In Memoriam Ahmed Badawi
News vom 04.04.2020
We mourn the sudden and untimely death of our friend and esteemed colleague, Dr. Ahmed Badawi. Dr. Ahmed Badawi passed away on 18 March 2020, after a medical crisis. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his partner Colinda Lindermann, his long-time companion Michaela Birk, and his family. His death is a great loss for us. Friends and collaborators have set up a website in his name: http://ahmed-badawi.de/.
Dr. Ahmed Badawi was a senior researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics, Freie Universität Berlin between 2015 and 2019. Dr. Badawi was the Scientific Coordinator for two EU-funded projects, namely MERID (Middle East Research and Innovation Dialogue - http://meridproject.eu) and EMNES (Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies - https://emnes.org). He directed the Research Area on institutions, institutional reforms, economic development and social justice, at the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies. At the same time, he served as EMEA expert panel member. Among his latest publications are a 2019 paper about “Institutions and Economic Performance in the Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries: A renewed policy agenda to tackle institutional failure” (https://emnes.org/publication/institutions-and-economic-performance-in-the-southern-mediterranean-partner-countries-a-renewed-policy-agenda-to-tackle-institutional-failure/).
We are mourning the death of a highly independent thinker and researcher. Ahmed was always eager to engage in debates, happy to throw in thought-provoking comments and to turn common wisdom on its head (or feet). His intellectual presence made an important difference in countless meetings and discussions, both at the Centre and in the EU-projects he coordinated. We will miss his important interventions as much as his smile. Dr. Badawi was a gifted team leader and capable to bring quite different personalities and disciplines into productive communication – a capacity, he constantly used to make his tasks a success. I vividly remember the empowering atmosphere of a workshop we did in collaboration with TRANSFORM in Cairo or in meetings within the EU framework. So often Ahmed masterfully managed to ask the right question in the right moment, to come up with a good idea for the next step and to make everybody feel comfortable and confident. He loved to teach and share his ideas with students, who, in turn, admired his capacity to encourage critical thinking. Not the least, Dr. Ahmed Badawi was a researcher and scientist who always cared about the societal and political impact of his work. His longstanding engagement in NGOs, support for informed policy making, and scientific support for activists speak to the creative and productive ways in which he took responsibility for the greater good in society. Of course, his expertise was sought after by Western and Arab media alike and he often granted interviews to major news channels.
Prior to leaving Egypt in 1999 he used to work as a print and TV journalist and as a community development specialist. He is a trained group facilitator since 1993, has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS (University of London) and a PhD in Political Science from Humboldt University in Berlin. After graduating from SOAS, he engaged within a research project at the German SWP, and later at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He worked with the Oxford Research Group and was a senior analyst in the Middle East and North Africa programme for the International Crisis Group in Jerusalem. Ahmed Badawi co-founded and co-directed the NGO “Transform e.V.: Centre for Conflict Engagement and Political Development” since 2007 together with Michaela Birk. In 2011, he received his PhD in Political Science from Humboldt University and subsequently joined the Leibnitz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), and later the Centre for North African and Middle Eastern Politics at Freie Universität. Lately, he joined the Centre for Transnational Studies, Foreign and Security Policy, Freie Universität as a Guest Researcher. His research interests included state theory and the dynamics of state failure in the Arab world, power relations, institutional change and distributional conflict and the political economy of development beyond the Washington and the post-Washington consensus.
We are mourning a great loss.