Lebanon is in crisis. In a recent report, the World Bank has said that Lebanon’s economic crisis may be one of the three worst economic crises since the mid 1800s, and estimates that more than half of Lebanon’s population is living in poverty. The reality on the ground in Lebanon for many of the country’s vulnerable — from food and medicine shortages to hours long gas lines — is simply devastation. But beyond just economic crisis, Lebanon is undergoing both political and societal crises as its inhabitants seek to cope with, recover from, and answer for the enormous explosion that leveled downtown Beirut exactly one year ago today. In today’s podcast, we discuss these compounding crises shaking Lebanon and its people, and seek to answer how this has happened and what may lie Lebanon’s future. Joining us today to discuss is Will Todman.
Will Todman is a fellow in the Middle East Program at CSIS. His research focuses on humanitarian issues, displacement, and conflict in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the Levant. He has conducted field research in seven countries across the Middle East and North Africa, and his analysis has been published in peer-reviewed journals, by think tanks, and humanitarian organizations.
Will has briefed U.S. officials at the Department of Defense, Department of State, and various intelligence agencies, UN Security Council members, and foreign diplomats. Outside of Washington, he has delivered presentations on the Middle East to audiences from Montana to Tokyo. He has also commented in print and on live television to various outlets, including the BBC, CBS, CNN, and the Washington Post. Will previously lived in Beirut, where he worked at the British embassy and for the office of the UN special envoy to Syria. He co-founded and runs KAMA DC, a nonprofit that works with refugees and immigrants. Will holds a B.A. in Arabic and modern Hebrew from Oxford University and an M.A. in Arab studies with a certificate in refugee and humanitarian emergencies from Georgetown University, where he studied Persian intensively.
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