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Ahmed Benchemsi

Ahmed Benchemsi, MPhil

Visiting Scholar Program on Arab Reform and Democracy

CDDRL
616 Serra Street
Encina Hall
Stanford, CA 94305

Research Interests

Grassroots democracy movements, Internet activism, political reform under street pressure

Bio

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 democratic grassroots movement that recently burgeoned in Morocco, as in Tunisia and Egypt. Ahmed researches how and under what circumstances a handful of young Facebook activists managed to infuse democratic spirit which eventually inspired hundreds of thousands, leading them to hit the streets in massive protests. He investigates whether this actual trend will pave the way for genuine democratic reform or for the traditional political system's reconfiguration around a new balance of powers - or both.  

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.