François Burgat, project investigator of the WAFAW project, is a senior researcher (DR1) in political science at the CNRS based at the IREMAM in Aix-en-Provence. He was between May 2008 and April 2013 director of the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) and earlier (1997-2003) headed the Centre français d’Archéologie et de Sciences Sociales de Sanaa (CEFAS). His approach to the various trends of Islamism has been widely recognised as innovative since he, early on, highlighted the need for the study of Arab societies to be deeply anchored in field research and the need to establish direct contact and discussions with political actors labelled as Islamists. He is since 2013 a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
His most prominent personal publications include L’islamisme à l’heure d’Al-Qaida : réislamisation, modernisation, radicalisations, Paris: La Découverte, 2005 (second updated edition in 2010) (Spanish: Bellaterra 2006, Arabic: Cadmus 2007, English: Texas University Press 2008) ; L’Islamisme en face, Paris: La Découverte, 2002 (third updated edition in 2007) (Portuguese: Instituto Piaget, 1995, Spanish: Bellaterra 1996, English: IB Tauris 2002) and L’Islamisme au Maghreb : la voix du Sud, Paris, Karthala, 1988 (third updated edition by Payot Petite Bibliothèque in 2008). (English: University of Texas Press, 1993-1997 Italian: SEI, 1995, Arabic: Dar-al-thaqafa al-jedida, 2001).
Matthieu Rey is currently Assistant Professor at the Chaire d’histoire contemporaine du monde arabe, in Collège de France (Paris) after being a visiting fellow at the Middle East Institute (Singaore). He holds a PhD in history from the Ehess (Paris). In his main researches, he focusses on the political system in Iraq and Syria as case study to understand the Middle Eastern policy-building and state-building during the fifties. He shed light on political engineering of power and demonstrates how parliaments were central in the decision-making process. He is completing a book on the parliamentary system in Iraq and Syria between 1946 and 1963, based on his PhD dissertation. He has been fellow doctorate in the French Institute of Near East in Damascus between 2009 and 2013 and therefore witnessed the Syrian events on the ground for two years. He published articles on elections in the Middle East, development policies, the Cold War and the ‘Arab spring’. He has given several talks and presented papers at conferences on these issues (2010, Geneva, Tunis, Austin; 2011, London, Florence, Hong Kong; 2012, Melbourne, Belgrad, Paris).