Award-winning playwright and journalist Wajahat Ali will deliver Ohio University’s International Education Week keynote address at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Award-winning playwright and journalist Wajahat Ali will deliver Ohio University’s International Education Week keynote address at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

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Islamophobia in America to be focus of Nov. 17 International Education Week keynote


Award-winning playwright and journalist Wajahat Ali will visit Ohio University in November to give a speech on Islamophobia in America and to meet with students.

As the keynote speaker for this year’s International Education Week, Ali will give his presentation on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, award-winning playwright, former TV host on the Al Jazeera America Network and consultant for the U.S. State Department. In his remarks at OHIO, Ali will focus on the topic of “Understanding Muslims: Islamophobia and Turning Villains into Heroes.”

“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,” a description on Ali’s website states.

“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 remarks are especially timely in today’s political climate. All students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to attend. 

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments. The speech will begin at 7 p.m.

Ali will also be speaking to OHIO students on Friday, Nov. 18, from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Multicultural Center Multipurpose Room in Baker University Center. All students are invited to this session to talk with Ali and ask questions.

A child of Pakistani immigrants, Ali became an “accidental activist” after 9/11 and his work has pushed him into the national spotlight. He speaks regularly around the country, is a New York Times contributor, helped launch the Al Jazeera America Network, is an acclaimed writer and is regarded as an expert speaker on the Muslim-American experience. In addition, as creative director of Affinis Labs, Ali works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalized communities. Also in his work, he helps to empower young leaders to come up with innovative solutions to tackle world problems.

Ali’s visit to OHIO is being sponsored by the International Education Week Committee and the Office of Global Affairs. For more information on International Education Week at OHIO, please visit www.ohio.edu/iew.

This article was provided by the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.

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The Office of Global Affairs is committed to helping to make OHIO the nation’s best transformative learning community, creating and supporting global leaders. For more information, please visit www.ohio.edu/global or call 740-593-1840.