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George Vlahakis
IU Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Journalist who used Twitter to chronicle the Arab Spring speaking at the IU School of Journalism

Nov. 7, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a respected commentator on Arab affairs who is widely recognized for his use of the popular social networking site Twitter during the Arab Spring, will speak Monday, Nov. 12, at the Indiana University School of Journalism.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Print-Quality Photo

Al Qassemi, who is based in the United Arab Emirates, has written for The Gulf News, The National Newspaper (UAE), The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy and The Globe and Mail. He is a non-resident fellow at the Dubai School of Government.

His presentation, "Where From Here? The Future of the Arab Spring," will begin at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of Ernie Pyle Hall, 940 E. Seventh St. It is free and open to the public.

In its article, "The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011," Time magazine said, "Commentators are still debating the extent to which media contributed to the 2011 Arab uprisings, but one thing's for sure: to the extent that the revolution was tweeted, much of it came through the feed of Sultan Al Qassemi ... Al Qassemi tweeted live translations of communiqués from Egypt's Tahrir Square and Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh's pulpit. He has also passed along links that exposed the excesses of autocracy."

His Twitter feed has more than 146,500 followers.

He also is the founder and chairman of Barjeel Securities, a financial products company, and the managing director of Al-Saud Co., Ltd., which specializes in equity markets, real estate and construction. He has a master's degree in global banking and finance from the European Business School, where he graduated with distinction in 2004. He received his bachelor of science in international business administration from the American University of Paris.

Al Qassemi's visit to the IU journalism school is in conjunction with a course being taught this semester, "New Media and the Arab Spring."

The course examines the role of new media in the recent Arab revolutions and seeks to understand the concept of new media in the Arab world. It explains how citizens follow the news and update events minute-by-minute through social media networks. It shows how journalists and Internet activists, involved in the revolution, use cyberspace and provide news and information, and how these activists became sources for news organizations. It is being taught by doctoral student Anas Alahmed.