TED Global Fellow & Comic Book Creator
Suleiman Bakhit is a CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) and Heroism narratives expert. His work focuses on countering narratives of violent extremism and mythology in the Middle East through art and storytelling. By developing relatable stories and heroes—inspiring characters who promote messages of hope, tolerance, gender equality, and service to others—he’s providing a potent antidote to competing extremist narratives that directly target youth.
Bakhit is also an entrepreneur and bestselling comic book creator. In 2010, he led the largest CVE narrative initiative in the Middle East by publishing more than 1.2 million comics in Jordan, reaching more than 3 million young people with his message of hope.
As a humanitarian activist, Bakhit led a mission that provided thousands of injured Libyan civilians access to urgent medical care in Jordan during the Libyan revolution in 2011. Now Bakhit is an international speaker and TED Global Fellow on CVE & Heroism, delivering keynotes at the White House CVE summit, World Economic Forum, United Nations CVE Summit, “THE” Conference, and the Oslo Freedom Forum.
Inspiring Heroism: Countering Terrorism with Art and Comics
After hearing young children in Jordan name militants as their only heroes, Suleiman Bakhit realized that terrorists were winning the war of narratives. To counteract these toxic models of masculinity and belonging in the Middle East, Bakhit began producing comic books (and games, movies, and apps) that offered positive, homegrown heroes for kids to emulate. His impact was astounding—his Aranim Media Factory sold 1.2 million comics in a country of 6 million—highlighting the enormous hunger for heroic role models among young Muslims.
In this stirring talk, Bakhit traces the psychological and mythic origins of harmful ideologies, and how once properly understood, they might be overcome by more compelling, enriching alternatives. He discusses the development of Aranim and his new project, Hero Factor, which has an even more ambitious mission: to foster tolerance, empower young girls, instill a sense of heroic imagination, and defeat the myth of the terrorist-as-hero. He affirms the power of storytelling as a foundational element to any healthy child, family, organization, and society. And in the struggle between narratives—and in the fight for Arab youth—Bakhit confirms that art is a more effective weapon than any gun, bomb, or drone.
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