Given his royal descent and his research interests in democracy, education and human rights, the career of Hicham Alaoui, a Moroccan scholar and academic, seems quite extraordinary. Before becoming a political scientist and a visiting professor at many prestigious international academic institutions, Alaoui held the title of prince as a cousin of Mohammed VI, king of Morocco.
His royal roots provided him with opportunities to study at major international universities. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, a master’s degree from Stanford University, and a doctorate at the University of Oxford. However, his passion for research prompted him to give up his princely title and delve into the study of political and social issues.
He founded the Hicham Alaoui Foundation in 2009, a private, non-profit foundation that supports social science research in the Arab world.
“It is time to consider other research areas and issues that have important implications and are not directly overshadowed by politics,” Alaoui, who is currently a research associate at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, wrote in an email.