Dr. Reza Aslan
Dr. Reza Aslan , an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world.
Reza is the author of International Bestseller No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. A second edition of the book has recently been revised and updated to include analysis of the Arab Spring and the Middle East in a post-Bin Laden era. Reza is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age), as well as editor of two volumes: Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalties, Contentions, and Complexities.
Reza is Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Greater Middle East, and President of AppOvation Labs, a mobile applications company.
In addition to his membership in the Pacific Council, Reza is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. He serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues; Abraham's Vision, an educational, conflict transformation organization for Israeli and Palestinian youths; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and the Levantine Cultural Center, which builds bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world through the arts.
Born in Iran, Reza lives in Los Angeles with his wife (author and entrepreneur Jessica Jackley) where he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.
What do you believe is currently the most pressing foreign policy issue facing the United States?
In the 21st century, the old forms of international relations no longer apply. Nation to nation diplomacy has given way to public diplomacy. Thus, any successful foreign policy must now take into consideration the values, opinions, and aspirations of a country's citizens, not just its leaders. That poses both great challenges and great opportunities to the United States.
What is your greatest accomplishment in the realm of international relations?
My goal is to use arts and entertainment to build bridges between peoples and cultures. I have done that through my books and speeches, as well as though my film company BoomGen Studios, which develops and produces commercial content about the stories, people, and cultures of the Middle East.
What are you reading right now?
I am loving Amy Waldman's new novel The Submission, about post 9/11 America.
What are some of your favorite global resources online?
Besides AslanMedia.com, I regularly rely on CFR.org and Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel.
Why did you become a member of the Pacific Council?
I became a member of the Pacific Council because it is the West Coast's premier think tank on global affairs.
Visit Reza’s website at: http://rezaaslan.com/
Follow Reza on Twitter @rezaaslan