Ahmad S. Dallal's Biography
The Board of Trustees has named Ahmad S. Dallal, an accomplished academic leader and renowned scholar with U.S. and regional higher education expertise, as AUC’s 13th president, effective October 15, 2021.
Dallal currently serves as dean of Georgetown University in Qatar and previously served as provost at the American University of Beirut (AUB) from 2009 to 2015. A prominent scholar of Islamic studies, Dallal has taught at AUB, Stanford University, Yale University, Smith College and Georgetown University, where he also served as chair of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies.
Leading for Excellence
Dallal’s leadership experience includes spearheading institutional transformations that have included everything from closing budget deficits and administrative process reforms to introducing key performance indicators and quality measures for academic programs and increasing scholarly production. Throughout his administrative experience, Dallal led the introduction of several dozen university policies, including overseeing Title lX compliance on discriminatory harassment. He also increased the socioeconomic diversity of the student body through scholarships and financial aid.
With several decades of teaching, research and leadership at some of the top universities in the United States, Dallal is a seasoned expert on U.S.-style American liberal arts universities and how they operate. Coupled with that is his extensive experience in the Middle East at both the American University of Beirut and Georgetown University in Qatar.
An Art and a Science
An engineer by training, having earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from AUB, Dallal is well versed in STEM disciplines, particularly in the context of liberal arts education. Early in his career, Dallal worked in the aviation industry before going on to earn his master’s and doctorate in Islamic studies from Columbia University. This unique blend of both science and humanities gives Dallal a rare vantage point.
Dallal has written and lectured widely on learning in medieval and early modern Islamic societies, the development of traditional and exact Islamic sciences, medieval Islamic thought, the early-modern evolution of Islamic revivalism and intellectual movements, Islamic law, and the causes and consequences of the September 11 attacks.
A prolific scholar, Dallal has written dozens of articles, book chapters and publications, as well as several books. He is the author of An Islamic Response to Greek Astronomy: Kitab Ta‘dil Hay’at al-Aflak of Sadr al-Shari‘a (1995); Islam, Science, and the Challenge of History (2012); The Political Theology of ISIS: Prophets, Messiahs & the “Extinction of the Grayzone” (2017); and Islam without Europe: Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought (2018).
Dallal is fluent in English and Arabic, and reads French, German and Persian. He earned his BE in mechanical engineering from AUB and his MA, MPhil and PhD in Islamic studies from Columbia University.