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Shereen El Feki        

Journalist, Author, & TEDGlobal Fellow

Shereen El Feki is a British journalist and author, most notable for her book Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World.

As a TED Fellow Shereen El Feki focused on issues related to health and social welfare in the Arab region -- including intimate attitudes toward sexual (and political) freedoms, as explored in her book, "Sex and the Citadel."

She started her professional life in medical science, with a PhD in molecular immunology from the University of Cambridge, and later worked as a health care correspondent at The Economist. In 2005, she left the Economist, and from 2006 to 2008, she hosted weekly shows, People & Power, and The Pulse, on Al Jazeera International.

She also is a former vice chair of the United Nations' Global Commission on HIV and Law. While she has worked in regional media as a presenter with the Al Jazeera Network and continues to write on social issues in the Arab world, her passion lies in projects that aim to better understand, and surmount, the social challenges facing Arabs, particularly young people.

Speech Topics

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in the Changing Arab World

If you really want to know a people, start by looking inside their bedrooms. As political change sweeps the streets and squares, parliaments and presidential palaces of the Arab world, Shereen El Feki has been looking at upheaval a little closer to home—in the sexual lives of men and women in Egypt and across the region. The result is an extraordinary, informative and engaging account of an aspect of Arab society that is still largely hidden from view.

Sex is entwined in religion and tradition, politics and economics, gender and generations, making it the perfect lens for examining the region's complex social landscape. In this talk, El Feki takes a fresh look at the sexual history of the Arab region, and brings new voices to the debate over its future. With a look back at changing sexual attitudes in the Middle East, and West, El Feki examines what has been driving a shift towards today’s anxieties in the Arab region, and how this plays out in everyday lives: from the taboo of premarital sex to trouble in the conjugal bed; from sexed-up writing to censored movies; from debates over sexual education and abortion to the incendiary topic of unwed motherhood; from the booming business of sex work to the struggles of those who break the heterosexual mould. This is not a talk about what’s wrong in the Arab world. It’s about what’s right: from national policies to community projects to individual choices, El Feki explores how people are finding solutions to their problems, while staying true to their religion and culture, and what this means for the future of democracy across the region.


'Sex and the Citadel,' by Shereen El Feki -

In "Sex and the Citadel," Shereen El Feki asks an array of highly personal questions about present-day sexual relations in Muslim nations.

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by ...

Sex and the Citadel has 135 ratings and 38 reviews. Rebecca said: I listened to Shereen El-Feki being interviewed on Fresh Air a few months ago and immed...

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