A distinguished political leader and relentless champion of free speech and women’s rights, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of today’s most admired and controversial public figures.  She burst into international headlines following the murder of director Theo Van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened that she would be next.  She made headlines again when she was stripped of her citizenship and resigned from the Dutch Parliament.  Under constant threat, demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father and expelled from family and clan, she refuses to be silenced.

Hirsi Ali has been honored as one of TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People,” a Glamour Magazine Hero and as Reader's Digest's European of the Year.  Praised as “required reading for everyone everywhere,” her internationally-acclaimed memoir Infidel illustrates how a determined woman can impact much more history than just her own.  A luminous example of enlightenment and courage, passion and persistence, Hirsi Ali is an emblem of hope to men and women around the globe, proving that an undaunted spirit cannot be vanquished. 

SPEAKER TOPICS

A global symbol of freedom and human resistance in the face of the toughest of adversaries, Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s fight for democracy, freedom and peace has been a shining example of dignity and bravery for the entire world.  Her arguments for a democratic society are rooted in respect for human rights, equity and justice.  Her willingness to speak out and her abandonment of the Muslim faith have made her a target for violence by Islamic extremists.

Drawing from her extraordinary experiences, Hirsi Ali has transformed her personal journey into a riveting account that helps others live with courage. Through her political activism, published pieces and passionate perseverance, Hirsi Ali is reaching out to global citizens to challenge conformity, even at the price of backlash. Her inspiring message: Any of us can change the world by daring to ask questions -- out loud. Whether addressing corporations, congregations, or colleges, Hirsi Ali provides astute, practical guidance that individuals can take away and apply to their lives and does so with personality, energy and wit.  As Western societies struggle to balance democratic ideals with ingrained immigrant traditions and cultures, no one else’s message could be more timely or more significant.

Sample Topics Include:

  • Clash of Civilizations:  Islam and the West
  • Dealing with Diversity in the 21st Century
  • Humble Beginnings:  The Journey from Radical Islam to Modern Society
  • Inspirational Leadership
  • Discrimination or Diversity?
  • Feminism:  Refusing to be Silenced
  • The Emancipation of Muslim Women: Fact or Fiction?
  • Islam in Europe: The Challenges and Opportunities of an Increasing Immigrant Population
  • Somalia Refugees and Assimilation in the US 
ABOUT Ayaan Hirsi Ali   (+/-)

Pioneering Freedom Fighter

Raised in a strict Muslim family, Ayaan Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female genital mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries ruled largely by despots.  She escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she quickly learned the Dutch language, earned a college degree in political science, and fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament.  In her three years in the Dutch government, Hirsi Ali found her voice as an advocate for an “enlightened Islam.”

Bridging Cultural Divides Through Education and Communication

A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, Hirsi Ali is currently researching the relationship between the West and Islam.   In response to ongoing abuses of women's rights in the name of fundamentalist Islam, she established the AHA Foundation in 2007 to help protect and defend the rights of women in the West against militant Islam.  Hirsi Ali has published a collection of essays, The Caged Virgin, and recently completed Nomad, a companion to 2007’s autobiography Infidel.  She is now working on Short-cut to Enlightenment, a fascinating dialogue between Mohammed, the founder of Islam, and three of her favorite twentieth century Western thinkers: John Stewart Mill; Karl Popper and Friedrich von Hayek.

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