It’s easy to give up on the fight for true diversity, but TED speaker WAJAHAT ALI says we can’t give in to cynicism — if we remain resilient and invest in hope, we can still create the future we want. His memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, a funny and deeply personal look into his experiences as a Pakistani-American Muslim, is out in paperback on January 24. In his talks, Waj merges inclusion with storytelling and laughter — “because boring an audience is a sin, I think, in all world religions!”
Wajahat Ali, a contributor to The New York Times, recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion can be hard to talk about, no matter how important it is. “People have seen the data and stats,” Waj says, “but storytelling, and specifically using an effective story, makes it real. It personalizes it. It connects with the audience.” Through his charismatic and thought-provoking talks, Waj offers practical advice on how leaders, organizations, and communities can create a diverse and inclusive culture that isn’t just mandatory diversity day initiatives. It’s advice that engages and demands for real, genuine connections and change. With time, he says, we can create not just a community, but a country where we can all be the superheroes of our own stories.
In this Lavin-exclusive interview, Wajahat shows why diverse stories are more important than ever in 2023.