Memoir Author Amal Ghandour Explores Generational Struggles across the Arab World with Dean

Amal Ghandour In Conversation with Dean Safwan-6038_

In a public book event hosted by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), acclaimed author Amal Ghandour spoke with the dean of GU-Q, Dr. Safwan Masri, about her recently published memoir, This Arab Life: A Generation’s Journey into Silence. Ghandour’s memoir is a poignant mix of personal narrative and social commentary that provides an unfiltered glimpse into the life of Arab elites shaped against the backdrop of political and social upheaval and economic corruption. 

Beginning in Amman in the Summer of 1973, and concluding in Beirut in December 2021, the Lebanese-Jordanian author delves into the rich tapestry of her past, recounting her formative years surrounded by the instability that characterized the Middle East, while also examining the unique way in which her contemporaries navigated and responded to such turbulent times. The book, she said, “invites questions, it is a healthy nostalgia, because it asks what was your role.”

Learning from the Past

The memoir also offers a critical view of complicity in the failures that led to the Arab Spring revolts. Reflecting on the impact of inheriting a culture of silence, Ghandour said: “The message was constant: forget about politics and the larger story, there is nothing there, focus on yourself, focus on your wellbeing. The word politics itself had no meaning…We were the first generation of pragmatists in the modern Arab world.”

Building Bridges for a Better Future

About Amal Ghandour

Ghandour’s career spans more than three decades in the fields of research, communication, and community development. She holds an MS in International Policy from Stanford University and a BSFS from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She has worked as a Senior Advisor to Ruwwad al Tanmeya, a regional community development initiative, as Special Adviser to Columbia University’s Global Centers, Middle East, and on the Board of Directors of The Arab Human Rights Fund. Ghandour is also a blogger, providing insights into her perspective on Arab society.