Saad Eddin Ibrahim is founder and chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies (ICDS) and the American organization Voices for a Democratic Egypt (VDE). He also serves as secretary general of the Egyptian Independent Commission for Electoral Review, member of the Club of Rome, trustee of the Arab Thought Forum, and president of the Egyptian Sociologists Association.
An internationally renowned political activist and scholar, Mr. Ibrahim has been one of the Arab world's most prominent spokesmen on behalf of democracy and human rights. His 2000 arrest and subsequent seven-year sentence for accepting foreign funds without permission and "tarnishing" Egypt's image sparked a loud outcry from the international community. Many local and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, and the International Federation of Human Rights, as well as Western governments called for his release. In 2003 Egypt's highest appeal court, the Court of Cessation, declared Ibrahim's trials improper and cleared him of all charges.
Born in 1938 in Mansura, Egypt, Ibrahim studied at Cairo University, where he received a bachelor's degree with honors, and at the University of Washington, where he earned a PhD in sociology. In 1988, he founded the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, one of the first independent research centers in the Middle East, which remains one of Egypt's preeminent research and advocacy institutions. Ibrahim is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than 35 books in Arabic and English, including Egypt, Islam, and Democracy: Critical Essays (2002). He has written more than 100 scholarly articles, some of which have been translated into as many as 13 languages.
Ibrahim has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Jordanian Order of Independence, the Kuwait Award in Social and Economic Sciences, the Middle East Studies Association Award for Academic Freedom, the Freedom House Award for Defending Democracy and Human Rights, and the American Sociological Association Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Social Sciences and Freedom. His work and activism also led to him being selected as a finalist for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. Ibrahim also has taught courses at a variety of American universities including Harvard University, Columbia University, NYU, University of Chicago, University of Indiana, UCLA, and the University of Washington. He founded and served as the secretary-general of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, the Arab Council of Childhood and Development, and the Arab Democracy Foundation. He is currently serving as a Wallerstein Visiting Scholar at Drew University in New Jersey.