The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Join the Middle East Initiative for an information session on the J-Term course "DPI-442M: Leadership and Social Transformation in the Arab World." This experiential learning course will take a group of select students to the region to meet with local leaders, practitioners, and scholars. This information session will be hosted by MEI Faculty Chair Professor Tarek Masoud, with MEI Senior Fellow and DPI-442M co-instructor Sultan Al Qassemi joining via Zoom.
Tarek Masoud is the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Governance at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the co-Editor of the Journal of Democracy of the National Endowment for Democracy and serves as the Faculty Chair of the Kennedy School's Middle East Initiative and the Initiative on Democracy in Hard Places. His research focuses on political development in Arabic-speaking and Muslim-majority countries. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014), co-author of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform with Jason Brownlee and Andrew Reynolds (Oxford University Press, 2015), and co-editor of Democracy in Hard Places with Scott Mainwaring (Oxford University Press, 2022). He has also written several articles and book chapters. He is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar, a trustee of the American University in Cairo, and the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, among others. He holds an AB from Brown and a Ph.D. from Yale, both in political science.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Initiative and co-instructor of the HKS January term course, "Leadership and Social Transformation in the Arab World," taught by MEI Faculty Chair Professor Tarek Masoud. In his previous capacity as the Fall 2021 Kuwait Program Senior Fellow, Al Qassemi led the study group, “Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art,” exploring the intersection of art, politics, and policy in the contemporary Arab world.
Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist and researcher on social, political, and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. His tweets became a major news source during the Arab Spring, rivaling the major news networks at the time, until TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” In 2018 he ranked 19th on the “Arabic Thought Leader Index” by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. Al Qassimi was an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow from 2014 through 2016, a practitioner in residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University in the Spring of 2017, and a Yale Greenberg World Fellow in 2018.
Al Qassemi is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, 100 works from the collection were hosted on a long-term basis at the Sharjah Art Museum.
Sultan was a practitioner-in-residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University in the spring of 2017, a Yale Greenberg World Fellow and a lecturer at the Council of Middle East Studies in Yale University in 2018, then an adjunct instructor at the Center of Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University in 2019, a visiting instructor teaching at Boston College in 2020, and recently a Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2023. He also taught his class, "Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art" at Bard College Berlin in 2023. Sultan is currently conducting research for a book that documents the modern architecture of the city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.