Gilles Kepel is a French political scientist and Arabist, specialised in the contemporary Middle East and Muslims in the West. He is Adjunct Professor and scientific director of the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform.
He is also Professor at the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) and director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Chair at PSL, based at Ecole Normale Supérieure.
Originally trained as a classicist, he started to study Arabic after a journey to the Levant in 1974. He first graduated in Philosophy and English, then completed his Arabic language studies at the French Institute in Damascus (1977–78), and received his degree from SciencesPo in 1980.
His research interests focus on the current geopolitical configurations and conflicts in the Middle East Mediterranean region; on the impact the impact of Jihadi terror in the wake of the Massive attacks on French and European soil. He investigated the developments of Islam as a social and political phenomenon in France, with an innovative approach in Islamic studies in the West.
He researched on the 2005 French Banlieues riots in the Clichy-Montfermeil area, north of Paris, whence the events sparked. He did also compared studies of political-religious movements in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. His new book is Sortir du Chaos: Les crises en Méditerranée et au Moyen-Orient (Éditions Gallimard, 2018).