Graeme Wood

What does ISIS want? What’s it going to do next? And how do we stop it?

National Correspondent for The Atlantic | Author of The Way of the Strangers

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Graeme Wood | National Correspondent for The Atlantic | Author of The Way of the Strangers
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

“What ISIS Really Wants.” That’s the title of Graeme Wood’s viral Atlantic cover story, which was the most-read piece on the Internet—the entire Internet—in 2015. Its influence on how we understand ISIS cannot be understated. In keynotes, and in his acclaimed book The Way of the Strangers, Wood gives a far-reaching account of the strategy, psychology, and theology driving the Islamic State.

“This book is a triumph of journalism.”

— Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief, The Atlantic

Graeme Wood is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and lecturer in political science at Yale University. His first book, The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State, has been called a “gripping, sobering and revelatory book” by New Statesman and “the best insight yet into what makes the Islamic State tick” by The Week.


Wood has been a Turkey and Kurdistan analyst for Jane’s, a contributing editor to The New Republic, and books editor of Pacific Standard. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The American Scholar, The New Republic, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He lives in Connecticut, USA. 

Speech Topics

What ISIS Really Wants Understanding the Islamic State

In this talk, Graeme Wood offers a broader and more astute understanding of the Islamic State by answering a number of pressing questions: What is it? Where did it come from and what are its intentions? How does it enlist ordinary western citizens? What does it mean to actually talk and listen to ISIS members? How worried should we be—and what can we do about it? 


As one of the world’s foremost experts in ISIS, Wood is the ideal guide to understand the true ideology behind the Islamic State and how we have misunderstood its nature. Drawing from first-hand interviews with extremists, ISIS statements, fatwas, tweets, road signs, and a variety of sources, Wood’s keynote gives us a human-eye-view of a complicated situation, the consequences to date, and our future with this formidable force.