Saudi Arabia sits at the center of the greater Middle East's future. Whether the issue is Iraq, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, counterterrorism, the price of oil, the role of women, or the battle of ideas, Saudi Arabia's policies are of utmost importance. President Obama recognized Saudi Arabia's importance by making it the first Arab state he visited. Better understanding the Kingdom is essential if America is to engage the region effectively.
Listen to Robert Lacey, a longstanding observer, writer, and resident of Saudi Arabia, discuss politics and trends inside the Kingdom. Lacey will focus on changes that have occurred since the transforming events of 1979, revealing a society attempting to reconcile life under religious law with the demands of a rapidly changing world.
Robert Lacey is a British historian and author of The Kingdom, a study of Saudi Arabia published in 1981 that was banned in Saudi Arabia. It is acknowledged as required reading for businessmen, diplomats, and students all over the world. For the past three years, Lacey has been based in Jeddah and Riyadh, gathering material for the sequel, Inside the Kingdom. Lacey's other books include biographies of Queen Elizabeth II, the Ford family of Detroit, the gangster Meyer Lansky, and a study of Sotheby's auction house. He coauthored The Year 1000: An Englishman's World, a description of life at the turn of the last millennium. Lacey was educated at Cambridge University.
Recorded Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at InterContinental Hotel.