ajami is the Majid Khadduri Professor and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was a faculty member of Princeton University’s Department of Politics and a fellow at Princeton’s Center of International Studies and a research fellow at the Lehrman Institute. Born in Arnoun in the south of Lebanon, Ajami is one of the mostinfluential Arab-American intellectuals of his generation. He has been an ardent and outspoken proponent of democracy in the Middle East. “The spectacle of ordinary Iraqis, old women, old men, Iraqis returning from far away to vote, people holding up their forefingers dipped in purple ink,” Ajami said in an interview after the first round of Iraqi elections last year, “gave the lie to the idea that democracy is alien or need be alien to this region.”
A prolific and elegant writer, Ajami is the author of numerous books, including Vanished Imam: Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon, Beirut: City of Regrets, The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey and The Arab Predicament: Arab Political Thought and Practice Since 1967. His most-recent book is this year’s The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq.
Fluent in Arabic, Ajami is also contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report, a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs for CBS News, and a member of the editorial board of Foreign Affairs and the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review and The New Republic, as well. Ajami earned his Ph.D. at the University of Washington.