Sex and Public Dialogue

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“If you really want to know a people, start by looking inside their bedrooms,” says Shereen El Feki, who traveled through the Middle East for five years, talking to people about sex. While those conversations reflected rigid norms and deep repression, El Feki also discovered that sexual conservatism in the Arab world is a relatively new thing. She wonders: could a re-emergence of public dialogue lead to more satisfying, and safer, sex lives?

Shereen El Feki

Dividing her time between London and Cairo, TED Fellow Shereen El Feki works on issues related to health and social welfare in the Arab region -- including intimate attitudes toward sexual (and political) freedoms, as explored in her new book, Sex and the Citadel. Half-Egyptian and half-Welsh, El Feki was brought up in Canada. She started her professional life in medical science, with a PhD in molecular immunology from the University of Cambridge, and later worked as healthcare correspondent at The Economist. She also is a former vice chair of the United Nations' Global Commission on HIV and Law. While she has worked in regional media as a presenter with the Al Jazeera Network, and continues to write on social issues in the Arab world, her passion lies in projects that aim to better understand, and surmount, the social challenges facing Arabs, particularly young people.

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