Past eventMembers

The Politics of Personality in the Middle East

21 May 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Chatham House | 10 St James's Square | London | SW1Y 4LE London


Anshel Pfeffer, Journalist, Ha'aretz; Correspondent, The Economist
Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabriz, Research Fellow, Middle East Security, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies
Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed, Visiting Professor, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics
Jane Kinninmont, Deputy Head and Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Dr Courtney Freer, Research Officer, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science



From Trump, Modi and Xi to Putin, Orban, Sisi and Duterte, ‘strongmen’ leaders appear to be enjoying a political resurgence. At a time when the international system is in flux, styles of leadership around the world are both adapting to this change while simultaneously altering the established dynamic of foreign relations.

The leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, Hassan Rouhani in Iran and Mohammad bin Salman in Saudi Arabia offers interesting case studies in how the style of national leadership can impact regional geopolitics. Is politics becoming less focussed on policy and more on personality?

Our panel will examine different models of governance and leadership throughout the Middle East – how does the archetype of the political ‘strongman’ present itself throughout these nations and varying political systems? And what role does social media have in both bolstering and challenging these leaders?