Ahmed Benchemsi, a Stanford visiting scholar and award-winning Moroccan journalist, will introduce "FreeArabs.com". The new media outlet aims to provide the Arab Spring secular generation with a global platform, a digital haven for speaking out, building ties and developing a strong network. Under the editorial line "Democracy, Secularism, Fun" and with a newsy and arty activist tone, Free Arabs will expose corruption and authoritarianism in the Middle East, invoke genuine democracy as a challenge to Islamists, and fight to restore the real meaning of secularism (ie, freedom of choice) in a region where this word has long been demonized by both oppressive governments and religious zealots.
Ahmed Benchemsi is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. His focus is on "The seeds of secularism in the post-Spring Arab world".
Before joining Stanford, Ahmed was the publisher and editor of Morocco's two best-selling newsweeklies TelQuel (French) and Nishan (Arabic), which he founded in 2001 and 2006, respectively. Covering politics, business, society and the arts, Ahmed's magazines were repeatedly cited by major media such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and more, as strong advocates of democracy and secularism in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ahmed received awards from the European Union and Lebanon's Samir Kassir Foundation, notably for his work on the "Cult of personality" surrounding Morocco's King. He also published op-eds in Le Monde and Newsweek where he completed fellowships.
Ahmed received his M.Phil in Political Science in 1998 from Paris' Institut d'Etudes Politiques (aka "Sciences Po"), his M.A in Development Economics in 1995 from La Sorbonne, and his B.A in Finance in 1994 from Paris VIII University.