I wrote this while a member of a Police Reform mission in Sanaa in 2012. My team leader asked me to brainstorm with the Ministry of Interior’s Communication Department to see what could be done in terms of reform there. In contrast to the rest of the police, this department’s members were very reform-minded (as many socialist ex-South Yemenis officials are) and we had a fascinating exchange. After following up in subsequent meetings, I penned down my recommendations for a MoI comms strategy, in which producing a TV series played a central part. With the currently unfolding events in Yemen I feel free to share these recommendations with you.
I am posting the pdfs of my visual presentations for the course ‘Lessons (Not) Learnt in Afghanistan’, given at the Paris School of International Affairs in Feb-March 2015, here. My presentations serve as visual aid and to recap the main points about a given subject; so these documents do not contain all the course material and may be, at times, even confusing out of the class context. So handle with care! Continue reading
Historic consciousness in the UAE and in the other GCC states goes back only a few centuries, at most; this is how far back most prominent Emirati families can reliably trace their genealogy.
What happened in these lands before the advent of Islam is as alien to the current population, as if it had happened on another continent. Continue reading
Aya Johanna Danielle Durst Britt wrote a thoughtful review, in Flemish, of the exhibition in Amsterdam I curated – and which recently finished – in Al Arte Magazine.
Searching for Ancient Arabia: the magazine, with contributions by Rahel Aima, Amal Bsiss, Liane Al Ghusain, Ahmed Makia, Mehdi Sabet and yours truly.
Photo taken in the ruins of the city of Al Ukhdood (ancient Najran) by Abdelkarim Qassem
One of the premises of the ‘Searching for Ancient Arabia’ research project is the cultural diversity of the Arabian Peninsula; one of the research hypotheses being that this pluralism—well evident in ancient history—was smothered by subsequent narratives and historical developments, but that it could be a great asset for the future development of the Gulf region, particularly in artistic and cultural terms. Continue reading
This year (2014) I asked my students to write their papers as catalogue contributions to an exhibition I made in Paris to coincide with the end of the term.
Here one can find the links to their papers and images of the exhibition, which I made with the help of the Window, an art space in the center of Paris run by a good friend of mine and those that contributed to the crowd funding project I ran – especially my father!
View of the excavated Portuguese fort with the sea behind it, and the palm groves between the two. One of the beautiful sceneries we encountered during our research. Continue reading
A workshop will be held for all those interested in participating in this research project at the Downtown Campus (off Hamdan Street) of NYU Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 25 February, from 18:00 to 20:30.
For details about the workshop and registration see the bottom of this page.
Introduction to the research subject
“Only a small proportion of the lore of the Arabs has come down to you. Had it reached you in its entirety, much scientific and literary knowledge would have been yours”
A few days ago I got my certificate for Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) from the Carabinieri in Livorno. The Carabinieri are the Italian counterpart of the Gendarmerie, or Guardia Civil – the police force that depends from the Ministry of Defense. The training was given by the First Paratrooper Regiment (“Tuscania”), who engage in difficult operations abroad, like protecting VIPs in enemy territory or liberating hostages. They are strong, self-confident, good-looking and easy-going Italians, the real stuff, machos beyond posturing. Continue reading