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Cultural Personality of the Year 2017

Dr. Abdellah Laroui


The choice of the prominent historian and theoretician, Dr. Abdellah Laroui, has been due to his well-founded thought movement and cultural momentum that spanned across the entire Arab World. His valuable contribution surpassed academic institutes and scientific bodies to influence Arab political thinking as well as inspire numerous cultural and literary practices.
Professor Laroui enjoys a unique mix of in-depth knowledge of Arabic culture and that of the Western World, with wide interests across intellectual, literary and artistic scopes, especially in the fields of philosophy, history, narrative arts, and cinema. Since the sixties of the last century, Laroui portfolio includes numerous publications of scholarly studies, literary works and translations in a number of Moroccan, Arabic, and French journals. In 1967, his book “L’Idéologie arabe contemporaine” (The Contemporary Arabic Ideology) was published in French language with a preface by Maxime Rodinson, the infamous French historian, sociologist and orientalist. In 1970, the Arabic translation of the book became the stepping stone for the name of Abdellah Laroui as a key figure in the study of Arabic Culture, attracting the attention of scholars and academics with interests in Arabic culture and matters of the Arab World.

About the Cultural Personality of the Year

Laroui was born on 7 November, 1933 in the city of Azemmour in Morocco. He received his preliminary and secondary studies in Rabat and moved to Paris to continue his higher education in political sciences where he achieved his diploma in 1958 followed by an honorary certificate in Islamic studies in 1963. In 1967, he received his doctoral degree from Sorbonne University in Paris, for his thesis on “the social and cultural basis of the Moroccan nationality: 1830-1912”. Laroui welcomed the invitation of the Austrian historian and Arabist Gustave Edmund von Grunebaum to serve as professor at the University of California for a stint, before deciding to leave back to Morocco to serve as a professor in the faculty of Literature at the Moroccan University until his retirement in the year 2000. He has been an active member in the Kingdom of Morocco Academy and the Moroccan Society for Human Rights and considered one of Morocco’s leading intellectuals.