"I applied because my academic advisor told me that USP is an excellent opportunity for students like me who want to conduct research. I hope to learn more about how to conduct research and the requirements for writing a good thesis."
Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures
Communication Science, Arabic
The development of Islamic movements in the Middle East and North Africa. The relationship between international warfare, globalization and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. The Arabic language.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Scholarship to attend United World College in Norway (2006-2008)
- UF United World Scholar (2008-2012)
- Iron Man Competition (2011)
- NuNu 5k Race (2011)
- Dial Center's Public Speaking Contest (2009)
- Adventure Race at Lake Wauberg (2008)
- "Let's Talk Sahara"
- Gator Scuba Club
UWC alumni organization.
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading, running, scuba diving, cycling, and climbing.
The New Challenge of the Muslim Brotherhood - Presenting a Democratic Agenda in Post-Mubarak Egypt.
Erik Torstensson is a United World Scholar from Sweden who is investigating the political agenda of the world’s oldest and most influential Islamist group – the Muslim Brotherhood. Having lived and studied at the American University in Cairo, Erik draws upon academic sources as well as interviews and media accounts in an attempt to understand the impact of the recent Egyptian riots in shaping the rhetoric and ideological outlook of the Brotherhood’s leadership. Preliminary research suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood only emerged as a de facto player in the revolutionary movement once a political upheaval of the old regime appeared unavoidable. This exemplifies the general cautiousness and preference for incremental, rather than revolutionary, change that has guided the Brotherhood’s political behavior over the last couple of centuries. It appears that, instead of being a stagnant force with a rigid political outlook, the Brotherhood’s response to the Arab spring best resembles that of a careful chess player who knows the world is following his opening move. Lacking any real experience in political decision-making, the Muslim Brotherhood is now being pushed out of its comfort zone as an opposition movement. Watching the Brotherhood’s behavior in how it confronts Egypt’s contemporary challenges will therefore provide many clues about the direction in which the Egyptian society is taking. This includes paying attention to how certain principles that traditionally have been promoted by the movement will be dealt with in the post-Mubarak era. How can the Brotherhood effectively promote a democratic agenda while at the same time support the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) in society? Knowing the answer to this question will increase our understanding of the future influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and ultimately provide a basis for our understanding of how democracy can be established in Islamic countries.