Creative Director of Affinis Labs; Author of The Domestic Crusaders
"This play is brilliant."—Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize-winning author
"The Domestic Crusaders is exactly the sort of theater we need today."—Emma Thompson, Academy Award-winning actress and screenwriter
Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. As Creative Director of Affinis Labs, he works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalized communities, and to empower social entrepreneurs, young leaders, creatives, and communities to come up with innovative solutions to tackle world problems.
Previously, Ali helped launch the Al Jazeera America network as co-host of Al Jazeera America's The Stream, a daily news show that extended the conversation to social media and beyond. He was also a National Correspondent, Political Reporter, and Social Media Expert for Al Jazeera America. He focused on stories of communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media. Ali is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim Americans, post-9/11—which was published by McSweeney's and performed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. Currently, with Dave Eggers, Ali is writing a television show about a Muslim American cop in the Bay Area. He was also the lead author and researcher of “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” the seminal report from the Center for American Progress.
Millennial Swagger: Promoting Social Entrepreneurship Through Storytelling and Social Media
Wajahat Ali’s global leadership program—“Generation Change”—taught storytelling and social media skills to young change agents and social entrepreneurs in eight countries. Now, Ali shares those lessons in a keynote that is tailor-made for college and business audiences. How can entrepreneurs and change agents use storytelling to find their mission, purpose, and passion? How can they communicate their vision to a global audience? And how can social media help them bypass traditional gatekeepers and grow their brand and their mission?
From Accidental Activist to Playwright to Talk Show Host: The Unexpected Rise of a Pakistani American Writer
Wajahat Ali was a shy, overweight, perpetually sick, left-handed only-child of Pakistani immigrants. He was born in America, but only learned to speak English at the age of five. How did this dorky kid end up becoming an attorney, an award-winning playwright, and the co-host of a popular daily talk show? In this talk, Ali charts his strange growth from the awkward fifth-grader who almost got kicked out of school to the leader of the Muslim Student Association of UC Berkeley who became an “accidental activist” after 9/11. This eventful journey—which eventually took him to Al Jazeera America—is a funny, heartfelt, and, believe it or not, relatable story of courage, success, and unstoppable ambition.
Understanding Muslims: Islamophobia and Turning Villains into Heroes
How can Muslim Americans—a highly educated, diverse group numbering four million people—become the heroes of their own narratives? Islamophobia exploits the gap between the perception and reality of Muslims and Islam, and has cast Muslim Americans as villains in the post-9/11 global soap opera. This important problem has profound implications on culture, politics, society, and even national security. In this talk, Wajahat Ali reveals the true nature of this complex issue and how it can be overcome. Americans—of all ethnicities and religious persuasions—can and must unite to ensure that this scapegoating never happens to anyone else, regardless of race, orientation, religion, or creed. We must look to our past to pave the way for a dynamic, bold future for Muslim Americans.
The Domestic Crusaders
The Domestic Crusaders focuses on a day in the life of a modern Muslim Pakistani-American family of six eclectic, unique members, who convene at the family house to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of the youngest child.
With a background of 9/11 and the scapegoating of Muslim Americans, the tensions and sparks fly among the three generations, culminating in an intense family battle as each "crusader" struggles to assert and impose their respective voices and opinions, while still attempting to maintain and understand that unifying thread that makes them part of the same family.
All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim
In this book, co-edited by Wajahat Ali, American Muslim men speak out on their lives and how their Muslim beliefs play out in private and on the public stage. Contributors include high profile figures in the American Muslim community, representing a new generation that is making a profound impact inside and outside the Muslim world.
Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America
A groundbreaking report on Islamophobia published by the Center for American Progress and co-edited by Wajahat Ali. It is available as a PDF.
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