Gilles Kepel

Professor, Sciences Po, Director of the Middle Eastern Chair, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

Gilles Kepel is a French political scientist and Arabist who specializes in the contemporary Middle East and Muslims in the West. He is a professor at the Paris Institute for Political Studies (Sciences PO) and director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Chair at Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University, based at Ecole Normale Supérieure.


In 2013, he documented the Arab upheavals with the travelogue Passion Arabe, a best-selling book that was awarded the Pétrarque Prize by France Culture radio and Le Monde daily as best book of the year. In 2014, Passion Française, a survey cum travelogue that documented the first generation of candidates to the Parliamentary elections of June 2012 who were from Muslim descent, and focused on Marseille and Roubaix, was the third book in a tetralogy that would culminate with Terror in France / The Rise of Jihad in the West (2017 – original French 2015) that dealt with the terror attacks by Jihadists in France. Translated in five languages, this best-seller helped Mr. Kepel become known as a prominent public intellectual and a target of jihadists.


In 2016, La Fracture, based on radio chronicles on France vulture in 2015-16, analyzed the impact of jhadi terror in the wake of the massive attacks on French and European soil. It puts them in perspective vis-à-vis the rise of extreme right parties in Europe and questions the very fracture of Politics in the Old Continent. In February 2016 Mr. Kepel was appointed Chairman of the newly founded Program of Excellence on the Mediterranean and the Middle East at Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) University, based at Ecole Normale Supérieure. He is in charge of the monthly seminar on “Violence and Dogma: the use of the past in contemporary Islamism.”