Very Fine Writer.
Well Spoken Speaker. Brownish Dad.
Who Is Wajahat Ali?
Wajahat Ali in conversation with James Fallows at the Chautauqua Institution
Wajahat Ali is a Daily Beast columnist, public speaker, recovering attorney, and tired dad of three cute kids. He is currently working on his first book Go Back To Where You Came From: And, Other Helpful Recommendations on Becoming American which will be published in Spring 2022 by Norton. He believes in sharing stories that are by us, for everyone: universal narratives told through a culturally specific lens to entertain, educate and bridge the global divides.
He also enjoys writing about himself in the third person. He frequently appears on television and podcasts for his brilliant, incisive, and witty political commentary. (That’s what his mom says anyway). Born in the Bay Area, California to Pakistani immigrant parents, Ali went to school wearing Husky pants and knowing only three words of English. He graduated from UC Berkeley with an English major and became a licensed attorney. He knows what it feels like to be the token minority in the classroom and the darkest person in a boardroom. Like Spiderman, he’s often had the power and responsibility of being the cultural ambassador of an entire group of people, those who are often marginalized, silenced, or reduced to stereotypes. His essays, interviews, and reporting have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and New York Review of Books. Ali has spoken at many organizations, from Google to Walmart-Jet to Princeton University to the United Nations to the Chandni Indian-Pakistani Restaurant in Newark, California, and his living room in front of his two kids.
Public Speaking Engagements
Wajahat Ali giving the keynote at TED 2019
You've heard the story on the news: We live in a time marked by deep division, deafening hate, political polarization and growing mistrust. But underneath these headlines, there exists a genuine desire to connect and empathize with others. How do we arrive at this bolder future, which, despite the general sentiment, is still within reach? Wajahat Ali shows us how we can band together as multicultural Avengers—a multicultural coalition of the willing—to overcome bigotry, fear and harmful stereotypes. Bold, realistic, honest and emphatically optimistic, Ali asks: How can young people, communities of color, and those left on the sidelines emerge as the co-protagonists of the American narrative using their authentic stories? And what does it mean to be an ally to these groups? In powerful talks and workshops, keyed to this crucial time, Ali guides universities, companies and organizations on how we can embrace a multifaceted American experience. He shows an emergent generation how to use their personal stories for social change, and why it matters now more than ever. Watch a selection of his past speeches and appearances below:
The Washington Post
Words. The Very Best Words.
Wajahat Ali in conversation with Katie Couric at SXSW 2018 Main Panel on "The Muslim Next Door."
Wajahat Ali wields his pen and worn-out Apple Macbook as a spiritual lightsaber to provide a unique perspective to the pressing political and cultural issues of today with humor, honesty, original reporting, personal stories, and exquisite pop cultural references. His writing and reporting from specific religious and ethnic communities resonate universal truths with global audiences grappling with rapidly shifting identities and boundaries.