Episode for March 30, 2021
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Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. He is now a contributor to The Daily Beast. As Creative Director of Affinis Labs, he works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalized communities, and to empower social entrepreneurs, young leaders, creatives, and communities to come up with innovative solutions to tackle world problems. Beginning in early 2017, Affinis Labs will launch a global startup incubator network, aimed at identifying and fostering “emerging entrepreneurial talent from around the world that understands what makes the global Islamic economy special.”
Previously, Ali helped launch the Al Jazeera America network as co-host of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream, a daily news show that extended the conversation to social media and beyond. He was also a National Correspondent, Political Reporter, and Social Media Expert for Al Jazeera America. He focused on stories of communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media. Ali is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim Americans, post-9/11—which was published by McSweeney’s and performed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. Currently, with Dave Eggers, Ali is writing a television show about a Muslim American cop in the Bay Area. Additionally, he is a Peabody-nominated Producer of the series The Secret Life of Muslims. He was also the lead author and researcher of “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” the seminal report from the Center for American Progress.
In 2012, Ali worked with the U.S. Department of State to design and implement the “Generation Change” leadership program to empower young social entrepreneurs. He initiated chapters in eight countries, including Pakistan and Singapore. He was honored as a “Generation Change Leader” by Sec. of State Clinton as an “Emerging Muslim American Artist” by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Ali has given many presentations, from Google to the United Nations to Princeton to The Abu Dhabi Book Festival. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and Salon. He regularly appears on CNN to discuss politics and current affairs.
Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on U.S. foreign policy. He has written five books, including his most recent, The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President (Palgrave, 2014) and The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Bantam, 2008). He received his PhD in Middle East and U.S. diplomatic history from the University of Michigan in 1977.
Between 1978 and 2003, Miller served at the State Department as an historian, analyst, negotiator, and advisor to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process, most recently as the senior advisor for Arab-Israeli negotiations. He also served as the deputy special Middle East coordinator for Arab-Israeli negotiations, senior member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and in the office of the historian. He has received the department’s Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards.
Miller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly served as resident scholar at the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has been a featured presenter at the World Economic Forum and leading U.S. universities. Between 2003 and 2006 he served as president of Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence. From 2006 to 2019, Miller was a public policy scholar; vice president for new initiatives, and director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Miller is a global affairs analyst for CNN. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, Foreign Policy, USAToday, and CNN.com. He is a frequent commentator on NPR, BBC, and Sirius XM radio
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