Brian Whitaker has done a variety of jobs at the Guardian including most recently 7 years as Middle East Editor. He is currently Editor of “Comment is Free” and is the author of the author of “Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East” (Saqi, 2006). Brian will focus on some of the less-discussed social and cultural aspects of the kingdom’s relationship with the the West and discuss the problems the Saudis have in trying to maintain their own very distinctive kind of “closed system” within the kingdom. The talk would also draw together and develop some of the themes from Brian’s latest book, “What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East”. (Saqi, 2009), including the influence of religion on international business and progressive international treaties.