Afshin Molavi is the author of Persian Pilgrimages: Journeys Across Iran (Norton, 2002), which was nominated for the Thomas Cook literary travel book of the year and described by Foreign Affairs as "a brilliant tableau of today's Iran." A former Dubai-based correspondent for the Reuters news agency and a regular contributor to The Washington Post from Iran, Mr. Molavi has covered the Middle East and Washington for a wide range of international publications. His articles and op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Financial Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, BusinessWeek, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, the Journal of Commerce, and The Wilson Quarterly, among other publications. He comments regularly on Iran and the Middle East on CNN, the BBC, National Public Radio, and other broadcast outlets. Born in Iran, but raised and educated in the West, Mr. Molavi holds a master's degree in Middle East history and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He has also worked at the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector development arm of the World Bank.
As a Fellow at the New America Foundation, Mr. Molavi studies the links between economic development and democratization, with a special emphasis on the Middle East. He argues that the region's widespread economic failure represents the largest obstacle to regional democratization because it creates societies that have weak middle classes that are overly dependent on the state or susceptible to the utopian promises of undemocratic opposition forces. At New America, he will also examine the "New Silk Road" - the growing trade, cultural, diplomatic, and business ties between the Middle East and Asia. Mr. Molavi is also interested in issues related to global economic development, globalization and culture, and the economics of immigration.
Unveiling Iran: From Pink Floyd and Persian Carpets to Nuclear Brinksmanship and Islamic Rule
Critically acclaimed author and Middle East specialist Afshin Molavi takes audience members on an illuminating, entertaining, enriching tour of Iranian politics, culture, history, and foreign affairs, replete with first-hand anecdotes from the field, insights from senior government officials in both the US and Iran, and historical and cultural observations that have earned him acclaim as one of the world’s leading authorities on Iran. This is a must-see, highly engaging, highly rated speaker on one of the most vital countries and foreign policy problems facing the United States and the world today.
Molavi is a frequent guest commentator on CNN, CNN International, the BBC World Service, the Jim Lehrer News Hour, and National Public Radio, and has also appeared on ABC World News Tonight, Fox News, NBC Today, and dozens of international media outlets.
Foreign Affairs described Molavi’s book, “The Soul of Iran,” (W.W Norton) as “a brilliant tableau of today’s Iran,” and the Washington Post declared it “ambitious and informative…invaluable now more than ever.” The Columbia Journalism Review rated “The Soul of Iran” as the best of the recent crop of Iran books, “a skillfully reported and marvelously told political travelogue” that is “the best of this [new] genre.” The Middle East Quarterly said “no book compares with Molavi’s to give a feel for contemporary Iran.”
The US-Iran Showdown and What It Means for World Markets
The United States and Iran are locked in a clock-ticking showdown over Tehran’s nuclear program. Rumors abound of possible US and/or Israeli military action on Iran’s nuclear sites. Senior American officials cite Iran as a key source of support for Iraqi insurgents and the rising tide of violence in Afghanistan. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continually refers to Israel as “a cancer” that must be “eliminated.” As a pro-democracy movement in Iran struggles against the crushing weight of the state and the Obama Administration reaches out to Iran, Iranian students chanted: “Mr. Obama, are you with us, or against us?”
Today, young Iranians yearn for America and “green cards” and took to the streets in the millions to protest what they viewed as a fraudulent election in 2009. Rather than chants of “Death to America,” Iranians chanted “Death to China” and “Death to Russia,” key supporters of the Islamic Republic. We are witnessing the most serious political crisis in the history of the Islamic Republic.
Yet the state remains firmly in control, and the nuclear clock is ticking. Where are we headed? Will this simmering conflict end in negotiations or military conflict? And what will a hot US-Iran war mean for the region and the world?
To answer these questions, critically acclaimed author and former Washington Post Iran correspondent Afshin Molavi will explore the key levers and pivot points shaping the future of the US-Iran showdown, and will assess the likelihood of military conflict that would rock markets and trigger a multi-country war that would have dramatic repercussions on world oil prices, stock markets, and trade flows.
Dubai, The New Silk Road, and the Future of the Middle East
Journalist and author Afshin Molavi, author of the National Geographic cover story on Dubai (appeared on the cover in 15 of 29 language editions), explores the rise, fall, and his predicted rise again of the Middle East’s most dynamic city-state. Locating Dubai at the heart of what the author calls the “New Silk Road, ” the author explores the geo-commercial dynamics that make the Arab city-state a key global hub city and a major driver for commercial growth in Asia. He also explores the lessons and challenges that Dubai poses to the broader Middle East.
Weaving personal anecdote and rich historical observation, Molavi takes the audience inside one of the world’s most fascinating cities and concludes that “Dubai is not just an Arab city-state in transition, but a human laboratory of change with implications for how we all live in today’s globally interconnected world.”
As a key geo-economic hub of Asia, Molavi argues, the future of Dubai matters to the future of the global economy. Molavi charts the rise of this once sleepy pearling center of mud huts and wooden dhows into a city of skyscrapers, $10,000 a night hotel suites, a banking hub, and a trading center where more than 100 nationalities live and work. Going inside the Dubai financial crisis as well, Molavi charts the city-state’s mistakes, but predicts its eventual return to the top.