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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

Contact Graeme For Booking
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 extremism and radicalization 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.

“Fascinating, terrifying, occasionally blackly humorous.”

— Steven Pinker

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. “Unlike most journalists writing about Islam today,” writes the New Republic, “there is no partisan axe to grind here, no hidden agenda to subtly advance.” It also received the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction—one of Canada’s highest literary honors. “Meticulously researched and fluidly written,” writes the assessment committee, “this bracing book delves into a contentious facet of contemporary geopolitics.”

 

As a keynote speaker, Wood addresses the reasons why people—even privileged, comfortable people—are drawn to extremism, and what we can do to prevent and subver toxic ideologies. He also speaks on radicalism here at home, contracting the spaces between acts of terrorism abroad and those committed by U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. His recent Atlantic profile on Richard Spencer—ostensible mouthpiece of an emerging white supremacist movement—displays Wood’s ability to expose, examine, and contextualize how ordinary people can become the perpetrators (and victims) of hateful, violent rhetoric.

 

“This book is a triumph of journalism.”

— Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief, The Atlantic
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 YorkerThe American ScholarThe New RepublicBloomberg BusinessweekThe Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe WalrusThe Globe and Mail, and the International Herald Tribune. He was the 2015–16 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and today lives in Connecticut, USA. 

Speech Topics

Politics & Society
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.