Dr. Ali Allawi - Biography

img Born in Baghdad in December 1947, Dr. Ali Allawi attended MIT from which he graduated in 1968 with a BSc in Civil Engineering. He continued his postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics in Regional Planning, and he went on to obtain an MBA from Harvard University in 1971. He joined the Young Professionals Program of the World Bank Group in Washington in 1971, where he spent a number of years as an investment officer in the Capital Markets Department of the World Bank/IFC Group. Following a period as a consultant to the Arab Fund in Kuwait, he co-founded, in 1978, Arab International Finance, a merchant bank, in London.

In 1997 he became a Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, founded by the noted Islamic philosopher Professor Syed Naquib al-Attas.

Between 1999 and 2002, he was a Senior Associate Member at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, at its Centre for Middle Eastern Studies where he completed a book on the political memoirs of an Iraqi public figure.

In September, 2003, Ali Allawi was appointed to be the Minister of Trade of Iraq under the Iraq Governing Council.

In April, 2004, he was appointed to be Iraq's first post-war civilian Minister of Defence. In January 2005, he was elected to Iraq's Transitional National Assembly as a member of the United Iraqi Alliance. In April, 2005, he was appointed to be the Minister of Finance in the Transitional Government headed by Dr.Ibrahim al-Jaffari. He held that post until May 2006 when he returned to private life.

Ali Allawi has appeared on a number of TV public affairs programmes throughout the world, including two in depth interview with the BBC's Hardtalk programme. He was featured in detailed interviews in April 2004 by Business Week magazine and in January 2006 by Foreign Policy magazine. He has delivered numerous public lectures on Iraq, most recently at St.Antony's College, Oxford. He has served on a number of international political and economic panels including at the World Economic Forum in Davos, at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, and at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings. In June 2007, he appeared as an expert witness and gave detailed testimony to the Iraq Commission headed by Lord Paddy Ashdown. In February 2007, the London newspaper, the Independent, devoted its full front page in presenting Ali Allawi's plans for a comprehensive settlement for Iraq.

His book, The Occupation of Iraq, was published by Yale University Press in March 2007 and was well received by critics and the reading public. It was voted the Washington Post's top ten non-fiction books for 2007. He undertook an extensive book tour in the US, UK, South Africa, South Asia and Malaysia, and Australia and gave numerous public lectures at universities, think tanks, policy institutes and governmental agencies. He was extensively interviewed on TV including the Charlie Rose show, the Jon Stewart show, and on various public radio and TV stations in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Australia and the Far East.

In January 2007, Ali Allawi was given the Robert and Joanna Bendetson Global Public Diplomacy Award by the Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University.

Ali Allawi is affiliated with St. Antony's College, Oxford University, where he is a Senior Associate Member. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University, UK.

In 2008-2009, Ali Allawi was elected a Senior Fellow at Princeton University.

In March 2009 his second book for Yale was published under the title The Crisis of Islamic Civilization. The book was widely praised by critics and received very favourable notices from The Economist, the Guardian, Observer, Literary Review, Asia Times, and several other general, specialist and online magazines. The book was launched at the Houses of Parliament and was followed by an extensive book tour by the author in the US, UK and the Far East. In Singapore, the author received a public award from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nan Yang Technological University.

He is presently working on a further book for Yale University Press. This will be a comprehensive political biography of Faisal I of Iraq, set against the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the modern state system in the Middle East and Iraq. This is due in the summer of 2011.

In June 2009, Ali Allawi was elected a Senior Visiting Fellow for the 2009-2010 academic years at the Carr Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

In March 2013, Prospect Magazine (www.prospectmagazine.co.uk), a well known British ideas and events journal, held its annual survey of the world's most original thinkers.

Prospect Magazine invites a panel of 10 academics, scholars, writers, scientists and political personalities to select 65 individuals whose work qualifies them for this title.

To quote from Prospect Magazine "...Candidates have to be alive and still active in public life. They must be distinguished in their field and have influence on international debate. We gave credit for the currency of the candidates' work—their influence over the past 12 months and their continuing significance to this year's biggest questions."

Prospect Magazine then asks its readers to vote for three of these personalities who will be named original thinkers for that particular year.

This year the Prospect Magazine's panel was composed of:

  • Anne Applebaum - Senior Foreign Policy Columnist, Washington Post
  • Philip Campbell - Scientist and editor Nature magazine
  • Amy Chua - Professor of Law, Yale University
  • James Fallows - National Correspondent, The Atlantic
  • Stephanie Flanders - BBC Economics Editor
  • Bernard Henri-Levy - French Philosopher and Public Intellectual
  • Bronwen Maddox - Author and journalist
  • David Milliband - British MP and former Foreign Secretary
  • Anna Maria Misra - Reader in History, Oxford University
  • Strobe Talbott - President, Brookings Institution, and former American Deputy Secretary of State

In the 2013 poll the panellists selected Ali Allawi as one of their nominees.

In the final poll results, which were published in the May 2013 issue of Prospect, Ali Allawi was selected as the fourth in the list of the World's Original Thinkers for 2013.

Ali Allawi is now Research Professor at the National University of Singapore. His third book, King Faisal I of Iraq, set against the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the modern state system in the Middle East, will be coming out in September 2013. It will be published by Yale University Press.

Ali Allawi is now working on a book entitled, In Search of the Greatest Master, a book of journeys in the footsteps of Ibn `Arabi, which will relate his vision of an illumined world of Islam with the realities of today's Muslim world and communities.