DR. ALAA AL ASWANY is the Arab world’s most prominent literary figure, and a fearless and eloquent advocate for democratic reform in Egypt. Al Aswany, the author of the Arab world’s highest-selling book ever, The Yacoubian Building, proclaimed in a 2008 New York Times Magazine
profile that, “A writer is never neutral, and he is always more than a writer. He is also a citizen with responsibility toward the society he lives in.” That sense of responsibility combined with brilliant writing and a commitment to democracy, tolerance, and compassion has propelled Al Aswany to his role as a reasoned but uncompromising critic of the Egyptian government and the religious extremists aligned against it, as well as Western leaders whose condemnation of oppressive dictatorships is too often inconsistently applied. Al Aswany’s World Affairs blog focuses on global and regional issues related to political, security, economic, religion, and human rights issues. Al Aswany speaks Arabic, English, French, and Spanish, and his work is published in twenty-four languages worldwide. He originally trained as a dentist, and has a practice in Cairo where he resides.