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2016 ISLC Theme & Speakers 


"Accidental Leadership: A New World Begins Within You!"

Why are you a leader? What has inspired you to be a leader? Understanding your reason for being a leader along with knowing your story will fuel your motivation to implement your vision for a new world.

While some will argue that leaders are born, this year’s keynote speaker, Wajahat Ali, is more likely to argue that leaders arise out of special events, tragedies and disasters. As a matter fact, he considers himself an “accidental activist.”

This year’s conference will give participants a chance to explore the experiences that lead them to become leaders. Furthermore, just as Wajahat has learned of the importance of social media as a means for entrepreneurs/leaders/activists to promote their cause/passion, participants will be in a position to apply this same concept for their story and values. 


Keynote Speaker

Award-winning playwright, lawyer, and TV host Wajahat Ali is a new kind of public intellectual: young, exuberant, and optimistic. Witty and emphatic, he speaks on the multifaceted Muslim American experience, and an emergent generation of millennials poised for social change.

Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. 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.

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. 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 and 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 AtlanticWashington Post, the Guardian, and Salon.

[Information used with permission from the Lavin Agency]



Salorne McDonald has agreed to serve as advisor to the ISLC Committee, and as the moderator of the Conference. Many of you remember Salorne as the 2006 keynote speaker from Trinidad and Tobago who was kind enough to return in 2007 to lead Friday night activities and a workshop. With Salorne acting as advisor and moderator, we anticipate increased conference cohesion and energy.

Salorne was born in the rural eastern part of the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. During his formative years Salorne was involved in youth clubs, debating competitions, and school student councils, which provided rich training for his current work, and helped to develop his gift of gab. Ardent work with the youth of his own nation and others around the world has given him an uncommon understanding of the life and development issues that young people face globally. Becoming involved in HIV and AIDS peer education sparked a special passion with Salorne, whose current position is the Regional Behavior Change Communication Manager with PSI/SFH in Trinidad. Salorne also works with the local YMCA and Trinidad Youth Council, providing education and leadership training to youth in his nation and abroad. A specialist in working with particularly vulnerable populations, he continues to aid in policy development as well as project planning and execution.