Director, North Africa Project
Dr. Bill Lawrence directs the North Africa Project and has twenty-seven years experience working in and on the Maghreb and Egypt. At Crisis Group, he has supervised research and performed analysis and advocacy regarding Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, and Mauritania.
Prior to joining Crisis Group, he served as Senior Advisor for Global Engagement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and advised the White House on core initiatives associated with President Obama’s Cairo speech. He co-created and managed the U.S. Science Envoy Program and the Global Innovation Through Science and Technology (GIST) Program, which included the Maghreb Digital Library. He is the co-founder of the State Department’s science partnerships program, best known for the 2007 Kuwait conference for women leaders; the Hurghada Project (in oceanography and biodiversity); the Fairhaven Project (for Israeli and Palestinian at-risk youth); Mediterranean seismic and archaeological mapping; assistance with the creation of the Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation and Research (MASCIR); and four science diplomacy films, including One Small Step, One Giant Leap for which he was Executive Producer. He served as co-chair of the U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Development Fund and as NATO Project Director for Sahara Winds. He helped negotiate and implement the first bilateral agreement with Libya in decades and served at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and as the State Department’s officer in charge of Tunisian and Libyan Affairs.
In 2008-9 he was named the Goldman Sachs Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. He has taught at Georgetown, the Fletcher School, Tufts, Amideast/Mohamed V University, and Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh and has lectured on North African affairs worldwide at over one hundred universities. He has received six superior and meritorious honor awards from the State Department and an alumni achievement award from Duke University. In 2011 he received two medals from the Egyptian government for enhancing U.S.-Egyptian relations. He holds a PhD in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, for which he participated in ten semestrial graduate level courses and writing workshops at Harvard University.
Dr. Lawrence has appeared regularly on BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, CBS, VOA, Radio Sawa, Radio France Internationale (RFI), Monocle Radio (UK), Voice of Russia, the National (Australia), Luxe Radio (Morocco, in French), and Radio Jeunes Tunisie (in Arabic); has been interviewed and quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, AP, AFP, Reuters, Bloomberg, the LA Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, Deutsche Welle, Middle East Report (MERIP), and The Chronicle of Higher Education — among dozens of other news sources; and has published articles and op-eds in Foreign Policy, Jeune Afrique, Slate Afrique, the Guardian, Le Figaro, Rue 89, Al-Hayat, Sharq al-Awsat, the World Music Institute, and the Oriental Institute at Oxford University.
A former Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright scholar, Center for Arabic Studies Abroad fellow, development consultant, Arabic translator and interpreter (short stories, Olympic Games), documentary filmmaker (Marrakech Inshallah, Moroccans in Boston), and music producer, he co-produced or participated in the production of 14 compact discs of North African music, including the Moroccan song, which sampled by the Chemical Brothers in “Galvanize! (Don’t Hold Back)” won the 2006 best dance track Grammy award, and the first internationally released Arab rap song, a Moroccan-Algerian collaboration in homage to the slain Algerian rai singer Cheb Hasni.
Connect with Dr. Bill Lawrence on LinkedIn.