Published on August 26, 2015 by Mary Wimberley  

Middle East expert Abdulwahab Alkebsi will present a Lunch and Learn program on the topic, “The Rise of Islamic Extremism,” at Samford University on Thursday, Sept. 3. Alkebsi is regional director for Middle East and Africa programs at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington, D.C.

The conversation on the historic and political reasons for the rise of Islamic extremism is presented by the Samford Committee on Foreign Relations in conjunction with the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations (BCFR).

The new initiative is a collaboration of the Birmingham group and a Samford committee led by assistant to the president Michael D. Morgan, political science associate professor Serena Simoni, associate provost Christopher Metress and others.

“The Samford community is fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with the BCFR,” Simoni said. “This liaison will allow our students, faculty and staff to hear speakers who come from the highest levels of the policymaker, diplomatic, academic, media and opinion-maker communities.”

At CIPE, a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Alkebsi oversees democracy and market reform projects that combat corruption, strengthen entrepreneurship, empower businesspersons and improve corporate governance. He supervises a 30-member staff based in Washington, D.C., Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria, and manages nearly 40 programs in more than 20 countries.

Before joining CIPE, Alkebsi was director of the Middle East and North Africa division at the National Endowment for Democracy and was executive director at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy a non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Born in Yemen, he now resides in Virginia with his wife and three daughters.

The public is invited free of charge to the Samford program, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Howard Room in Ralph W. Beeson University Center.

Alkebsi’s visit to Birmingham will include a dinner presentation to the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations. For more information on that event, call Wilma Stewart at (205) 263-4991 ext. 206.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.