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Leseprobe vom

What Makes the Middle East Tick


This book will change the way you see the Middle East. Based on insights gained through

his personal experience of living and working in the region the author invites you to travel

across the social fabric and mentalities that make the Middle East tick. He enriches his social

analysis with illuminating anecdotes, presented in candid language, but without moralising or pushing a political agenda and always with a critical eye and wry humour. Preferring a historical perspective instead of the standard narrow focus on Islam, he emphasises the tribal foundations of Arab societies. Exciting and easy to read from beginning to end for specialists and for the wider public alike. -----

Selected feedback on the German (2018) edition: ---

‘I have already re-ordered your book twice as a present. It spreads tolerance and optimism.’ ---

‘It was like reading a thriller. Very exciting. I could not put it aside ... and never tactless or aggressive.’ ---

‘I was fascinated by the density of observations, which are serious and humorous at the same time... The details about women and clans are particularly impressive.’ ---

‘I liked the fact that the book is not only written for academics, but in a way that everyone can understand.’ ---

‘Our daughter is a psychologist. Among her clients are children from the Middle East. She finds your book extremely beneficial for her work.’ ---

‘The book has the potential to find broad acceptance, as the delicate topics and terminology are well mastered.’ ---

‘I started looking at the Middle East in a completely different way.’


Wolfgang H. Reuther (1950) was born and grew up in the Ore Mountains in the Saxony region of Germany bordering on Czechia. This region is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its tradition of 800 years of mining (for silver, tin and uranium), triggering technological and scientific innovations that have been transferred worldwide.

After graduating in international law, he began working with UNESCO in its efforts towards international peace, understanding and co-operation in education, science, culture and communication in different ways and structures, continuing for a total of 38 years until his retirement in 2012.

From 1990 to 2008 he took positions successively as the Deputy-Secretary-General of the German Commission for UNESCO in Bonn (Germany), as the UNESCO-Director and Representative for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Russian Federation in Moscow, then for Jordan and Iraq in Amman (Jordan), and finally for Central America from Mexico to Panama in San José (Costa Rica). From 2008 to 2012, he worked at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.

Today he lives in retirement in Vienna, with branches of his multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious family residing in Cape Town (South Africa) and Moscow (Russia).

The subject of ‘living together in cultural diversity’ has been of great interest to him since the 1990s. With this book (first published in German in 2018) he hopes to contribute to a more objective public discourse in the West on Islam and the Middle East and to a better understanding between the two regions. To this end, he brings in various details and perceptions that have so far received little attention.

At the same time, he allows the reader to participate in his own transformation from a romantic proponent of ‘multicultural societies’ to a more thoughtful and experienced observer who is always open, interested, caring, tolerant and respectful of other lifestyles and cultures, but also maintains a critical eye. In practice, this has earned him recognition and appreciation from partners all over the world.

Wolfgang H. Reuther is a co-author and co-editor of the ‘UNESCO Handbook’ (in German and Russian), and of the series ‘How to File Complaints on Human Rights Violation. A Manual for Individuals and NGOs’ published in several languages and editions for different countries.

Besides his native German Wolfgang H. Reuther speaks fluent English, French, Russian and Spanish.

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